The Kentucky Derby is the main event, but it's possible the week's dominant star turn could come in Friday's Kentucky Oaks.
Untapable is an overwhelming 4-5 favorite in the $600,000 stakes for fillies, and the question around Churchill Downs hasn't been if she'll win but by how much.
Her trainer, Steve Asmussen, has been here before. In 2009, he watched his filly, Rachel Alexandra, burst onto the national scene with a 20-length victory in the Oaks. Two weeks later, she beat the boys in the Preakness on her way to Horse of the Year honors.
Asmussen laughed Thursday when asked if Untapable could win by 20.
“I don't know, 20 what?” he said. “Maybe 20 feet.”
He understands the comparisons, however, given Untapable's easy wins in prep races and the short odds on her in the Oaks.
“This is her stage,” he said. “It has been mentioned throughout the week about how she compares to Rachel. … She has the opportunity. She just has to take advantage of it.”
Doubling down on the girl power storyline, Rosie Napravnik, the nation's leading female jockey, will ride Untapable in the Oaks.
Asmussen, meanwhile, said he's also pleased with the progress of his Derby horse, Tapiture. The colt's stock dropped after a fourth-place finish at the Arkansas Derby. But Tapiture was down to a 12-1 fifth choice after Hoppertunity scratched Thursday.
This year's Derby is fascinating, Asmussen said, with plausible paths to victory for the majority of horses in the field.
“The winner of the Derby is going to have to overcome this year,” he said. “It doesn't appear that it's going to be handed to anybody.”