A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Downs’ 2021 race meet to run Labor Day Sunday and Monday for first time

Kentucky Downs’ 2021 race meet will again feature six days while racing both the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend for the first time. Kentucky Downs’ all-grass meet was awarded dates of Sept. 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 12 for next year. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved 2021 dates for the state’s thoroughbred and harness tracks. The KHRC’s dates committee...

Kentucky Derby winner Authentic moves into No. 1 spot of NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll

At every point of call in the 146th edition of the Kentucky Derby, Authentic found himself in front of his sophomore rivals. When the votes were tallied in the latest National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top Three-Year-Old Poll, the son of Into Mischief was again the one who could not be caught as he takes over sole position of the No. 1 spot from longtime leader Tiz the Law. Authentic,...

Churchill Downs reverses earlier decision — will run the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby without fans in the stands

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) reversed its earlier decision and announced it will run the 146th Kentucky Derby on September 5 without fans. CDI issued the following statement:   The Kentucky Derby is a time-honored American tradition which has always been about bringing people together. However, the health and safety of our team, fans and participants is our highest concern. Churchill...

Billy Reed: We must hope Churchill Downs comes to its senses; big Derby crowd is too great a risk

In announcing Churchill Downs plan for what’s left of the Kentucky Derby, track president Kevin Flanery said in a news release, “We’re optimistic that this time-honored event, which belongs to our community and our country, will serve as a progressive and unifying force that can help bring us together.” Really? I would like to think Flanery is right. Instead, I’m wondering what they are...

Bill Carstanjen: Kentucky Derby tradition will move forward safely, responsibly with limited fans on site

On September 5th, in a little less than a month, we will hold the 146th consecutive running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack. While this will be the first time since the waning days of World War II in 1945 that we have not run the race on the first Saturday in May, it was not a hard decision to postpone the event. The global pandemic arrived with a fury and caused all of us to make...

Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector delivers masterclass in Ellis Park Derby and is headed for Churchill Downs

JR Communications On Saturday evening, following a devastating performance at one of racing’s most historic tracks, the consensus within the Thoroughbred racing community was that the question of which horse would bear the burden of favoritism in the pandemic-delayed Kentucky Derby had been answered.  Barely 24 hours after Tiz the Law threw down the gauntlet with his sublime victory in the Grade...

Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep celebrates 50th anniversary of Kentucky Derby’s first female jockey

It’s been 50 years since jockey Diane Crump became the first female to ride in the Kentucky Derby — and this year’s Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Cup program celebrates that milestone. Crump rode Fathom in the 1970 Derby and, although the thoroughbred finished 15th, the jockey rode into history. Crump lives in Virginia and remains involved in the horse industry. “The $1,000 Mint Julep...

Swiss Skydiver takes on the boys in field of 13 in Saturday’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver will try to put herself on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail Saturday when she takes on males in a field of 13 horses entered for the 96th running of the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G2) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland’s main track. A major steppingstone for the $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to be run Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs,...

Celebrating announcement that fans can attend the race, TwinSpires offers free Kentucky Derby bet

In celebration of the announcement that fans will be able to attend this year’s 146th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented By Woodford Reserve, TwinSpires is offering new players a free $10 Kentucky Derby bet. To qualify, new players can sign up via the TwinSpires app or website with the code GET25, and after playing $25 on the races between now and Sunday, the player will earn $25 worth of free...

Audubon Oaks becomes Kentucky Oaks points race, joins Ellis Park Derby on road to Churchill classics

Ellis Park not only has the $200,000 Ellis Park Derby as a qualifying race for the rescheduled Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby, but the track’s $100,000 Audubon Oaks is now a stop on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Both stakes races are Aug. 9. Ellis Park’s 98th annual meet will run from July 2 through Aug. 30. This year’s Ellis Park Derby winner will receive 50 points, virtually ensuring a spot in the...

