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Jan 15, 2010

Getting things ready for 136th Kentucky Derby

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor



Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Even though live racing at Churchill Downs doesn't resume until April 24, the historic track in Louisville is diligently preparing for the first Saturday in May.

As an appetizer to get people in the mood for the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs and NBC Sports are teaming to televise six prep races over three consecutive Saturdays.

On March 27, USA Network will present the Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans and the Lane's End Stakes from Turfway Park in Kentucky.

The following week on NBC, the Santa Anita Derby and the Wood Memorial will be broadcast. The Wood Memorial is conducted at Aqueduct Race Track in New York.

Three weeks prior to the Run for the Roses on NBC will be the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland in Lexington and the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

"The shared vision of Churchill Downs and NBC Sports' successful "Big Event Strategy" led to the 2009 Kentucky Derby being the most viewed Derby in two decades with a more than 26 percent increase in viewers since the strategy was launched in 2007," the press release noted. "Each of the three, one-hour "Road to the Kentucky Derby" broadcasts will feature stakes races and handicapping segments in addition to lifestyle elements designed to broaden the audience for these races and to drive viewership of the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown."

As part of the lead up to the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs will again offer three separate Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools. This year's pools will each be three days in duration, unlike the four days in previous years.

Wagering commences at noon (12 P.M. et) on the first day, Friday, of each pool availability and conclude 6 P.M. (et) on Sunday. Exacta wagering will be offered during all three pools this year. Last year, the first for exacta betting. only the last two pools had the exotic feature.

"Last year's results proved just how unpredictable and exciting the Kentucky Derby Future Wagers can be," said track president Kevin Flanery, "as Mine That Bird, a 50-1 longshot winner on Derby Day, returned a winning payout as an 'all others' wager in all three Derby pools.

"Exacta wagering was a welcomed addition to the Derby Future pools last year, and we think the shorter three-day future pools we've scheduled for 2010 for both wagers will sharpen the focus of our players, generate new excitement and add to the fun of betting experiences."

Down at Gulfstream Park, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies champ She Be Wild is in training for her 2010 campaign. After last year's historic season by Rachel Alexandra, three-year-old fillies have emerged from the shadow of the colts and geldings.

"The goal for her (She Be Wild) is the Ashland at Keeneland (April 3) and the (Kentucky) Oaks (Churchill Downs on April 30)," said trainer Wayne Catalano. "We'll get her started here. There are several options next month on the main track or possibly turf."

She Be Wild is the winner of four of her five career starts with better than $1.3 million in earnings. After breaking her maiden at first try, she won the Top Flight Stakes at Arlington Park followed by a win in the Arlington- Washington Lassie Stakes.

Owned by Nancy Mazzoni, She Be Wild went to Keeneland where she was second in the Alcibiades Stakes before winning the Juvenile Fillies at 7-1.

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