Race 6 – POST Time – 7:25 PM ET

Free Churchill Picks 4-3-6

#4 Sounion (4-1)-has a win and two thirds from his four starts here. He is coming off a second against a good allowance field at Ellis last out while coming off a 3 month layoff. He needed that one and we will try to upset the big 6-5 favorite.

#3 Bears Watching (6-5)-missed by less than a length in his debut then came back and drew off to win by 8. He is coming off a 6 month layoff but trainer is hitting at 22% with his runners coming off a break and he will have this colt ready to go.

#6 Mr Sippi (6-1)-broke his maiden by 5 over his track three starts back. He had a bad start last out and did not fire against a tougher allowance field at Saratoga. He runs for 20% winning trainer and could help our payoffs.

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The twin spires atop the grandstands are the most recognizable architectural feature of Churchill Downs and are used as a symbol of the track and the Derby. They were designed by architect Joseph Dominic Baldez and built in 1895. Today, Churchill Downs covers 147 acres (59 ha). The usual number of people seated at the derby is 50,000 people, though crowds can reach over 150,000 on Derby day. The dirt oval main track, on which the Derby is run, is one mile (1.6 km) in circumference and is 79–80 feet (24.1–24.4 m) wide, with a 120-foot-wide (37 m) section for the starting gate. A turf track, inside the main track, is 78 mile (1.4 km) in circumference and 80-foot (24 m) wide. Get Free Churchill Downs picks.

From 2001 to 2005, Churchill Downs underwent a three-and-a-half year, $121 million renovation. The clubhouse was replaced, 79 luxury suites were added, and the historic twin spires were refurbished. One of the additions in the clubhouse was a 36-foot (11 m) mural by Pierre Bellocq depicting all 96 jockeys to win the Kentucky Derby from 1875 to 2004. In summer 2008 the same artist added another mural depicting all of the trainers and updating the Jockey’s painting, adding Calvin Borel and Edgar Prado to it. These updates are done yearly to accommodate new winning trainers and jockeys. The new design has been somewhat controversial since the new suites block full view of the spires from most angles.[12]

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Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup eight times during the fall meet

Racing at Churchill Downs occurs in three meets though for the majority of its existence there were only two meets per year. The spring meet starts one week before the Derby and continues until early July. The Kentucky Derby is held the first Saturday in May and the Kentucky Oaks is run on the Friday before the Derby. A fall meet picks up in late October and closes Thanksgiving weekend in late November. A third meet in September was added in 2013. Get free Churchill Downs Picks every race day.

History

The track is named for John and Henry Churchill, who leased 80 acres (32 ha) of land to their nephew, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. (grandson of explorer William Clark). Clark was president of the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association, which formed in 1875. His father-in-law, Richard Ten Broeck, was an accomplished horse breeder and trainer, and introduced Clark to horse racing, attending the English Derby at Epsom Downs outside London.

Churchill Downs filled a void in Louisville left by the closing of Oakland and Woodlawn, two earlier race courses. The then-rural location was along Louisville and Nashville Railroad tracks, allowing for easy transport of horses. Clark, who preferred longer races to the relatively short ones that had become popular by the 1890s, was running short of funds, and in 1894 sold the track to a syndicate led by William E. Applegate.[5] The new ownership would soon institute many changes, such as commissioning the famous twin spire grandstand in 1895, shortening the length of the signature race to its modern 1+14 miles (2.0 km) in 1896, and adorning the winner of the

Derby with a garland of roses, a tradition that also began in 1896.[6]

Gulf Oil executive and noted horse-racing enthusiast Willard F. Jones (second from left) in the stands as they were in 1951

In early 1902, Applegate, who had made his fortune as a bookmaker, turned over the day-to-day operation of the track to Charles F. Grainger, then the mayor of Louisville, in an effort to move Churchill Downs away from being primarily known for gambling. Among the new people Applegate brought on board to help him run the rack was Col. Matt Winn of Louisville. Churchill Downs prospered and the Kentucky Derby then became the preeminent stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses in North America.

During that early period, a new clubhouse was built in order to promote social interaction, and new events such as steeplechases, automobile races, and band concerts were held at the track. The State Fair was held on the grounds, featuring the odd spectacle of two locomotives being intentionally crashed head-on in the infield.

University of Louisville Marching Band in the foreground—during the 2006 Kentucky Derby

On June 5, 1907, African American jockey James Lee set a record that has never been beaten when he won the entire six-race card at Churchill Downs.

