EPSOM, England (AP) — The first English Derby to take place without spectators took a surreal turn as 25-1 shot Serpentine went out as the pacemaker and was never caught for an unlikely six-length victory at an empty Epsom Downs on Saturday.
The nature of Serpentine’s wire-to-wire victory added to the bizarre feel of the 241st running of the classic, with the course fenced off and only a few hundred people on site at a prestigious event that usually attracts as many as 100,000 race-goers.
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who had six runners, claimed a record eighth win in the race.
“It was unbelievable,” O’Brien said of Serpentine’s win. “He has great pedigree. We always felt that he was going to stay very well.”
Big outsiders also placed, with Khalifa Sat taking second at 50-1 and Amhran Na Bhfiann third at 66-1.
It marked another triumphant day for O’Brien, who saddled the winner of the Oaks hours earlier when 11-10 favorite Love won by nine lengths. That was his eighth winner of the classic for fillies.
The two classics were being staged on the same day as British racing played catch-up after a shutdown of more than three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.