A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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...

Beshear reports 778 new COVID cases, 4 deaths; ‘mask up’; and a round-up of coronavirus news

Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday reported 778 new COVID cases and 4 deaths, bringing state totals to 30,151 cases and 778 deaths. Twenty-three of the new cases were from children age 5 and under. There were 19 new cases in Boone County, 17 in Kenton County and 12 in Campbell County. “The health and the lives of people around you, our economy and how fast we can build it back, and our ability to get our...

After Toyota Blue Grass Stakes victory, Hernandez focuses on Kentucky Derby aboard Art Collector

Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. has won America’s richest horse race. Now the Ellis Park regular has his sights on America’s most revered race, the Kentucky Derby. That long-held dream took an important step forward when Hernandez guided Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector to a 3 1/2-length victory over the talented filly Swiss Skydiver in Keeneland’s $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on July 11. The...

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...

UK season opener against Eastern Michigan moved to a Thursday to avoid conflict with Kentucky Derby

University of Kentucky football will return a bit earlier than expected this fall, breaking out of the starting gate first on a holiday weekend that also includes the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. UK’s season opener against Eastern Michigan, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5, has now been moved to Thursday, Sept. 3, at Kroger Field, athletics director Mitch Barnhart announced...

Billy Reed: Good and bad news for sports, but the coronavirus rules — and the rules are changing

A few weeks ago, the National Football League conducted its first virtual draft, and the Cincinnati Bengals, surprising absolutely nobody, used its No. 1 pick to take Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy while leading LSU to the national collegiate championship. Ordinarily, that would have been a huge story in these parts, with arguments raging on the sports radio talk shows about whether Burrow...

What the Turtleneck edges out Galapa-GO! to take 2020 Kentucky Turtle Derby title

What The Turtleneck won the 2020 Kentucky Turtle Derby Saturday, beating out Galapa-GO! in a wire-to-wire finish. Rocket To Nowhere finished third, rounding out the top three. In what should have been the actual Kentucky Derby on this First Saturday in May, Old Forester, the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby held the Kentucky Turtle Derby tonight instead. There’s history behind the Kentucky Derby...

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...

Billy Reed: Hard to take, but coronavirus is victor on first Saturday in May; there’s an at-home party

The Kentucky Derby has been a big part of life ever since I covered my first one on May 7, 1966. The winner on that warm, breezy afternoon was Kauai King, who went wire-to-wire for owner Mike Ford and trainer Henry Forrest. In the jockeys’ room after the race, I heard winning rider Don Brumfield of Nicholasville, Ky., proclaim himself to be the “happiest hillbilly hardboot in the world.” I was...

$20 million Saudi Cup purse money withheld due to doping investigation involving trainer Servis

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor The Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia (JCSA) announced Monday it will withhold purse money from the $20 million Saudi Cup, pending the results of an internal investigation. Maximum Security, owned by Gary and Mary West, and trained by Jason Servis, won the inaugural Saudi Cup on Feb. 29, at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. Jason Servis (center) trained Maximum...

Tiz the Law retakes lead in NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll; voting to be suspended amid COVID-19 cancellations

Of all the impressive statements made by the sophomore male class thus far in 2020, the emphatic victory by Tiz the Law in the March 28 Grade 1 Florida Derby may resonate the loudest during a most uncertain time as the bay colt again established a clear lead in the latest National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top 3-Year-Old Poll. After slipping to the No. 2 spot in the poll behind undefeated...

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...

Road to the Derby: Gary West’s weekly rundown of the top 20 prospects 146th Kentucky Derby

By Gary West Thoroughbred New Service (Number, Horse (Trainer), Starts-Wins-Seconds-Thirds, Earnings, Sire) 1. Dennis’ Moment (Dale Romans) 4-2-0-0 $167,800 Tiznow Dennis’ Moment worked an easy half-mile in 48.05 seconds Sunday at Gulfstream Park in preparation for his seasonal debut in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. And he galloped out strongly, reportedly getting five-eighths in 1:01.42. So what...

UK grad’s design, ‘Pegasus in Bloom,’ selected for 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival poster

By Gabriela Antenore University of Kentucky A design by University of Kentucky alumnus Casey McKinney was unveiled as the 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival poster. McKinney’s artwork, named “Pegasus in Bloom,” was chosen to represent the Kentucky Derby Festival because of its colorful design. The poster features a pegasus racing through a field of colorful flowers and shapes, with fireworks and...

Dale Romans’ trainee Dennis’ Moment set to begin road to the Derby in Saturday’s Fountain of Youth

By Jennie Rees Thoroughbred News Service Trainer Dale Romans believes he has a “superstar” in Dennis’ Moment. That leads him to feel both confidence and anxiety as Albaugh Family Stables’ standout colt prepares to run in Saturday’s $400,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes, a Grade 2 stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby. After all, it’s the first race since Dennis’ Moment stumbled...

Road to the Derby: No Derby preps on weekend schedule, but plenty of workouts to analyze

By Gary West Thoroughbred New Service (Number, Horse (Trainer), Starts-Wins-Seconds-Thirds, Earnings, Sire) 1. Dennis’ Moment (Dale Romans) 4-2-0-0 $167,800 Tiznow It would be a mistake to make too much of a workout, but also a mistake to ignore its insinuation. And so, for the moment, let’s just agree that the recent workout by Dennis’ Moment is intriguing. Saturday at Gulfstream Park, he breezed...

Gary West: Trainer Steve Asmussen knows a Kentucky Derby victory is out there, it just hasn’t happened yet

Have you ever won the Kentucky Derby? That’s the question everyone asks because that’s the race everyone knows. A few races are richer and a few might possess more championship heft, but throughout America’s vast cultural landscape, on the promontory of popular awareness, only the Kentucky Derby sits so high that everyone can see it. And on the first Saturday in May, the entire nation stops to...

Churchill Downs announces plans for $300 million renovation project set to begin in December

Churchill Downs Racetrack on Wednesday announced a number of major capital investments to offer a variety of new VIP guest experiences, including the construction of permanent stadium seating, a hotel and historical racing machine (HRM) facility in the first turn at the racetrack as well as a renovation project of Millionaires Row. Hotel, HRM Facility and New Permanent Seating Pending final approval...