Collmus joins Wrona as Kentucky Downs announcer; debut set for track’s Labor Day card on Sept. 7

Kentucky Downs’ six-date live race meet in September will feature two of the world’s most prominent announcers in Michael Wrona and new addition Larry Collmus, the voice of NBC’s Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup broadcasts. “I’m excited about calling the races at Kentucky Downs and looking forward to getting back in action,” said Collmus, who was the New York Racing Association announcer...

Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet opener draws 162 entries; includes champion Monomoy Girl

Horses are back at Churchill Downs and they are ready to run, with 162 entries for Saturday’s 11 scheduled races. Saturday’s Opening Day program of the 2020 Spring Meet has an average field size of 11.3 horses for the action-packed 11-race program, which includes the return of champion Monomoy Girl in the featured fourth race, a conditioned allowance event at one-mile on the main track with...

Brent Cooper: Newport gaming facility is good first bet, but state should double down on other gambling

The recent announcement by Churchill Downs to construct a $38.4 million gaming facility in Newport’s Plaza Shopping Center that will open later this year is a trifecta for the Northern Kentucky region. First, when completed, the new facility will create about 70 new full-time jobs, not to mention the construction-related jobs the project will produce. Second, the project will help to revitalize...

Churchill Downs announces plans to build ‘Florence Extension’ $38.4 million gaming facility in Newport

As part of its foray into Northern Kentucky, Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. has announced plans to build a $38.4 million gaming facility in the Newport Plaza Shopping Center. The facility will provide approximately 70 full time-equivalent jobs and is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year. “This is a tremendous announcement for the City of Newport,” said Newport City Manager...

Former Louisville field hockey player Hannah Boyle went from the turf to a career at the racetrack

By Lori Harmon University of Louisville The first Saturday in May is traditionally Derby Day – except for this year, when, like so many other events, the annual Run for the Roses was postponed due to the impact of COVID-19. The first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown takes place at Churchill Downs, which is located a mile away from the University of Louisville and brings viewers from around...

Bob and John’s very excellent adventure at the 1994 Kentucky Derby; Bob read about the race later

(Since Derby memories are all we will have on this particular First Saturday in May, we wanted to share with you one of our favorites. You get the idea — and a few laughs too along the way. Also today, Churchill Downs and Woodford Reserve will be offering unique content on social media, which will be followed by NBC’s 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. re-airing of the legendary 2015 Kentucky Derby that began...

Woodford Reserve joins Churchill Downs for ‘Kentucky Derby at Home’ celebration on May 2

Woodford Reserve, the Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby, has joined Churchill Downs for a nationwide, at-home celebration that honors the tradition and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby while also raising up to $2 million for people impacted by the global pandemic. The day-long virtual experience will take place on May 2, the original date for the annual race, which has been postponed to Sept....

Kentucky Derby to be postponed until Sept. 5 in response to Covid-19 pandemic; Preakness may follow

Even Kentucky’s most famous rite of spring is not immune to the spread of COVID 19. Churchill Downs has announced that the 2020 Kentucky Derby, originally scheduled for May 2 (the first Saturday in May) will be postponed until September 5. Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO, Bill Carstanjen released the following statement: “Throughout the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority...

Preparations in full swing for annual $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on March 14

The road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) runs through Northern Kentucky on March 14 when Turfway Park hosts its annual Derby prep race, the $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3). The signature race is one of 12 races on the day, including six stakes races. As Jeff Ruby Steaks day is the highlight of Turfway’s racing season, so the VIP tent is the centerpiece of the day itself. Situated...

Keeneland, Churchill Downs reinforce commitment to safety with racing and training reforms

Keeneland and Churchill Downs have jointly announced major changes in racing and training policies to strengthen safety protocols at both race tracks. Reforms include mandatory veterinary inspections prior to workouts and race entry and enhanced reporting and transparency requirements for trainers and attending veterinarians with regard to the fitness of horses to work and race. These reforms also...