LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After delaying the Kentucky Derby to September in 2020 and running it last May in front of a limited crowd, Saturday will be the first back-to-normal Run for the Roses in three years. 

A huge crowd of 150,000-plus is expected to watch the 148th edition of the race, though it won’t be completely like it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That’s because Bob Baffert, the six-time Derby winner, had his seventh victory last year stripped when Medina Spirit was disqualified after a positive test for betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory that is banned on race day.

As a result of that transgression, which Baffert has denied and fought vigorously but unsuccessfully through various legal remedies, he’s been banned from running horses at Churchill Downs for two years. Two horses that started in his barn are here, though, in Taiba and Messier. They are currently in the care of Tim Yakteen — a former Baffert assistant who is a rookie when it comes to training for the Derby.

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