Amazing Rooftop Experience Planned for 2019 Kentucky Derby

Churchill winner's circleLOUISVILLE, Ky., Sept., 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN), one of the world’s most renowned sports and entertainment venues, will create an elevated experience for guests of the 2019 Kentucky Derby and beyond. The legendary Louisville, Ky. racetrack has announced plans for a $5 million capital investment that will expand the Starting Gate Suites through the construction of a new 20,000-square-foot rooftop garden which will deliver a unique hospitality experience with exclusive sightlines and access for more than 500 ticketed guests.

The innovative and picturesque rooftop space, located high atop the Starting Gate Suites on the north end of the 190-acre facility, will provide covered reserved seating for more than 250 guests and approximately 250 additional Standing Room Only access tickets. More information on the individual tickets to the new space for the 2019 Kentucky Derby will be made available during the online ticket sale later this year.

Guests on the rooftop will be able to gaze at an authentic panoramic view of Louisville while enjoying access to several upscale bars and various food offerings in a cozy yet party-like atmosphere. There also will be a tiered balcony for spectacular viewing of Churchill Downs’ races, including a prime observation that overlooks the start of the Kentucky Derby at the top of the famed homestretch.

“Rooftop bars are a hot trend in the hospitality industry, and the addition of this sensational new space atop our Starting Gate Suites will be a great benefit to our facility and deliver another unique guest experience at Churchill Downs,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack.

The Starting Gate Suites debuted for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. It was constructed for $37 million and provided more than 1,800 new seats through the addition of 32 luxury suites, interior dining tables and third-floor Grandstand seats.

Construction on the Starting Gate Suites Rooftop project will begin after the Nov. 2-3 Breeders’ Cup World Championships and be completed prior to the 2019 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, which will be staged for the 145th consecutive year on Saturday, May 4th. Populous is the architect and Calhoun Construction will serve as the project manager.

Guests interested in purchasing tickets to the Starting Gate Suites Rooftop or more information may contact the Churchill Downs sales department at (502) 636-4450 or sales@kyderby.com.

About Churchill Downs Racetrack

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4, 2019. The track’s 2018 September Meet is set for Sept. 14-30 and its Fall Meet will run from Oct. 28-Nov. 25. An eight-time host to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Churchill Downs will again be the site of that event on Nov. 2-3, 2018. Information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com.

About Churchill Downs Incorporated

Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event – The Kentucky Derby. We are the largest legal online account wagering platform for horseracing in the U.S., through our ownership of TwinSpires.com. We are also a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 8,000 gaming positions in six states. We have launched our BetAmerica Sportsbook at our two Mississippi casino properties and have announced our plans to enter additional U.S. real money online gaming and sports betting markets. Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.

John Asher was the Kentucky Derby’s beaming ambassador

Horse Racing Has Lost a Legend in John Asher

John Asher was the Kentucky Derby’s beaming ambassador

Just a few of the quotes from those who knew him:

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert: “John was the warm human face of Churchill Downs. I was always happy to see him. He was as Kentucky as the Derby, bluegrass, bourbon and hot browns. I can’t imagine Derby week without him.”

Morning line odds maker and retired track announcer Mike Battaglia: “I’m heartsick to hear about the passing of my good friend John Asher. My deepest condolences go out to Dee and all of his family. John was loved by many and will be deeply missed.”

Trainer Chuck Simon: “John was just a great person. When I first started training in Kentucky I didn’t know that many people and used to hang out with (late track announcer) Luke Kruytbosch who was my friend from Arizona. Back then, Luke was stationed near the old Press Box and Gold Room for the big players and John was always around. He always took the time to come over and talk to me every time he saw me and ask how my horses were and if I had anything that he could include in a press release – knowing that free press is a godsend for a new trainer starting out. He barely knew me yet he was trying to help me out.

