A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

‘Kidney’ husband returns to Churchill downs with wife on KY Oaks day to celebrate their good fortune

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor When Shaun McCarthy came to the Kentucky Oaks by himself last year from his home in Maine, he was on a mission. Shaun McCarthy wore this jacket to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks in the hopes of finding a kidney donor for his wife Stacey. His story went viral and Stacey Received a successful transplant of a kidney that came from Cincinnati on Oct. 30 (file photo) This...

Serengeti Empress wins 145th Longines Kentucky Oaks before large crowd at Churchill Downs

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor LOUISVILLE, KY — Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress grabbed the advantage out of the gate and repelled a stretch bid from Liora by 1 3⁄4 lengths to win the 145th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) for 3-year-old fillies before a crowd of 105,719 at Churchill Downs. Jockey Jose Ortiz aboard Serengeti Empress prepares to high-five trainer...

Charitable Impact Group to host Derby handicapping event benefiting thoroughbred charities April 26

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA), the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), and New Vocations have been named the co-beneficiaries of the Charitable Impact Group’s fifth annual Kentucky Oaks and Derby Handicapping Benefit Dinner. The event will be held at Fasig-Tipton in Lexington on April 29 at 6 p.m. NBC racing analyst Donna Brothers will host a panel of handicappers including Daily...

Vekoma punches KY Derby ticket with Blue Grass win, Out for a spin pulls off shocker in the Ashland

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor Never before had Keeneland seen such a large crowd on the opening Saturday of a meet. Vekoma draws off from the field to an impressive 3 1/2 length win in the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Saturday, stamping his ticket to the Kentucky Derby (photos by Mark Hansel). The combination of perfect weather, spots in the starting gate of the Kentucky...

Turfway Park’s 48th running of Jeff Ruby Steaks draws 151 nominations for event on March 9

The 48th running of the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park has drawn 151 nominations, Turfway Park racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer announced Tuesday. The 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds is scheduled for March 9 and offers 34 points toward the Kentucky Derby: 20 to the winner, eight to the runner-up, four for third place and two for fourth place. “Scheduling the race a week or two earlier...

Keeneland holds Hiring Center, Job Fair to fill more than 2,000 seasonal employment positions

Keeneland is readying for its 2019 Spring Meet with the announcement of two employment events aimed at filling more than 2,000 seasonal positions: a Hiring Center that opens Feb. 25 and a Job Fair on March 9. Staffing covers Food and Beverage Service, Parking and Security, The Keeneland Shop, Admissions, Programs, Track Maintenance and Guest Services for the Spring Meet, which covers 17 days of racing...

Maine husband’s long shot play on Kentucky Oaks Day pays off with kidney donation for his wife

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor Shaun McCarthy was running out of options, and time. Stacey McCarthy, Shaun’s wife, was on dialysis and in desperate need of a kidney transplant. Efforts to find a compatible donor in or around his Portland, Maine home were unsuccessful. Shaun McCarthy on Kentucky Oaks Day, with his “MY WIFE NEEDS A KIDNEY,” sport coat (photo by Mark Hansel). There...

Kentucky Oaks Day: Great racing, disputed finish in feature (Monomoy Girl wins) and some perspecive

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor The 144th Grade I Kentucky Oaks was a thrilling renewal of the classic race that saw morning line favorite Monomoy Girl battle longshot Wonder Gadot the length of the stretch. Eventual winner Monomoy Girl is barely visible inside Wonder Gadot (#5). The two fillies engaged in a hotly contested stretch duel in the 144th running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks at...

Keeneland to celebrate Kentucky Oaks, Kentucky Derby days with family-friendly activities

Keeneland invites fans to watch and wager on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) while enjoying a variety of family-friendly activities and accommodations ranging from a casual picnic in the Paddock to Grandstand seating to tailgating on The Hill. On Oaks and Derby Days, fans may picnic at no charge in the Paddock and Walking Ring and view...

Thoroughbred Charities of America named co-beneficiary of Oak and Derby handicapping event

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) has been named the co-beneficiary of the Charitable Impact Group’s Kentucky Oaks and Derby Handicapping Benefit Dinner presented by LUXAIR Jets. The event will be held in the newly renovated courthouse in downtown Lexington, Ky. on Monday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. NBC racing analyst Randy Moss will host a panel of handicappers including Daily Racing Form’s Mike...

