Kentucky Derby weather, and Paul Gross' pick horse

Paul Gross make his pick for Kentucky Derby


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Saturday is the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, also known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports."

As you can imagine, given the time of year, this race has been run in almost every type of weather imaginable. The hottest derby was in 1959, when the high temperature hit 94 degrees. The coldest derby occurred only two years earlier, when the high reached 47 degrees. The wettest derby was in 1918, when 2.31" of rain fell on derby day. Has frozen precipitation ever fallen on the Run for the Roses? Yes, in 1989, when sleet fell!

So, what about this year? The weather is not favorable, as numerous showers are expected in the morning, perhaps tapering to scattered showers in the afternoon. Even if it's not raining at the 6:34 p.m. post time, the track should be muddy, and this will continue a recent stretch of wet Kentucky Derbies, as a record seven consecutive wet race days occurred from 2007 to 2013.

Temperatures will rise into the mid-50s. I wonder if the women will be Scotchgarding their fancy hats.

Paul’s Pick Horse

Don’t confuse my prowess as a weather forecaster with the prognostic abilities of a horse handicapper. Every year, my Kentucky Derby pick horse is the one with the best (or closest to) weather name and, in some years, that’s a quite a stretch.

This year isn't as much of a stretch, however, and you wouldn’t necessarily be crazy to bet on this horse!

My 2017 pick to win the Kentucky Derby is: Thunder Snow!

This horse has already won a similar distance, prestigious race on a muddy track, and this year’s race will be on a muddy track. Yes, his post position near the rail (#2) isn’t favorable, but don’t write him off, especially with one more extra bit of karma: it was my enthusiastically talking about thundersnow in a forecast one weekend here on Local 4 that caught the attention of the old Colbert Report producers, who used it as part of a montage on that show.

I’ll be cheering for Thunder Snow!

Don’t forget that you can catch all of the action right here on Local 4. NBC’s exclusive live coverage is always top-shelf, so don’t miss it!

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