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. McCraken
  2. Irish War Cry
  3. Classic Empire
  4. Mastery
  5. Gormley
  6. American Anthem
  7. El Areeb
  8. Practical Joke
  9. Battalion Runner
  10. Always Dreaming

Oaks

  1. Unique Bella
  2. Valadorna
  3. Elate
  4. Farrell
  5. Tapa Tapa Tapa
  6. My Sweet Stella
  7. Chanel's Legacy
  8. Tequilita
  9. Abel Tasman
  10. Jenda's Agenda

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. Mastery
  3. Classic Empire
  4. Irish War Cry
  5. Practical Joke
  6. Gunnevera
  7. Mo Town
  8. One Liner
  9. Gormley
  10. El Areeb

Oaks

  1. Unique Bella
  2. Valadorna
  3. Farrell
  4. Abel Tasman
  5. Mopotism
  6. Pretty City Dancer
  7. Tequilita
  8. Elate
  9. Tapa Tapa Tapa
  10. Nonna Bella

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. Mo Town
  3. American Anthem
  4. Mastery
  5. Battalion Runner
  6. Irish War Cry
  7. Practical Joke
  8. Classic Empire
  9. Lookin at Lee
  10. Tapwrit

Oaks

  1. Unique Bella
  2. Farrell
  3. Valadorna
  4. Elate
  5. Lockdown
  6. Fun
  7. Pretty City Dancer
  8. Chanel's Legacy
  9. Champagne Room
  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 last year, Ed had never seen a Triple Crown winner; he still hasn't seen a Cleveland sports championship. Ed's favorite horses are Real Quiet, Ghostzapper, and Rachel Alexandra.

Derby

  1. Classic Empire
  2. Irish War Cry
  3. Practical Joke
  4. American Anthem
  5. McCraken
  6. El Areeb
  7. Iliad
  8. Gormley
  9. Gunnevera
  10. Mo Town

Oaks

  1. Unique Bella
  2. Valadorna
  3. Pretty City Dancer
  4. Farrel
  5. It Tiz Well
  6. Delphinia
  7. Tequilita
  8. Tapa Tapa Tapa
  9. Elate
  10. Someday Soon

James Scully

James ScullyJames Scully is editor of the Handicapper's Edge and Bloodstock Journal daily newsletters at brisnet.com and was a panelist on the "Breeders' Cup Handicapping Summit" at Churchill Downs in 2010. A lifelong University of Kentucky fan, James attended his first Kentucky Derby in 1981 (Pleasant Colony).

Derby

  1. McCraken
  2. Irish War Cry
  3. El Areeb
  4. American Anthem
  5. Mastery
  6. Classic Empire
  7. Mo Town
  8. Gormley
  9. Iliad
  10. Practical Joke

Oaks

  1. Unique Bella
  2. Abel Tasman
  3. Valadorna
  4. Farrell
  5. American Gal
  6. Daddy's Lil Darling
  7. Pretty City Dancer
  8. Tapa Tapa Tapa
  9. Elate
  10. Champagne Room

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. Mastery
  4. Classic Empire
  5. El Areeb
  6. Theory
  7. American Anthem
  8. Mo Town
  9. Battalion Runner
  10. Gunnevera

Oaks

  1. Unique Bella
  2. New Money Honey
  3. Pretty City Dancer
  4. Farrell
  5. Valadorna
  6. Abel Tasman
  7. Elate
  8. Tequilita
  9. Chanel's Legacy
  10. Jenda's Agenda

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