Warm weather likely to cause early blooming of Churchill Downs tulips

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- It's called the Run for the Roses, but thousands of tulips are also part of the landscape at Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby. Not this year.

Track horticulture director Matt Bizzell says the unusually warm winter means the tulips will bloom about two weeks too early for the first Saturday in May.

The track usually has 6,000 to 12,000 tulips blooming during Derby week. Bizzell says they'll be replaced this year by some 25,000 annuals growing in the Churchill Downs greenhouse.

As for roses, Bizzell says they should look better than ever. They usually peak after the Derby, but Bizzell says he's hoping this year they'll be right on time. Some 2,100 roses will adorn the Winner's Circle with about 250 rose bushes scattered elsewhere.

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