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  • David Goldman / AP

    Spectators watch as Believe You Can ridden by Rosie Napravnik makes its way out to the track for the sixth race before the running of the 139th Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs Friday, May 3, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/ David Goldman)

  • Garry Jones / AP

    FILE - In this April 6, 2013 file photo.jockey Rosie Napravnik waits for her mount in the paddock before a horse race at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. Napravnik tries to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, a year after her ninth-place run here made her the highest female finisher. (AP Photo/ Garry Jones, File)

  • Reed Palmer / AP

    In this April 27, 2013 image provided by Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby hopeful Mylute, under Rosie Napravnik, works out at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Napravnik tries to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, a year after her ninth-place run here made her the highest female finisher. (AP Photo/ Churchill Downs, Reed Palmer)

  • Charlie Riedel / AP

    Exercise rider Rosie Napravnik rides Kentucky Derby hopeful Mylute for a workout at Churchill Downs Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/ Charlie Riedel)

  • Mark Cornelison / MCT

    Jockey Kevin Krigger, who will be riding Goldenscents in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, smiles as he hangs out on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. (Mark Cornelison/ Lexington Herald-Leader/ MCT)

  • David Goldman / AP

    Kentucky Derby entrant Goldencents jockey Kevin Krigger takes pictures outside his stable at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 2, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. Saturday will be the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby. (AP Photo/ David Goldman)

  • Garry Jones / AP

    Jockey Kevin Krigger, right, talks with trainer Doug O'Neill, left, as they watch horses work out at Churchill Downs, Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. Krigger is to ride Kentucky Derby hopeful Goldencents for O'Neill in the race. (AP Photo/ Garry Jones)

  • Uncredited / AP

    FILE - In this April 6, 2013 image provided by Benoit Photo, Goldencents, Kevin Krigger up, race to win the Grade I $750,000 Santa Anita Derby horse race at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Doug Krigger will be aboard Goldencents in the Kentucky Derby and could become the first black jockey since 1902 to win America's premier horse race. (AP Photo/ Benoit Photo, File)

  • Garry Jones / AP

    Part-owner of Kentucky Derby hopeful Goldencents Rick Pitino, left, talks to jockey Kevin Krigger at Churchill Downs Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/ Garry Jones)

  • Garry Jones / AP

    FILE - In this photo taken, April 28, 2013, jockey Kevin Krigger talks about his Kentucky Derby mount, Goldencents, outside Barn 45 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Krigger keeps a photo of Jimmy Winkfield, the last black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, inside his locker at Churchill Downs. (AP Photo/ Garry Jones, File)

More Information

History likely will be made in Kentucky Derby

Published: Saturday, May. 4, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Saturday, May. 4, 2013 - 10:43 pm

Someone likely will make history in Saturday's 139th Kentucky Derby.

Will it be Kevin Krigger, attempting to be the first black jockey to win the Derby since 1902?

Or Rosie Napravnik, who could become the first woman to ride a Derby winner?

Or Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, a three-time Derby winner making a comeback at 50?

Or trainer D. Wayne Lukas, trying to win his fifth Derby at age 77?

Those are just a few of the story lines in this year's Run for the Roses.

Today's race is wide open, with Orb and Verrazano the early favorites. And thunderstorms are forecast today for Louisville, Ky., complicating prospects for handicappers.

The field was reduced to 19 starters on Friday when Black Onyx was withdrawn after X-rays revealed a non-displaced chip in his left front ankle, but the scratch came too late to add also-eligible Fear the Kitten.

Instead of moving each horse one gate, the stewards decided Black Onyx's No. 1 stall will remain empty.

Krigger will ride Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents, the only California-based entrant.

Goldencents could give trainer Doug O'Neill back-to-back Derby victories; he won last year with I'll Have Another.

"The biggest similarity, they're both very mentally tough," O'Neill said.

So is Krigger. A native of the Virgin Islands, he was based at Golden Gate Fields before moving to Santa Anita last year.

Black jockeys dominated the Derby during its early years, before Jim Crow laws forced them out. The last black jockey to win was Jimmy Winkfield in 1901 and 1902.

"The irony is that the trainer was an Irish guy named Thomas McDowell (in 1902)," O'Neill said. "So, Kevin's going to be playing Winkfield, and I'm going to be playing McDowell (today)."

Krigger, 29, will make his Derby debut, but O'Neill said that wouldn't be a problem.

"He's just got ice running through his veins," O'Neill said of Krigger's confidence. "He's not in awe of the whole thing."

Napravnik, 25, will ride long shot My Lute in her second Derby appearance; she finished ninth in 2011 on Pants on Fire. She won the 2012 Kentucky Oaks aboard Believe You Can.

Meanwhile, Stevens will try to add to his résumé. He will ride long shot Oxbow for Lukas, who also will saddle Will Take Charge.

"I can just remember back in 1995, my horse Thunder Gulch ... came in here under the radar a little bit and wound up in the winner's circle," Stevens said. "So, I am open for a little bit of déjà vu."

Thunder Gulch was one of two Derby winners for the Stevens-Lukas duo; the other was filly Winning Colors in 1988.

Stevens is confident Oxbow will be in the running today, too.

"I'm sending this horse away from the gate," Stevens said, "and if anybody wants any part of me early on, then they're probably going to pay the price for it."

Stevens said he has no choice; Oxbow will start closest to the rail in the 19-horse field and must come charging out of the gate to have any chance.

Lukas, attempting to become the oldest trainer to win a Derby, will have his 46th and 47th Derby starters - both records. It will be Lukas' 27th Derby; he's 4 for 45 overall.

"I don't get uptight," Lukas told reporters Friday. "I don't even get excited when they go in the gate."

Trainer Todd Pletcher, Lukas' former assistant, has a record-tying five starters: Verrazano, Revolutionary, Overanalyze, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten. He has done this before, too.

"I was able to saddle all five in 2007," said Pletcher, who won his third Kentucky Oaks on Friday with long shot Princess of Sylmar, who rallied down the stretch to upstage 3-2 favorite Dreaming of Julia. "One of the things about the Derby is you're in the paddock a long, long time, so it gives everyone plenty of time."

It's that two minutes during the race that can feel like an eternity, especially with history on the line.

Call The Bee's Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington./I>

PHOTO GALLERY: Kentucky Derby 2013

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