LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs will move the post draws for the 150th Kentucky Derby and Oaks to one full week before horse racing’s marquee event on May 4, a switch intended to provide better handicapping information for bettors and have entries on site earlier.
Darren Rogers, senior director of communications and media services for the historic track, confirmed the decision first reported by the Courier Journal of Louisville. Draws for the 20-horse Derby and 14-filly Kentucky Oaks, run the day before, had been held on the preceding Monday the past two years.
Both past draws will now be held between races on the April 27 opening night of the spring meet, with a Thursday release stating that they will be open to the public.
“We’ve always believed that the earlier bettors have the information in their hands, the more handicapping they do,” Rogers said in a phone interview. "We’ve seen positive betting results the last several years here, but in particular the last two years with the betting.”
The draw’s move is also the same day entries are required to be on the grounds ahead of the $5 million, Grade 1 thoroughbred race for 3-year-olds. Horses previously had to be at the track on Monday. Rogers noted that the change provides two additional days at Churchill Downs for horses to be monitored and observed around the clock by veterinarians from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the track.
Churchill Downs will also unveil its $200 million renovation of the paddock area. The track’s 43-day spring meet runs through June 30.
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