Jeff Ruby backing adds ‘high shine’ to Turfway Derby prep, but party continues with St. Patrick’s Day theme

The first year of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment’s sponsorship adds high shine to the 47th renewal of Turfway Park’s annual Kentucky Derby prep race. With the $200,000 Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks as its centerpiece—the name a play on Thoroughbred racing’s “stakes” designation for top-level races — this year’s event is Saturday, March 17. The Jeff Ruby touch especially will be felt...

Coldest Oaks Day since 1940 results in upset win for Abel Tasman before big rain-soaked crowd

Fans braved an all-day rain and the coldest Oaks Day since 1940 Friday as Abel Tasman captured the 143rd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs Racetrack. The dreary weather, which kept thousands of fans at home, still resulted in attendance of 105,100. The highest all-time attendance record for the Kentucky Oaks of 124,589 was set just last year under perfect...

Paradise Woods installed a morning line 5-2 favorite for 143rd running of Kentucky Oaks

Steven Sarkowsky and Marty and Pam Wygod’s Paradise Woods has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of 14 3-year-old fillies and one also-eligible entered Tuesday for the 143rd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) that serves as the centerpiece of Friday’s 13-race program. The Longines Kentucky Oaks, run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, will go as the...

Keeneland celebrating Kentucky Derby, Oaks days with wagering, other special activities

Keeneland will celebrate the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and May 6 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) with parties to suit everyone’s style, from a casual picnic in the Paddock to the Derby Bash at the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center. Fans will be able to watch and wager on the races from Churchill Downs and major tracks around the country. On Oaks and Derby Days, fans may picnic in...

Nominations now being accepted for 2017 Kentucky Oaks Cancer Survivors parade

For the ninth year, 143 Survivors, nominated and selected by the public, will have the opportunity to walk Churchill Downs’ historic racetrack on Kentucky Oaks Day to help Churchill Downs generate awareness for breast and ovarian cancer prevention. Beginning now through March 17 at 11:59 p.m., the public is invited to nominate yourself, a relative, or a friend who has survived breast and/or ovarian...

Record crowd sees Cathryn Sophia capture 142nd running of $1 million Kentucky Oaks

Cash Is King LLC’s Cathryn Sophia took control at the head of the stretch and went on to post a 2 ¾-length victory over Land Over Sea to win the 142nd running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies before a record Oaks Day crowd of 124,589. Friday’s attendance broke the mark established in 2015 of 123,763. Trained by John Servis and ridden by Javier Castellano, Cathryn Sophia...

Churchill Downs announces security procedures, banned objects in advance of Oaks, Derby

As you plan your trip to Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby weekend, be sure to review the list of items that are permitted and those that cannot be brought into the racing facility. All patrons are subject to magnetic wand scans before entry to the track on both days. Oaks and Derby patrons are advised to arrive early to accommodate search procedures at all admission gates. Admission gates (1, 3,...

Keeneland to serve as site for world’s largest Kentucky Derby party for race fans

Keeneland will host the world’s largest Kentucky Derby celebration for the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by as part of its popular two-day party that also features the Party in the Paddock event for the May 6 Kentucky Oaks. Admission is free on Oaks Day and $5 per person on Derby Day; kids 12 and younger will be admitted free both days. Parking is free. Gates open at 9 a.m. ET each day. Fans will...

Weep No More, Rachel’s Valentina headline star-studded field of 14 for $1 million Kentucky Oaks

The 1-2 finishers from last month’s Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, Ashbrook Farm’s Weep No More and Stonestreet Stables’ Rachel’s Valentina, sporting family ties to the Kentucky Oaks, headline a field of 14 3-year-old fillies entered Tuesday for Friday’s 142nd running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. The Kentucky Oaks will go as the 11th race on Friday’s...

Charitable Impact sets Kentucky Oaks and Derby handicapping fundraiser for May 2

The Charitable Impact Group, Inc., will host the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Handicapping event, dinner and silent auction on May 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Keene Barn at Keeneland. The evening will feature Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, NBC analyst Randy Moss and Daily Racing Form experts Mike Watchmaker and Mike Welsch, as they discuss and handicap the 2016 Oaks and Derby. Hall of Fame jockey...