So a few years later I had a horse named Pirate King that John liked. The horse was working really well and even though it was the weeks leading to Derby, which for John was Christmas, every time the horse worked John would email me the clocker’s sheet for the day with a little note, ‘make sure you let me know when he runs, I want to bet a few bucks.’

I don’t think he was a big betting man really but for some reason he took a liking to this horse. So, I enter the horse for opening day of the CD spring meet which of course is the weekend before the Derby. John sees me on the backstretch the day before and says, ‘Well, is he ready?’

I said, ‘He’s pretty live, John. You’ve seen the works.’ So he says good luck, see you in the winner’s circle. The horse gallops at 20-1 and the first thing I think of is John probably laughing as the horse crossed the wire. So, we go in the winner’s circle and I don’t see him. After the race I text him and he doesn’t answer. So, I figure he must be busy as it is Derby Week and he is swamped. The next day he comes to the barn and gives me this sheepish look. I said, ‘You didn’t bet him, did you?’ He said all morning I was thinking I have to remember to get a bet in on Pirate King and then I got tied up in a press conference then there was some emergency then the governor’s office called then I got called into the meeting.

John said he heard Luke say over the loud speaker, ‘Pirate King still going strong.’  He said, ‘Damn I knew that horse was gonna win.’ But, he was happy that he won even though he didn’t get a bet down at 20-1. He was a great guy who loved the Derby and loved Churchill Downs and loved Western Kentucky sports and loved his family more than anything. Few people I ever met were as naturally kind as John Asher was. It’s hard to believe that both Luke and John are both gone.”

 

Tim Sullivan Courier Journal Longtime Churchill Downs spokesman John Asher dies at 62

Glasgow Daily Times Full coverage: John Asher was the Kentucky Derby’s beaming ambassador | Tim Sullivan

A Look at TV Audiences for the 2018 Triple Crown Horse Races

Triple Crown trophy

Justify won the Triple Crown this year

“Among the Kentucky Derby audience, 22% also watched the Preakness Stakes and 26% checked out the Belmont Stakes…”

Broadcasting & Cable Full coverage: Viewership By the Numbers: A Close Look at TV Audiences for Iconic Horse Races

Triple Crown winner Justify to resume training in California

Triple Crown winner Justify to resume training in California USA TODAY How Justify went from maiden to Triple Crown winner in 112 days

Courier Journal Full coverage

Source: Triple Crown winner Justify to resume training in California

Justify Becomes the 13th Triple Crown winner

Justify went right to the front from his rail post and dictated the way under Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith en route to a gate-to-wire victory in the 150th Belmont Stakes.  Longshot Gronkowski, first time out for trainer Chad Brown, was the only horse to make a real run at the dominant winner, but he was no match for Justify.

Big Carryovers for Friday’s Belmont Card – 6/8/18

Belmont Park crowd

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$62k Pick-5 Carryover Today!

The second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival will get even richer, with carryovers of $127,378 for the Pick-6 and $62,802 for the NYRA Bets Late Pick 5.

Only one favorite reached the winners’ circle on Thursday in Race 3, as Nigel’s Destiny (No. 4, $13.80) opened the Pick-6 sequence in Race 4, followed by longshots Bird’s Eye View (No. 6, $54.50) in Race 5, Athens Queen (No. 8, $24.20) in Race 6, the Astoria, La Sardane (No. 2, $10,80) in Race 7, the Grade 3 Intercontinental, with La Signare (No. 9, $14.60) taking the day’s feature in Race 8, the Grade 3 Wonder Again. Emmy Performance (No. 1, $10.80) took the day’s finale.

The consolation payout for five of six winners for the Pick-6 was $30,986.

Friday’s Pick 6 sequence will begin in Race 6 (with a post time of 3:36 p.m.) The NYRA Bets Late Pick-5 will start in Race 7. Both sequences will be highlighted by the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup, Grade 2, $400,000 New York, and the Grade 2, $250,000 True North.

