Norton Cancer Institute, Churchill Downs Partner Up

The Norton Cancer Institute and Churchill Downs announced earlier today a charitable partnership between the two that would raise funds used towards providing care for women in the community in need of breast health screenings and services who lack access to such services.

Statistics show that one out of every eight women will develop breast cancer so this partnership will be a valuable resource. The Norton Cancer Institute will provide health programs, diagnosis and treatment resources, support groups, testing services, clinical trials, and community screenings.

The campaign will be launched with 143 breast and ovarian cancer survivors marking in a parade at Churchill Downs before the start of the 143rd annual Longines Kentucky Oaks. Parade march nominations can be made online. The nomination process will close at 11:49 PM EST on March 17.

The new partnership and parade will be a part of the Oaks Day Pink Out celebration. Churchill Downs has committed to donate $50,000 to the Norton Cancer Institute’s Breast Health Program as part of Pink Out.

“The caregivers at Norton Cancer Institute are all about giving hope to people fighting cancer,” said Norton Healthcare Senior VP of Women’s and Children’s Community Partnerships/Chief Development Officer Lynnie Meyer, Ed.D, R.N., CFRE. “The Kentucky Oaks Survivor’s Parade celebrates the hope that every cancer patient has – no matter their stage of treatment. We’re honored to be a part of this year’s event.”

“We’re excited to partner with such an important local organization to help raise funds that will go directly back into our local community,” said Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation President Lauren DePaso. “These are critical health issues that have impacted many of us at Churchill Downs and our community and we are proud to support them on Oaks Day through our partnership with Norton Cancer Institute.”

Steve Sexton Passes Away

Former Churchill Downs Racetrack President (2002-2009) Steve Sexton has passed away at the age of 57 from brain cancer. stebe

“He was one of the greatest racing executives of all time,” said Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen. “Just one example was a few years ago the disabled jockeys were in danger of losing funding. He knew there were 50 riders who needed that help. Steve personally got involved. He made it his mission to make sure the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund was properly funded.

“A lot of things would come up where Steve would be the first guy to step up and do everything he could. He was always that guy.”

Following his run as President, Sexton took over the entertainment division at Churchill Downs Inc., where he was the overseer of a $121 million facility rebuild project.

“All in the Churchill Downs Incorporated family are deeply saddened by the passing of former Churchill Downs racetrack president Steve Sexton, and our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Kim; son Taylor; daughter, Kalli, and his family and friends during this difficult time,” said Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen. “Steve led Churchill Downs during key years of change for both the institution and the Kentucky Derby. He also tirelessly served the Louisville community through membership on the boards of several community organizations. Along with his deep experience in horse racing and race track management, Steve brought enthusiasm and boundless energy to everything he touched at Churchill Downs. Today is a very sad day for all of us at Churchill Downs and Steve will be greatly missed.”

Sexton, a Topeka, Kansas native and Claremont McKenna College graduate, recently served as a managing partner at HKS Sports and Entertainment’s subsidiary LOGE.

Churchill Downs Announces Renovations

Churchill Downs announced on November 17 plans for a $37 million capital project. The upgrades will create over 1,800 new seats and should be unveiled in time for the 2018 Kentucky Derby day. The new seats will be made up of interior dining tables, third-floor Grandstand seats, and luxury suites. church

Dubbed the “Starting Gate Suites capital project”, the new renovations will take up 77,250 square feet of be space located at the north end of the 147-acre Churchill Downs facility. It will be adjacent to the 2003-built Jockey Club Suites and will feature individual suites located on three floors.

Indoor lounge seating, private balconies, and a bar will be included in the new luxury suites. You will also get a view of the Kentucky Derby start. Each new level will include 24 eight-top tables and 576 seats in total and there will be 110 new Grandstand seats on the third floor.

“The Starting Gate Suites project is our next step in the company’s ongoing efforts to improve and enhance the facilities and the customer experience at Churchill Downs,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “The demand for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks tickets remains extraordinary with the number of reserved seating requests vastly exceeding our available inventory on an annual basis. This sweeping new addition will be a terrific benefit to our facility on many levels.”

Construction on the Starting Gates Suite will start in January and will end before the 2017 Spring Meet starts on April 29. Once the Kentucky Derby ends steel will be erected.

bad weather is bad business

Bad Weather Means Bad Business

Bad weather can certainly mean bad business for horse racing. Severe thunderstorms in Kentucky forced Churchill Downs to cancel their twilight meet on June 23rd after completing seven of the races on the program. Racing has resumed at the prestigious track on Friday beginning at 12:45pm earlier today.

Churchill Downs acknowledged that the bad weather forced them to make a swift decision. “With the safety of the equine and human athletes in mind, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards, in conjunction with track officials, made the decision to cancel the race at post time.”

This is the first time an event at Churchill Downs has been cancelled since the track was frozen in November 2014. The spring meet seldom runs in to problems with inclement weather having last terminated a session due to insanely hot heat waves in 2012.

You certainly can’t predict the weather, but it seems to be having more of an impact on the sport than in usual seasons. The Preakness Stakes was notably drenched, making it an ideal slopfest for Exaggerator while curtailing the Triple Crown hopes of Nyquist.

Most recently, Del Mar Racetrack on the west coast had to cancel a handful of races through their spring session due to bad weather as well. This has led to a serious drop off in handle, which has subsequently led to Del Mar decreasing the overnight purses for their summer meet.

“The reasoning is, we can only pay out what we generate from handle,” said Tom Robbins of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “We’ve paid out, in the last two years, a little more than we’ve generated. This is not only set by us, but also the owners.”

