04/29/2010 12:00AM

Noseda would welcome sloppy track


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Jeremy Noseda, the trainer of Gotham Stakes winner Awesome Act, said he believes a wet track would benefit his horse in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

"I hope the heaven's open," Noseda said. "I'd love to see the race be run on a sloppy track. I have a hunch he'd love a sloppy track. I might be sitting here Saturday afternoon 'Why did I think that?' but I think it might suit my horse and compromise others."

Part of Noseda's hunch was confirmed Tuesday when Awesome Act worked a solid half-mile in 48.44 seconds and galloped strongly over a wet track.

Noseda said his biggest concern is whether his horse can get the 1 1/4-mile distance.

"If the race was a mile and a sixteenth, even a mile and an eighth, I would be standing here pretty confident he could take a big piece of it," Noseda said. "I can look through this field and see a lot of horses that have the same question to answer. A lot more horses are a lot less likely to stay than mine. Pedigree suggests he should get the trip."

Awesome Act is by Awesome Again, who won the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic at 1 1/4 miles over this track, out of the Mr. Prospector mare Houdini's Honey.

NBC crew preparing for storm

The crew producing the Kentucky Derby broadcast on NBC spent part of Thursday preparing for the possibility of severe weather on Saturday at Churchill Downs, officials for NBC said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the National Weather Service was forecasting a chance of severe thunderstorms on Saturday. First post on Saturday is 10:30 a.m. Eastern, and the Derby is scheduled to go off at 6:24 p.m.

David Michaels, the director of NBC's three-hour broadcast, which begins at 4 p.m. Eastern, said that the production crew has to prepare its equipment to handle massive amounts of rain and the possibility of lightning. Severe weather also limits the mobility of the crew as it tries to capture shots from a variety of vantage points during the run-up to the Derby.

"The potential for chaos is there," Michaels said.

Already, NBC has placed a small plane on standby if a blimp that is used for overhead shots is grounded because of the weather, NBC officials said.

While racing is very rarely canceled because of rain, racetracks typically delay races if lightning is in the area. Michaels said that Churchill has assured NBC that the Derby will be run on Saturday, even if the race or other races need to be delayed. Earlier this year, Churchill finished a project to install permanent lighting at the track.

"If there is a flood, now that they have the lights there at Churchill Downs, they can run it at anytime," Michaels said.

- additional reporting by Matt Hegarty