Fans can catch the second day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival stakes action on a live national broadcast from 5:00-6:00 p.m. (ET), NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

Source: NYRA

Get Expert Advice for the 13-race Belmont Stakes card from AGOS Founder Rich Nilsen

Nilsen's analysis

2018 Belmont Stakes Notes – Part I

Hofburg Ready to Roll at 12 Furlongs

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said he has a plan for the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes for Hofburg to have a chance to play spoiler when Justify attempts to become the 13th Triple Crown winner.

“You’d like to be within two, three lengths at the quarter-pole,” said Mott on Wednesday morning at Belmont Park. “I’ve been observing a lot of these marathons on dirt, and I don’t think you want to be a dozen lengths off the lead turning for home.”

Mott has been through these races before, coming up a winner in 2010 with Drosselmeyer at odds of 12-1. This time, the 64-year-old trainer from South Dakota, saddles a 3-year-old colt tabbed the 9-2 second choice behind Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and Grade 1 Preakness winner Justify.

Of course, the biggest question is whether any of the 10 horses entered can handle the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion.”

“You’ve got to have a horse that really wants to do that, genetically capable of doing it,” said Mott. “That’s probably one of the main ingredients. Horses are made a little different, move a little differently, and some have the capacity to do it. Training is part of it, but rather I’d rather have a horse that is capable of doing that rather than one that is challenging as a miler trying to stretch it out.”

Hofburg seems to be well bred for the distance. He is by Tapit, the sire of three Belmont Stakes winners, including Tapwrit last year. On his dam side is Touch Gold, who won the 1997 Belmont and spoiled the Bob Baffert-trained Silver Charm’s quest for a Triple Crown.

Hofburg finished eighth in the Derby under Irad Ortiz, Jr., then skipped the Preakness and returned to Saratoga to train up to the Belmont. The Juddmonte Farms chestnut made the trip downstate on Monday, and has acclimated well.

“We got real lucky with the weather. He had a good trip on a dry road,” said Mott. “We’ve been through the paddock and he’s good. He was on the race track this morning; wasn’t too aggressive, pretty relaxed.

“He’s very good. We went into Churchill Downs with all the hoopla in there and it didn’t seem to faze him. He stays cool and calm. He knows what he’s there for and doesn’t seem to get too overly bothered. Until the race, he’ll just have regular gallops each morning around Big Sandy.”

Mott reported on two other horses he’ll saddle on Saturday, Good Samaritan in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap and Channel Maker in the Grade 1, $1 million Woodford Reserve Manhattan.

“Good Samaritan seems to be doing well. We’re anxious to run him at a flat mile to see what happens,” said Mott of his 10-1 shot. “We know we’re going to be a good ways back early in the race and hopefully he’ll come with a big run at the end.”

The 5-2 favorite for the race is Mind Your Biscuits, with Bolt d’Oro the second choice at 4-1 in the field of 11.

Channel Maker comes into the 1 ¼-mile Manhattan on the turf looking for his first victory in four starts this year. The son of English Channel will be ridden by Jose Ortiz and is 20-1 on the morning line.

Channel Maker finished fifth in the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 5.

“He had some traffic problems,” Mott said. “He’s a horse that probably needs to start his run a little earlier. He started, stopped and then redirected.”

The Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber owned 4-year-old has two wins, three second and three third from 16 career starts, with earnings of $516,250.

Nilsen's analysis

“I think it’ll get down to which horses have the pedigree and the stamina to finish.”

Bravazo gallops, looks to improve on Preakness finish

According to Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Belmont Stakes contender Bravazo has settled in nicely and taken well to “Big Sandy” since arriving by van on Monday. Early Wednesday morning, he resumed his light, local preparation for the “Test of the Champion” with a routine gallop as he continues to assert himself as a legitimate threat to thwart Justify’s Triple Crown bid.