Del Mar is facing some financial problems largely due to the fact that they lack the same casino revenue that other tracks do. “We’re still paying more. You can’t compare us with New York or other states that have the benefits of slots or casinos,” Robbins continued in defence of his track’s profits. “We’re doing it the old-fashioned way.”

Churchill Downs Busy Spot for Final Derby Workouts

This weekend was targeted by many trainers preparing their horses for the upcoming Kentucky Derby (gr. I) on May 7th to be their final workout before the big show. However, potential rain in the forecast put a damper on those plans, and trainers instead opted to get their workouts at Churchill Downs in today.

Below you can view each horse’s fractional splits and gallop times from today:

Destin — five furlongs — :12 3/5, :24 4/5, :37 2/5, :49 3/5 — six furlongs galloped in a time of 1:14 1/5, seven furlongs in a time of 1:27.

Discreetness — five furlongs — :11 4/5, :23 3/5, :35 4/5, :47 4/5 — six furlongs galloped in a time of 1:15 1/5.

Fellowship — four furlongs — :12 1/5, :23 3/5, :35 — five furlongs galloped in a time of 1:00.

Majesto — five furlongs — 12 4/5, :24 4/5, :36 4/5 — six furlongs galloped in a time of 1:!5, seven furlongs in a time of 1:28 3/5.

Mohaymen — four furlongs — :12 3/5, :23 4/5, :35 2/5 — galloped five furlongs in a time of 1:00 4/5.

Mo Tom — four furlongs — :12 1/5, :24 2/5, :36 3/5 — galloped five furlongs in a time of 1:02 1/5, six furlongs in a time of 1:15 2/5.

My Man Sam — four furlongs — :13, :25 3/5, :37 4/5 — galloped five furlongs in a time of 1:02 1/5, six furlongs in a time of 1:14 4/5.

Outwork — five furlongs — 13 1/5, :37 2/5 — galloped six furlongs in a time of 1:00 1/5.

Tom’s Ready — five furlongs — :23 4/5, :36 — galloped six furlongs in at time of 1:3 1/5, seven furlongs in a time of 1:27 1/5.

Whitmore — five furlongs — :12 2/5, :24, :35 3/5, :48 — galloped six furlongs in a time of 1:14.

Churchill Downs and Fanatics Strike Partnership

Yesterday a multi-year partnership between Churchill Downs and Fanatics was announced that will grant the sports merchandise company exclusive rights to the Kentucky Derby’s on-site and online retail sales divisions. The deal will commence this year.

“Churchill Downs is thrilled to partner with Fanatics, who delivers impressive and diverse product offerings along with a shopper-friendly experience,” said Churchill Downs Vice President of Partnerships Kristin Warfield via a press release. “We believe our fans will truly benefit from Fanatics’ seamless online purchasing technology and their fresh perspective to enhancing our on-site sales over Kentucky Derby week, which lured a record 365,000 attendees in 2015.”

Fanatics plans to increase on-site footprint at Churchill Downs through adding more retail locations around the track, and they will also expand the Kentucky Derby merchandise selection patrons can purchase. The merchandising company will create a “seamless, synchronized shopping experience across online, mobile, and on-site retail locations for all horseracing fans.”

The deal struck between Churchill Downs and Fanatics will also grant Fanatics permission to create Kentucky Derby themed apparel and collectibles.

“We are thrilled to partner with one of sports’ most prestigious events,” said Fanatics Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development Brian Swallow. “Our tech and manufacturing expertise makes us uniquely qualified to create an enhanced, omnichannel retail experience for Kentucky Derby fans whether at home, on the go, or at the track during the first weekend in May.”

Fanatics currently powers e-commerce business for media sites, all professional sports leagues, and numerous collegiate and professional sports teams.

TS Raises Bar For Kentucky Derby Betting

TwinSpires.com has announced a new Kentucky Derby Betting Championship that will debut next year on May 6-7, 2016 for the marquee race at Churchill Downs. The big prize is sure to lure many to the contest, with a $250,000 pot being put up for grabs. It’s certainly a bold, and exciting, move for the primary wagering outlet at Churchill Downs.

TwinSpires has crafted a bold Kentucky Derby betting contest
Do you want a shot at $250,000? TwinSpires just gave it to you.

Players will need to buy-in to the contest with a $20,000 entry fee. That fee is broken up in to two parts, with $5,000 going towards the enormous prize pool and the other $15,000 serving as the player’s wagering balance. Each player must wager at least a minimum of $1,200 on the Friday events and $1,800 during Saturday’s races. Win, place, show, exacta and trifecta bets is counted towards your action.

Not only will participants have a chance at winning the quarter-million dollar prize, they’ll also receive three entries in to the National Handicapping Championship and the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. On top of that, you get to keep all of your tournament winnings regardless of the result of the contest.

TwinSpires has also opened registration for players with a deposit of $1,000. This reserves your spot for the Kentucky Derby Betting Championship and also enters you in to a side draw for a $24,000 prize, which breaks down in to $20,000 for the contest itself plus a $4,000 travel allowance. You can reserve your spot at by visiting the KentuckyDerbyBettingChampionship.com right now. The winner for the early bird contest will be selected January 2nd. What a great way to ring in the New Year.

The Kentucky Derby already draws the largest handle of any American Thoroughbred race. Churchill Downs Racetrack President, Kevin Flanery, was obviously ecstatic that his track was able to secure another way for players to enjoy the action on the first leg of the Triple Crown. “This opportunity is a result of our great partnership with TwinSpires.com, and we’re thrilled at the chance to host and entertain this group of top horseplayers at the home of America’s greatest race.”