Expert Picks

Joe Kristufek

Churchill Downs' paddock host Joe Kristufek began his career in his native Chicago, climbing the ladder at the local racing venues. A self proclaimed "horse racing ambassador", Joe's industry experience spans from Dubai to Hong Kong to more than 30 tracks across North America. An award winning TV producer and fan development specialist, Joe is the morning-line odds maker at several tracks, including Arlington Park. From the infield to the suites and now the paddock, Joe has attended 12 Kentucky Derbies in person and he relishes of the challenge of scouting the nation's top 3-year-olds.

Derby
  1. Always Dreaming
  2. McCraken
  3. Classic Empire
  4. Irish War Cry
  5. Hence 
  6. Tapwrit
  7. Practical Joke
  8. State of Honor
  9. Gunnevera 
  10. Lookin At Lee
Oaks
  1. Paradise Woods
  2. Miss Sky Warrior 
  3. Abel Tasman
  4. Salty
  5. Farrell
  6. Vexatious 
  7. Ever So Clever
  8. Daddys Lil Darling
  9. Sailor's Valentine
  10. Tequilita 
John Asher

John AsherAfter covering his first Kentucky Derby as a radio journalist in 1982, John Asher has not missed the “Run for the Roses” since that debut. He joined Churchill Downs in 1997 as a publicist and racing analyst, and moved to his current role as vice president of Racing Communications two years later. Before his arrival at Churchill Downs, Asher earned five media Eclipse Awards for Outstanding National Radio Coverage of Thoroughbred Racing at Louisville radio stations WHAS and WAVG. When he served as Churchill Downs’ on-air TV host and analyst, the track was honored with the inaugural “National Simulcast Award” in 1997.

Derby
  1. McCraken
  2. Classic Empire
  3. Always Dreaming
  4. Irish War Cry
  5. Lookin At Lee
  6. Thunder Snow (IRE)
  7. Practical Joke
  8. Battle of Midway
  9. Gormley
  10. Girvin
Oaks
  1. Paradise Woods
  2. Salty 
  3. Farrell
  4. Miss Sky Warrior
  5. Abel Tasman
  6. Ever So Clever
  7. Tequilita
  8. Vexatious
  9. It Tiz Well
  10. Sailor's Valentine
Jill Byrne

Jill ByrneJill is the Director of Broadcast & Programming  at Churchill Downs.Jill manages the Churchill Simulcast shows, in venue Big Board production as well as content for the Road to Kentucky Derby series. Along with her production and on-air skills and top-notch racing analysis, Byrne is an accomplished horsewoman who worked in the development of 1997 Horse of the Year and juvenile champion Favorite Trick and Countess Diana, that year’s champion 2-year-old filly. She was also involved in the campaign of Awesome Again who defeated 1997 Kentucky Derby (GI) winner Silver Charm to win the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs in 1998.

Derby
  1. McCraken
  2. Girvin
  3. Irish War Cry
  4. Practical Joke
  5. Always Dreaming
  6. Classic Empire
  7. Gormley
  8. Battalion Runner
  9. Gunnevera
  10. Irap
Oaks
  1. Paradise Woods
  2. Farrell
  3. Abel Tasman
  4. Salty
  5. Benner Island
  6. Sailors Valentine
  7. Miss Sky Warrior
  8. Tequilita
  9. Lockdown
  10. Daddy's Lil Darling
Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosaEd DeRosa is director of marketing for Brisnet.com, the official data source of the Kentucky Derby and TwinSpires.com. Ed joined Churchill Downs Inc. in July 2011 following nine years as a writer and editor with Thoroughbred Times. He grew up in Cleveland and learned to love horse racing while going to Thistledown (now known as Jack Thistledown) with his grandfather. Before 2015, Ed had never seen a Triple Crown winner; he still hasn't seen an Indians World Championship. Ed's favorite horses are Real Quiet, Ghostzapper, and Rachel Alexandra.

Derby
  1. Classic Empire
  2. Irish War Cry
  3. Hence
  4. Practical Joke
  5. Battallion Runner
  6. Gunnevera
  7. State of Honor
  8. Battle of Midway
  9. McCraken
  10. Always Dreaming
Oaks
  1. Paradise Woods
  2. Abel Tasman
  3. Miss Sky Warrior
  4. Salty
  5. Daddy's Lil Darling
  6. Farrell
  7. Ever So Clever
  8. Benner Island
  9. Chanel's Legacy
  10. Tequilita
James Scully

James ScullyJames Scully writes/handicaps for Brisnet.com, TwinSpires.com and KentuckyDerby.com. He started working for Brisnet.com in 1998. A graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, James has been a lifelong University of Kentucky and Cincinnati Bengals/Reds fan. He remembers watching Seattle Slew on TV and attended his first Kentucky Derby in 1981 (Pleasant Colony).

Derby
  1. Always Dreaming
  2. Practical Joke
  3. McCraken
  4. Classic Empire
  5. Tapwrit
  6. Gunnevera
  7. Irish War Cry
  8. Hence
  9. Lookin at Lee
  10. State of Honor
Oaks
  1. Abel Tasman
  2. Paradise Woods
  3. Miss Sky Warrior
  4. Farrell
  5. Ever So Clever
  6. Daddy's Lil Darling
  7. Salty
  8. Sailor's Valentine
  9. Tequilita
  10. Lockdown
Kellie Reilly


Kellie Reilly, a staff writer in the Editorial Department at Brisnet.com, is a regular contributor to the TwinSpires.com blog and KentuckyDerby.com. Her articles have also been featured on NBCSports.com and in the official Kentucky Derby program. Kellie's academic background is in history, culminating in an M.A. from her hometown University of New Orleans. A racing fan since childhood, Kellie is especially interested in pedigrees and the international racing scene. 

Derby
  1. McCraken
  2. Irish War Cry
  3. Classic Empire
  4. Gunnevera
  5. Always Dreaming
  6. Hence
  7. Tapwrit
  8. Girvin
  9. Thunder Snow
  10. J Boys Echo
Oaks
  1. Farrell
  2. Paradise Woods
  3. Abel Tasman
  4. Salty
  5. Ever So Clever
  6. Daddys Lil Darling
  7. Vexatious
  8. Tequilita
  9. Miss Sky Warrior
  10. It Tiz Well

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