About two weeks before the Kentucky Derby is when people start talking about the weather and anticipating what type of weather conditions we’ll have that first Saturday in May. So far (about a week out from the Kentucky Derby), the forecasted weather for this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby is sunny and 85 degrees. The weather hasn’t always been so nice.
The coldest Kentucky Derby Days both occurred on May 4. On May 4, 1935 when Omaha won the Kentucky Derby, the high temperature was a frigid 47 degrees. On May 4, 1957 when Iron Liege took home the trophy, the high temperature of 47 degrees was accompanied by north winds between 20 – 25 miles per hour.
The warmest Kentucky Derby occurred on May 2, 1959 when Tomy Lee crossed the wire in 94 degree heat.
Some sort of precipitation has been recorded during the day in 63 of the 137 runnings of the Kentucky Derby.
For a brief four minutes in the early afternoon hours of May 6, 1989, the day Sunday Silence won the Kentucky Derby, sleet was reported and snow fell the next day.
The wettest Kentucky Derby came on May 18, 1911, the day Exterminator won the race. A recorded 2.31 inches of rain fell that Saturday. Although most won’t remember that day, many will remember the 1.32 inches of seemingly constant rain that fell on Kentucky Derby day in 2010. However, just as the horses were at the post, the skies opened up and the sun shined brightly as Calvin Borel and Super Saver emerged victorious.
Photo: Kentucky Derby/Dan Dry