Live horse racing returns to Kentucky Downs for 2022 season

Live racing returns this week to Kentucky Downs with the first of seven events scheduled for Thursday at the Franklin, Ky., facility. John Wholihan, director of Marketing at the Mint Gaming Hall and Kentucky Downs, said that live racing at the facility offers the biggest purse at any track in the area. ‘

The biggest attraction of the whole thing is the money. We are the highest average daily purse anywhere. We’re going to average more than $2 million a day in purses over each of those seven days,” Wholihan said. “The people who really like us are the horse owners, the people who own and train, they’re getting a chance for a good paycheck. Running in third place in our races can be like winning a race in some other locations. There are people who gear up for this meet. They want to take a shot because they know there’s big money.”

Wholihan said the Mint Gaming Hall’s intake of money helps to make the purse at Kentucky Downs so attractive. “The reason there’s big money is because of the Mint Gaming Hall, what happens in those pari mutuel machines, those historical horse racing games that people play every day,” Wholihan said. “That’s helping to feed the purse structure, and what we do. So we’ve really …

What Happens at a Horse Racing Track

Horse Racing Season Opens at Presque Isle Downs & CasinoNear the gate, a horse is spooked. It rears, so the jockey and groom back off. The horse turns and runs in the other direction. A pony horse and rider follow the galloping thoroughbred as it escapes. It makes it around one turn of the track before the escaping horse seems confused, turns, evades the pony horse, and runs more. Confusion again sets in for the horse. An owner and trainer walk onto the track, approaching slowly and cautiously. Their presence seemingly corrals the nervous horse long enough for the pony horse rider to grab onto the reins.

The horse is guided back to the starting gate, loaded into a stall, and within moments, the race begins. In less than two minutes, the horses are nearing the final stretch to the finish line. Along the patio, some 75 onlookers — maybe all gamblers, maybe just people who came to watch a race — call out to the horses: “C’mon” or “Let’s go” or some variation of those phrases. They call out to them by name.

Racehorses have odd names. Race horse owner and trainer Tim Girten has a horse in the third race named Serene Warrior (that horse will finish second in its race). Girten said sometimes horses are named by combining the names of its parents. The names also have to be to unique to be approved by the Jockey Club (the horse version of the American Kennel Club for dogs). Though Girten has owned and/or trained quite a few horses — he’s been a licensed racer since 1994 and he’s raced horses in more than 3,000 races — his horse Little Aladdin Rib quickly comes to mind as a standout. Girten claimed the horse for about $15,000, and when he retired the horse it had earned about $375,000.

“I was racing in Ohio at the time, and he was the Ohio Handicap Horse of the Year in 1996,” Girten said. “I’ve had quite a few stake horses.”

On a damp May 18 afternoon — a weekday — about 100 people were watching the first four races. It doesn’t matter if it’s damp. The staff say the horses run faster when it’s wet. A small handful of horses ran in each race. Each race lasted about 2 minutes. There are typically 27 or so minutes between races. And Presque Isle Downs has eight races each day that they race in the season. Meanwhile, races from all over the world are simulcast on TV screens inside so gamblers can keep the action going between each local race, placing bets on faraway races through the local establishment, or betting online…

KY Derby-winning trainer Eric Reed Discusses Rich Strike and pre-Belmont Stakes Work

KY Derby-winning trainer and longtime Kentucky horseman Eric Reed speaks about Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike after he works between races at Churchill Downs for the Belmont Stakes:

Eric Reed spoke with the media after his 80-1 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike worked five-eighths of a mile between Churchill Downs’ fifth and sixth race on Memorial Day. He left Tuesday, May 31st for Belmont Park and New York’s Belmont Stakes contested on June 11th. The Kentucky Derby winner’s was timed in 59 seconds flat for the five-eighths (similar to his last work before the Derby) with splits of 11.80, 23.20, 34.80 and out in 1:12 flat under exercise rider Gabe Lagunes.

Video of Rich Strike’s work (5F in 59 seconds) between races at Churchill Downs for the Belmont Stakes.


Sconsin repeats in G3 Winning Colors, running 6F in 1:08.18 off eight-month layoff. We speak to trainer Greg Foley, jockey Tyler Gaffalione and Johnny Ortiz, trainer of gallant runner-up Joyful Cadence.



About the Kentucky HBPA

The Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association is one of the country’s largest horsemen’s groups, representing about 6,000 owners and trainers at Kentucky’s five thoroughbred tracks. As an affiliate of the National HBPA that represents about 30,000 horsemen in the United States and Canada, the Kentucky HBPA’s responsibilities have greatly expanded as the racing industry has become more complex. In addition to its original general benevolence mission, the HBPA is the leading force for horsemen in negotiating contracts with tracks as well as the advancement of the sport through safety and integrity initiatives, promoting racing and assisting in the development of aftercare programs for retired racehorses.

