On Oaks Friday, WFPL’s State of the News headed to Churchill Downs to spend an hour talking about the big races ahead this weekend, and handicapping the races with professional insights from Mike Watchmaker from the Daily Racing Form and Ed DeRosa of brisnet.com.
In the first segment Rick Howlett spoke our experts about the general health of the horse racing industry, considered whether 20 horses is too many for a race, discussed the impact of large, loud crowds on the horses, track surfaces, and other general topics.
In segment two, our experts ran through the horses entered in the Derby to handicap their strengths, weaknesses, and recent performances. An early favorite in the Derby is Bodemeister (Watchmaker: “My concern is the quick three-week turnaround between his big win in the Arkansas Derby last time out and this race, and I wonder if he’s going to be able to produce a top performance with that turnaround”). They also spoke of another favorite, Union Rags (DeRosa: “Let’s face it, he had every chance to run past Hansen in the Breeder’s Cup and he didn’t do it”), and the other horses in the field.
Closer to the end of the show, our panel ran through the horses entered in the Kentucky Oaks running Friday afternoon.