“The trip was easy and he had a good day on the track,” said Lukas, who trains Bravazo for Calumet Farm. “He just galloped and did very well. He won’t do anything of any consequence between now and the race. He’s fit. Now I just need to keep him happy the rest of the way.”

No horse has come closer to besting the undefeated Justify than Bravazo in the Preakness – in which he fell short by a half-length over a sloppy, sealed track at Pimlico – and if things had gone a bit differently, Lukas said his horse may have been the one to wear the Black-eyed Susans.

In the early stages of the Preakness, Bravazo was sitting in the catbird seat as Justify and Good Magic, the Kentucky Derby top-two finishers, duked it out on the lead. Around the far turn, the Calumet color-bearer dropped back a few lengths with no apparent mishap, only to re-emerge from the fog in deep stretch and nearly nail Justify on the wire.

“He had a very good trip in the Preakness,” said Lukas. “What we would change if we could change it, to make the outcome a little better, would be to maybe move a little earlier. When Justify came off the [far] turn, he moved and then we moved. If we moved when he moved we might have been able to upset him.”

Bravazo – the only horse in the Belmont other than Justify to have contested both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness – is tied with Blended Citizen as the most experienced horse in the field, with 10 starts under his belt, including five this year. This added seasoning may be just what he needs to turn the tables on his ballyhooed rival, according to Lukas.

“The foundation, just being fit, is going to help his chances,” said the trainer. “They’re all doing well; I’ve watched them all train. With the big configuration of the racetrack and the sweeping turns, we should have a good trip. I think it’ll get down to which horses have the pedigree and the stamina to finish.”

As far as whether or not he believes his charge has the necessary pedigree, the Hall of Famer simply offered, “on paper it looks that way, we’ll see what happens.”

Should Bravazo run according to his pedigree and navigate the 1 ½ miles of the Belmont oval faster than his nine rivals, it would give Lukas a record 15th victory in a Triple Crown race.

Awesome Slew seeks first Grade 1 win in Runhappy Met Mile

Live Oak Plantation’s multiple Grade 3 winner Awesome Slew returns to Belmont Park for Saturday’s $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap with another chance to fill what trainer Mark Casse said is the only blank spot on the 5-year-old’s resume – a Grade 1 victory.

A Florida-bred son and grandson of two-time Grade 1 winners Awesome Again and Seeking the Gold, Awesome Slew is the only one of 11 graded-stakes winners entered for the 125th Met Mile to have run in last year’s race, finishing fourth.

As he did in 2017, Awesome Slew drew the far outside post for the Met Mile, though one spot closer than last year. He has raced twice this year, both at seven furlongs, finishing second as the favorite to Army Mule in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap April 7 at Aqueduct in his first start in five months.

Awesome Slew followed up to be third by a neck in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs May 5 on the Kentucky Derby undercard, contested over a sloppy, sealed track. The two horses that finished in front of him, Limousine Liberal and Warrior’s Club, both return in the Met Mile.

“It’s an extremely tough race but that’s why they’re Grade 1s, right?” Casse said. “He’s doing extremely well. I thought his first race back of the year, we kind of felt like he was training better than ever. Obviously, he ran into a very good horse in Army Mule. I thought he ran well, had a wide trip.

“He came back and, you know what, I was a little disappointed. I thought he had every shot to win the Churchill Downs, but he didn’t,” he added. “The racetrack was very, very difficult that day. I don’t know whether that was a factor or not; I’m hoping it was. It looks like there’s a fair amount of speed in the Met Mile, and I like our post position, so we’ll see what happens.”

Though winless in two career tries at Belmont, including a second to probable Met Mile favorite Mind Your Biscuits in the 2017 Grade 2 Belmont Sprint Championship, Awesome Slew has been successful going one mile, winning the Grade 3 Ack Ack last fall at Churchill Downs. Also last year, he was second in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap and third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Awesome Slew also owns a win at 1 1/16 miles, going all the way on the lead to beat 13 rivals in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones in 2016.