Preakness Day Do’s and Don’ts

…the middle jewel of the Triple Crown is back at Pimlico Race Course in full swing this year, celebrating its 147th anniversary with a jam-packed Black Eyed Susan Day and InfieldFest lineups, plenty of colorful hats in the grandstand, and, of course, all of the trusty thoroughbreds that will participate in the race itself.

“Preakness is synonymous with Maryland,” says Jimmy Vargas, CEO of 1/ST Experience, the owner and operator of the event. “Baltimore is the home of Preakness, and we are honored to continue the tradition each year, putting Baltimore—its people, history, traditions, and thoroughbred industry—front and center on a national stage.”


Buy tickets early: Prices rise as we approach race day, so take advantage of package deals like the famed all-you-can-drink MUG Club. Ticket prices for MUG club, which include access to party areas and a souvenir mug to use at all filling stations, will increase on May 15. For an even more VIP experience, check out the MUG and Vine Club that goes one step beyond with private viewing areas, lounge areas, and restrooms. Try to arrive early to avoid long lines.

Prepare for the weather: Nothing rains on your parade more than, well, rain. If it has rained recently or throughout the day, the infield can turn into a huge mud pit that tracks up to mid-calf. Be prepared to swap out your cutest kicks for a pair of rain boots, cover your race regalia with a poncho or rain jacket, and protect your makeup by using a waterproof mascara.

More on the Preakness Day from Baltimore Magazine

The Incredible Story Behind KY Derby Winner Rich Strike’s Connections

Nearly six years ago, Eric Reed almost called it quits from the horse training business.

A fire engulfed one of the barns at his Lexington, Kentucky, equine center, in the middle of a December night, killing 23 thoroughbred horses and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

“When we drove up on that that night, I told my wife, I said, ‘we’ve probably lost everything,’ ” Reed recounted this week. “The next morning, when we saw the devastation … I just thought of all the years and all the stuff we had done to get this beautiful farm and to have this happen, that something might be telling me it’s the end of the line.”

Reed didn’t give up, and with friends — and sometimes strangers — who showed up to help, he continued training. “I just decided, I wasn’t going to let it take me out.”

It paid off: Reed is now a Kentucky Derby winner…

More on trainer Eric Reed and the owner of Rich Strike

Industry Profile. Trainer Tim Yakteen brings 2 star horses to Kentucky Derby 148

“It’s like having a lottery ticket sort of fall in your lap,” he said. “Now we’re trying to cash it.”

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Tim Yakteen has been to the Kentucky Derby with good horses before. Now the trainer is at Churchill Downs in charge for the first time with two top contenders that used to be trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

Tim Yakteen brings 2 top horses to 1st Ky Derby in chargeYakteen worked two different stints earlier in his career as an apprentice under Baffert, who won’t be at the Derby on Saturday because he’s serving a 90-day suspension imposed by Kentucky racing officials. The six-time Derby winner also has been banned for two years by Churchill Downs Inc.

It may seem uncomfortable to most everyone except Yakteen.

“I wouldn’t say that I think that there’s any awkwardness there,” he said. “I just feel really lucky and fortunate.”

A surprised Yakteen took calls from the owners of Messier and Taiba asking him to train their budding stars.

“I was honored they had the confidence that I could continue to carry the torch,” he said, perched on a trunk near Messier’s stall in his Santa Anita barn.

Baffert relinquished the colts to serve the punishment handed down after last year’s Derby winner, Medina Spirit, tested positive for an anti-inflammatory medication that isn’t allowed on race day.

Baffert’s suspension bars him from Santa Anita and Yakteen said they’ve had no conversations since he took charge of Messier, the early 8-1 third choice in the Derby, and Taiba, a 12-1 shot… more on Trainer Tim Yakteen at

Pre-order Rich Nilsen’s Kentucky Derby Package which will now include bonus coverage of the KY Oaks!

Derek Simon’s Kentucky Derby Betting Guide for Derby 148

It’s back! The one and only Kentucky Derby Guide from handicapping guru Derek Simon.

Simon’s in-depth KY Derby report offers 20 pages of insightful information on the most exciting two minutes in sports, the 148th Kentucky Derby.  Just some of the content includes:

KY Derby Facts & Figures

A popular section that includes a myriad of unique and relevant stats pertaining to the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

Over the past 30 years, horses with a form rating of less than 50% are 1-for-123 in America’s biggest race. What six horses fall into that category this year? What horse is trying to accomplish something that NO HORSE IN THE HISTORY OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY has been able to do? Answers are in the 2022 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide!

Derby Prep Grades

I use a “key race” algorithm I developed many years ago to grade every major final Kentucky Derby prep. Since 1991, only one Kentucky Derby winner has exited a prep with a failing grade (F) and there is one such prep this year. I also give statistics on all the key preps.

Find out what key Kentucky Derby prep has produced just one Derby winner from 90 starters since 1992.

