Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs

The Run for the Roses is a few weeks away yet, but the solid gold trophy already awaits the owner of the horse that wins the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2 at Churchill Downs.

The trophy is made of 14-karat gold and was crafted by New England Sterling in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, for the 40th consecutive year.

The trophy arrived at Churchill Downs about 10 days ago aboard a Brinks truck. Three smaller sterling silver replica trophies will be presented to the Derby's winning trainer, jockey and breeder.

Not counting the jade base, the owner's trophy is 22 inches tall and weighs approximately 65 ounces. It is topped by a 14-karat gold horse and rider and has horseshoe-shaped wreath handles attached to its sides.

California Chrome will be able to race after all.

There had been some doubt about whether the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby and the Preakness would compete in the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of horseracing's Triple Crown.

The thoroughbred has run and won his last six races wearing equine nasal strips. It was uncertain whether the stewards who oversee the June 7 event in New York would allow the strips, out of concern they offer the horse an unfair boost.

California Chrome Wins The Kentucky Derby

May 3, 2014

California Chrome won the 140th running of Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville Saturday. The horse was favored to win, despite quirks that set him apart from his more traditional competitors.

"Derby dreams do come true," an announcer said after the race.

As NBC Sports reports:

Saddle Up For The 140th Kentucky Derby

May 2, 2014

The Kentucky Derby is the first jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown. A field of 19 horses will take to the track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday evening for the 140th edition of the Run for the Roses.

Joe Drape is there, as he is every year, for The New York Times. He discusses the field with Here & Now’s Sacha Pfeiffer. His picks are Wicked Strong, Intense Holiday and California Chrome.

Post Positions, Odds Set for Derby

May 1, 2014
Churchill Downs

California Chrome has been made the early 5-2 favorite for the 140th Kentucky Derby, with Hopportunity the second choice in the full field of 20 horses. Trained by 77 year old Art Sherman, California Chrome drew the #5 post. Eight horses have won from there, most recently Funny Cide in 2003.

Hopportunity drew the #11 post and is 6-1 for Saturday's race. He's trained by Bob Baffert.

Starting in the #1 post on the rail is Vicar's In Trouble with jockey Rosie Napravnik up. Wicked Strong, named for the victims of last year's Boston Marathon bombings, is the 8-1 third choice and will break from the 20th post on the far outside of the track.

Kevin Willis

Before the horses sprint from the starting gates, the Kentucky Derby crowd will hand over millions of dollars in wagers. Gamblers lucky enough to pick the right colts will be getting a little less back.

Churchill Downs is taking a bigger cut of the money bettors place on its races. The decision comes after Kentucky lawmakers rejected the racing industry's latest effort to add slot machines to generate more cash to boost prize money for horse owners.

Churchill spokesman John Asher says without the bigger cut, the track would have had to reduce prize money for winners of spring races and some races would likely have been cut.

Kentucky touts itself as the world's horse capital. But some tracks are struggling to compete with tracks in states such as New York and Pennsylvania that use casino gambling to offer higher purses.

Derby Trophy Delivered to Churchill Downs

Mar 25, 2014
Churchill Downs

With Kentucky Derby 140 less than six weeks away, the solid gold trophy that the owner of the winning 3 year old will receive is being delivered to Churchill Downs in Louisville.

The trophy is 22 inches tall with a 14-karat gold horse and rider atop it and horseshoe-shaped wreath handles. It sits on a jade base and weighs about five pounds. It'll be unveiled at the track Tuesday.

Churchill Downs says the company that makes the trophy began work on it in November. The process takes about 2,000 hours.

The home of the Kentucky Derby wants to make sure every fan attending the famous race actually sees the horses running.
Churchill Downs said Monday it will install a video board bigger than three basketball courts to give fans a giant-size view of the thoroughbreds stampeding along the track. 

The track is teaming with Panasonic for the $12 million project expected to be done early next year _ well ahead of the Run for Roses on the first Saturday in May. 

"It's going to present coverage of the race unlike anything we've ever been able to do before," said Ryan Jordan, the track's general manager.

Track officials said the 15,224-square-foot, high-definition LED video board will be installed about midway along the backstretch and outside the dirt course.

The video board's position will maximize the viewing angle for fans in the 55,638 clubhouse and grandstand seats and the tens of thousands of fans packed in the track's 26-acre infield for the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. The Oaks is a race for 3-year-old fillies run the day before the Derby.

The two days of racing are a revenue bonanza for the track's parent company, Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc.

The mint julep stands proud as the beverage known as Kentucky's signature drink. Unless you're new to the area or haven't been paying attention, you know the julep is synonymous with the Kentucky Derby.

What you might not know, however, is that the mint julep's history traces back to a rose water drink in the Middle East.

WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis in 2010 visited the famous Seelbach Hotel in Louisville to learn the history and proper preparation of the famous drink. Cole Phelps, who at the time served as the head bartender at Max's Bar on the hotel's second floor shared his favorite recipe for drink:

Churchill Downs

The early favorite for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby is Orb at 7 to 2. Trained by Shug McGaughey,  Orb drew post position number 16 Wednesday evening at Churchill Downs.

The second favorite is Verrazano at 4 to 1. He’ll run from post position number 14. 

Verrazano is one of five Derby starters trained by Todd Pletcher.

The third choice, at 5-1, is Goldencents, trained by Doug O’Neill, who won last year with I’ll Have Another.

O’Neill  says and the horse’s owners are pleased that Goldencents will break from the number eight post.

A full field of 20 horses is entered for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

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