User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Churchill Downs spring opens Saturday

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Next weekend's 140th Kentucky Derby is the marquee event of Churchill Downs' spring meet, but there are plenty of attractive races around it.

Advertisement
The meet opens Saturday night with the $150,000 Grade 3 Derby Trial, the first of 24 stakes races worth $7.6 million. As always, the track's cornerstone races are the Kentucky Oaks for fillies next Friday, followed by the Derby on May 3.

Right now, the Derby is the focus with several contenders expected to arrive the next few days. The likely favorite, Santa Anita Derby winner California Chrome, is set to come in on Monday.

''He's coming into the Derby perfect, the way I would like for him to be,'' California Chrome trainer Art Sherman said.

Wood Memorial winner Wicked Strong is expected late Saturday by van from New York. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said he opted for ground transportation because the colt hasn't been on a plane.

Trainer Todd Pletcher's foursome of Danza, Intense Holiday, We Miss Artie and Vinceremos have arrived and are expected to work Sunday.

Although the Trial offers no points, there is plenty of Derby intrigue.

Trainer Bob Baffert entered Chitu, who is safely in the Derby field with 54 points, and Bayern, on the bubble with 20. Chitu is likely to scratch, work on Sunday, and then enter the Derby.

But if Bayern wins the Trial, he will pass Harry's Holiday and Vinceremos in earnings to move into the Derby field.

As those scenarios unfold, opening night will unveil some new additions.

Fans will get their first view of the Big Board, a 15,224 square-foot LED screen facing the grandstand. Larry Collmus will also begin calling the races under the Twin Spires after working for Gulfstream Park and serving as the voice of NBC's Breeders' Cup and Triple Crown race coverage. Collmus takes over for Mark Johnson.

In all, six Grade 1 events are scheduled during the meet and are likely to feature some of the country's top horses.

The top stakes race for older horses, the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap, is June 14 and one of three night racing cards. Churchill's other ''Downs After Dark'' events are June 20 and 27.

The $300,000 Grade 2 Alysheba on May 2 could mark the return of last year's Clark Handicap winner, Will Take Charge, to Churchill Downs. The $500,000 Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic is expected to draw defending two-time Horse of the Year, Wise Dan.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Dempsey: At the Gate - Thursday
Stars Above Me wins Coronation Cup
Churchill Downs, Saratoga close to deal
Father Patrick favorite for Hambletonian
Bayern wins Haskell Invitational
Big Macher scores upset in Bing Crosby
Fed Biz posts win at San Diego Handicap
Del Mar moves two turf races after deaths
Wicked Strong wins Saratoga's Jim Dandy
MORE HEADLINES
 
  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Mike Dempsey
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby,  winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike’s Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike each day with daily picks from Aqueduct or you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Jerry Sessa
Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.

Jerry's is looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry everyday with daily picks from Aqueduct and Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $14.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!