Final Fractions Theory

I expound on the now popular Final Fractions Theory, which was conceived by Colonel Edward R. Bradley and popularized by Jennie Rees. Using more scientific, dynamic values for lengths, I find out who the fastest finishers among the Derby entrants are.

Discover which horses have a 1.46 impact value based on the final fractions of their last race, and which have a 0.53 IV based on the same criterion.

Find out:

  • Horse-by-horse Statistical Look by Derek Simon
  • See the speed rating pattern that has produced zero Kentucky Derby winners (from 37 starters) since 1992. Observe the pattern that has produced a 30 percent ROI as well!
  • In the past 30 years, six horses (of 40) won the Kentucky Derby after recording an LSR of -5 or greater and an ESR of less than 0 in their final prep, producing profits across the board. What four potential Derby entrants qualify this year?
  • The 2022 Kentucky Derby Contenders Likely to Regress (and Progress!)
  • and more!

Download instantly today and attack the Run for the Roses.  Only $25

Derek Simon’s Kentucky Derby Betting Guide is Here.  Download Today



The Kentucky Derby Draw is done.  See it here

The Draw for This Year’s Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Post Positions for the 148th Kentucky Derby:
1️⃣ Mo Donegal
2️⃣ Happy Jack
3️⃣ Epicenter
4️⃣ Summer Is Tomorrow
5️⃣ Smile Happy
6️⃣ Messier
7️⃣ Crown Pride
8️⃣ Charge It
9️⃣ Tiz the Bomb
🔟 Zandon – 3/1 morning line favorite for Kentucky Derby 148
1️⃣1️⃣ Pioneer of Medina
1️⃣2️⃣ Taiba
1️⃣3️⃣ Simplification
1️⃣4️⃣ Barber Road
1️⃣5️⃣ White Abarrio
1️⃣6️⃣ Cyberknife
1️⃣7️⃣ Classic Causeway
1️⃣8️⃣ Tawny Port
1️⃣9️⃣ Zozos
2️⃣0️⃣ Ethereal Road

Now that the The Draw for This Year’s Kentucky Derby is complete, check out the AGOS recaps of the major KY Derby prep races

NBC’s Peacock to Stream this year’s Triple Crown Horse Races

Peacock To Live Stream NBC’s Triple Crown Horse Races for the First Time Peacock will live stream NBC’s Triple Crown horse races for the first time this spring, beginning Saturday, May 7 at 2:30 p.m. ET, when NBC and Peacock present the 148th Kentucky Derby. NBC Sports will present more than 20 hours of Triple Crown coverage across NBC, USA Network, CNBC and Peacock this spring.

Two weeks after NBC Sports’ five-hour Kentucky Derby show, Peacock will simul-stream NBC’s live broadcast of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21 at 4 p.m. ET. Then on Saturday, June 11 at 5 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock will present the Belmont Stakes.

Previously, Peacock live streamed NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic from Del Mar, Calif.

Date Time Event Platform
Fri., May 6 1 p.m. Kentucky Oaks USA Network
Sat., May 7 Noon Kentucky Derby early races USA Network
Sat., May 7 2:30 p.m. 148th Kentucky Derby NBC, Peacock
Fri., May 20 5 p.m. Black-Eyed Susan USA Network
Sat., May 21 2 p.m. Preakness Stakes early races CNBC
Sat., May 21 4 p.m. 147th Preakness Stakes NBC, Peacock
Sat., June 11 3 p.m. Belmont Stakes early races CNBC
Sat., June 11 5 p.m. 154th Belmont Stakes NBC, Peacock

NBC SPORTS AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown, the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Royal Ascot, and Pegasus World Cup Invitational Series. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.

Click here for Peacock and Horse Races

AGOS Horses to Watch: Kentucky Derby Favorite Epicenter

Will Trainer Steve Asmussen Win the KY Derby?

Hall of Fame horseman Steve Asmussen capped off a 5-win day with Epicenter’s impressive victory in the 1 3/16 miles Louisiana Derby.  The talented colt rode the rail while sitting in third.  Second choice Zozos, trained by Brad Cox, dictated the pace with mild pressure from the longshot Pioneer Of Medina behind him. Epicenter took over at the top of the lane and drew off with Rosario at one point looking under his arms for any competition.  The pacesetters hung on gamely for second and third respectively.  [Note that so far, two also rans from this race have returned in stakes company to run off the board.]

Prior to this start, Epicenter led gate to wire in the Risen Star Stakes.  He set a modest but consistent pace throughout and again won as much the best under jockey Joel Rosario.  The third place finisher Zandon returned to win the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland impressively, and the runner-up in the Risen Star placed in this same stakes.  Fifth place finisher Tawny Port won the Lexington Stakes two races later.  The Risen Star has turned out to be a key race on the 2022 Kentucky Derby trail.