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PHOTOS: Justify Wins Muddy Kentucky Derby Amid Record Rain

Saturday marked the wettest Kentucky Derby race on record.
Justify, ridden by Mike Smith, is the first Kentucky Derby champion horse since 1882 that didn’t make his debut racing
Justify, ridden by Mike Smith, is the first Kentucky Derby champion horse since 1882 that didn’t make his debut racing at 2 years old.

The Kentucky Derby is known as the race that always runs. Apparently, that’s true even during record rainfall.

Justify was crowned champion of the 144th Kentucky Derby, America’s most famous horse race, even after the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday evening, just 15 minutes before the start.

Justify, ridden by jockey Mike Smith, is the first Kentucky Derby champion horse since 1882 that didn’t make his debut racing at 2 years old. His win earned him $1,432,000.

Good Magic and Audible won second and third place respectively. 

The flash flood warning was lifted shortly before the race, but conditions on the Churchill Downs racetrack made two things clear: The track was very wet, and things got dirty. More than two inches of rain had fallen before the race.

Horses make their way around the first turn during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Horses make their way around the first turn during the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Mike Smith aboard Justify beats Javier Castellano aboard Audible to the finish line to win.
Mike Smith aboard Justify beats Javier Castellano aboard Audible to the finish line to win.

Derby fans at the race were forced to take cover from the constant rain. Some took refuge under plastic sheets, while others donned ponchos over their derby hats.

See below for more photos from the wettest Kentucky Derby on record.

Justify crosses the finish line to win.
Justify crosses the finish line to win.
Horse racing fans seek shelter from the rain at Saturday's race.
Horse racing fans seek shelter from the rain at Saturday's race.
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