“In the last race he made the lead with about a sixteenth of a mile to go and that horse beat him in the stretch. It was a ding-dong battle, really, down to the wire,” Casse said. “I know that the mile is not a problem for him. He’s won up to a mile and a sixteenth already, against a pretty good field. The mile’s not going to hurt his feelings at all.”

A member of the Canadian Racing Hall of Fame and a finalist for the second straight year in 2018 for enshrinement in the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, Casse won the Met Mile in 2001 with another Florida-bred, Exciting Story.

“[A Met Mile win] would mean everything. This horse, he’s a beautiful horse. He’s got a good pedigree. He’s good looking, has a great mind. He’s got the entire package. The one thing he’s lacking right now is a Grade 1 win,” Casse said. “The Grade 1 would be huge, but the Met Mile Grade 1 is probably one of the most important races that a stallion prospect could win, and it would just elevate him to another level as a stallion prospect if he were able to win it.”

Nilsen’s Belmont Stakes Full-Card Analysis 2018

Download Rich Nilsen’s Belmont analysis here

with Wagering Strategies & Spot Plays by Rich Nilsen

This is Rich Nilsen’s home track and the results have showed in recent years. Nilsen gave out $34.80 winner Creator as his top pick as well as the huge exacta with Destin that returned over $260 just two years ago.  He followed that up last year with top selection $12.60 Tapwrit last year and the exacta and trifecta!

Founder of AGameofSkill.com, Nilsen is the winner of 7 major handicapping tournaments and a 15-time qualifier to the multi million-dollar National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). He is well known as one of the best handicappers in the country.  There are a lot of pretenders out there.  Get affordable, expert advice for this year’s amazing Belmont Stakes card.

This sheet contains:

Top selections for all 13 races

Sophisticated Pace Scenario for all 13 races

Spot Plays (Best Bets) on the undercard w/ wagering strategies

In-depth Analysis of the Belmont Stakes.  Includes Exacta and Trifecta strategies.

Get all 13 races on the Belmont card.  Download now for only $15.97 to any device.

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2016 Write-Up on TOP SELECTION CREATOR

CREATOR lost his best chance when he broke from an inside post in the field of 20 and encountered a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby.  Prior to that he was ultra impressive, sweeping by the field in the G1 Arkansas Derby.  If you want to see an incredible maiden win, just go back and what this colt’s Feb. 27 score at Oaklawn, and you’ll again see the type of late kick this guy possesses.  Trainer Steve Asmussen has the son of Tapit working well for this rebound race, including a blowout 4f drill over the Belmont training track. Bred to run all day, Creator will drop back under new rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. and come rolling late at a big price. 

Testimonial from the 2017 Sheet:

“Hey Rich.. Thanks for putting me on Tapwrit !! I liked him and Gormley and Irish War Cry.

I think  #9 meantime had enough speed to compromise Irish War Cry. Have feeling that if he wasn’t in the race, Irish War Cry might have been loose on the lead ,and had enough to win.  I had Tapwrit straight & the exacta.  Tapwrit & Gormley both had “dream trips”, But Gormley didnt want to go that far… Hey !! let’s give some love to Disco Partner for his new North  American record for 6 panels. I had him straight  and also knocked down the exacta of 2-4 for $42.00… Hope you had a good day & made some cash !!
 
Thanks Again, 
Wayne M.

A Look at Sol Kumin’s Ownership Model

Derby144 workout Justify at Santa AnitaEhalt: Sol Kumin’s Ownership Model ‘Great For The Game’

Paulick Report Full coverage

Source: Ehalt: Sol Kumin’s Ownership Model ‘Great For The Game’

Kentucky Derby & Preakness winner Mike Smith shows career wins can come after 50

Industry Profile

Kentucky Derby winner Mike Smith, 52, shows career wins can come after 50

MarketWatch Full coverage

Source: Kentucky Derby winner Mike Smith, 52, shows career wins can come after 50