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Kentucky Derby 2022: Live Race Updates as Post Time Approaches

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When word circulated online two weeks ago that former President Donald J. Trump could be attending a $75,000-per-person fund-raiser hosted by his super PAC on the Kentucky Derby — in Senator Mitch McConnell’s home state — it was news to executives at Churchill Downs.

Even so, for a sporting event that frequently hosts greater than 150,000 people, including many notable politicians and celebrities, a last-minute entry was nothing to panic about.

“It’s common for a high-profile guest to have an event on our property during Derby Day,” said Tonya Abeln, a spokeswoman for Churchill Downs. “But Churchill Downs will not be an organizer of that event. We coordinate as is operationally mandatory to make sure secure, smooth operations and that it doesn’t interfere with other guests’ activity.”

The looks on Saturday comes at a very testy moment in the connection between Trump and McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, a four-year marriage of political convenience that imploded when McConnell opposed Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump, whose power is derived from his ability to project the image of party kingmaker, appeared to relish the prospect to upstage McConnell on his own turf. On Friday night, at a rally in Ohio, Trump heaped his go-to barnyard insult on McConnell, calling him “the old broken-down crow.

The 2 men won’t cross paths, even by accident, this weekend. McConnell, who often attends the race, shall be in Utah attending a memorial for Senator Orrin Hatch, a longtime friend, his aides said.

McConnell seldom engages with critics, and sometimes deflects attacks by slyly embracing the slight. Earlier within the week, he hosted his annual Derby-themed luncheon for Republican senators in Washington, and he gave away bottles of Old Crow bourbon, a nod to the Trump-given nickname.

Trump’s Derby guest list will not be public, however the hosts are said to incorporate Pam Bondi, the previous Florida attorney general; Richard Grenell, the previous acting director of national intelligence; Matthew G. Whitaker, the previous acting attorney general; and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a television personality who’s engaged to Donald Trump Jr.

This being an election 12 months, several politicians are expected to be stumping on the high-profile horse race. Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky, a Democrat, held a news conference within the media center Saturday afternoon. Asked in regards to the fund-raiser, he said the Derby was “open to everyone.”

The fund-raiser shall be held in what was described by Abeln as a semiprivate space, almost definitely within the Derby’s playground for the wealthy called Millionaire’s Row that sits high above the track and features a maze of exclusive spaces, none more so than the 8,000-square-foot area simply called the Mansion.

The Secret Service has been coordinating with the track’s security team. No outside food shall be allowed on the event, Abeln said, adding that “anyone who’s attending this event could be getting the identical experience as everyone else on the racetrack.”

Trump has attended the Kentucky Derby previously, and last 12 months, when Medina Spirit tested positive for a banned substance, he inserted himself into the national conversation, calling the horse a “junkie” in a press release.

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