The crowd of 155,804 sought shelter early on from the rain, which had stopped by post time, with sun breaking through the clouds.
The starting gate sprung open in the Kentucky Derby, with 19 horses scrambling for position. One jockey knew exactly where he was headed.
Calvin Borel deftly tucked Super Saver along the rail Saturday on a track turned into creamy peanut butter by heavy rain. Once again, he was in his favorite spot, getting a clear path all the way through.
That's why they call him "Bo-rail" and, for the third time in four years, he took the shortest path to the winner's circle.
Borel found only one horse in his way, and once he steered Super Saver around front-running Conveyance, another Run for the Roses was his.
The most wide-open Derby in years ended with a sure thing -- Borel crossing the finish line and punching the air with this right fist, this time raising it toward a leaden sky.
"I knew nothing was going to run him down," he said, referring to his bay colt.
The jockey's magic touch on his home track gave trainer Todd Pletcher his first Derby victory after 24 failures with a 2½-length victory over Ice Box.
"Calvin Borel is a great rider anywhere he goes, but at Churchill Downs he's even five lengths better," Pletcher said. "He knows how to ride this track and gets along with his colt beautifully."
Borel's ride at his home track nearly duplicated the one he turned in last year aboard 50-1 shot Mine That Bird, except he and Super Saver went off at lower odds and were never in last place.
Now the trio heads to Baltimore for the Preakness on May 15.
"Calvin already said he's going to win the Triple Crown," Pletcher said, "so I guess we'd better go there."
The Triple Crown was last won 32 years ago by Affirmed. The last Derby winner to break from Super Saver's No. 4 post was 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.