In 1908, parimutuel betting machines were introduced as gambling began to be less controversial again, and the wagering portion of the track’s business became more profitable.

Churchill Downs was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

On Friday, June 19, 2009, Churchill Downs hosted its first-ever night race with an attendance of over 27,000.

Churchill Downs ventured into the music business, organizing the inaugural HullabaLOU Music Festival, held on the weekend of July 23–25, 2010. The track had planned to make this an annual event to compete with other summer music festivals. HullabaLOU attracted 78,000 people but that fell short of the more than 100,000 expected by the company. The company attributed this to the brutal heat, but others cited high ticket prices in a poor economy. The entertainment division lost more than $5 million int its first year and was discontinued.[7]

On Wednesday, June 22, 2011, an EF2 tornado hit the Louisville area, striking the stables and chapel at Churchill Downs, at EF1 intensity.[8] Several stables were badly damaged, as was the chapel. Over 200 horses had to be evacuated from the damaged stables and be relocated to other stables that were not damaged by the tornado. The tornado did not cause any damage to the twin spires or the clubhouse.[9]

Thurby is a portmanteau for Thursday plus Derby, and this name for the Thursday racing in Derby week has been recognized by Churchill Downs since 2014.[10]

Wagering 101

Win-Place-Show Bets

Betting on horse racing can be fun and easy. There are several different wagers offered each race, but these are the three most basic:

  • The first is a “win” wager. Betting a horse to win is just as fun as it sounds – the horse must win the race in order for you to win the wager.
  • Next, is a “place” wager. This is betting on a horse to finish in the top 2. You win the wager if your horse finishes first or second.
  • Betting a horse to “show” means selecting a horse who you think will finish in the top 3. You win the wager if your horse finishes first, second, or third.

Because of the difficulty of a win wager, it will yield the highest payoff of these three wagers. A show wager will yield the lowest payoff but offers the greatest chance of winning.

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The minimum bet for a win, place or show wager is only $2.

Exacta Bets

If you’ve mastered the art of win, place and show wagers, try an exacta. An exacta is more difficult than win, place and show wagers, but yields a higher payout. You bet an exacta by selecting a minimum two horses to finish first and second. These horses must finish first and second, in that order, for you to win the wager.

If picking two horses in order sounds too difficult, you can “box” your wager. A boxed wager will win if your horses finish 1st and 2nd, in any order, making it more likely for you to win.

The minimum bet for an exacta or exacta box wager is only $2.

Trifecta Bets

If you’ve mastered the art of win, place and show wagers, try a trifecta. A trifecta is more difficult than win, place and show wagers, as well as exacta wagers, so it yields a higher payout than any of those bets.

You bet a trifecta by selecting a minimum three horses to finish first, second, and third. These horses must finish first, second, and third, in that exact order, for you to win the wager.

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If picking three horses in order sounds too difficult you can “box” your wager. A boxed trifecta wager will win if your horses finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, in any order, making it more likely to win.

The minimum bet for a trifecta wager is only 50 cents and you can bet a trifecta box for as little as $3.

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If you’re a beginning bettor you probably want to place your bets at a mutuel window with a live mutuel teller before using self-service betting machines and mobile applications. Here’s what you should do when you get to the betting window:

  1. Have your money in hand, so that once you’re at the counter, you’re ready to make your bet
  2. State the track’s name
  3. State the race number you are betting on
  4. State the amount of money you are betting
  5. Say the type of bet you are placing
  6. Finally, state the horse’s program number

It should sound something like this, “Churchill Downs, Race 11, $2 to win on #4.” After you’ve handed the teller your money, make sure you take your betting ticket and store it in a safe, or lucky, place. If your bet wins, you’ll need to return to the betting window and give the teller your ticket to collect your winnings.

Wagers have different bet minimums. You can make a wager for as little as ten cents ($0.10) playing the Superfecta or $1 for a Win bet. Although these are the minimums, many guests wager more and $5, and $10 Win bets are quite common. NYRA also has designated windows for guests wagering a minimum of $50 per wager. Get Free Churchill Downs Picks every race day!

  • State the NAME of the track.
  • State the RACE NUMBER.
  • State the AMOUNT of the bet.
  • State the TYPE of bet.
  • State the NUMBER of the horse.
  • Example: “Belmont, 4th race, $10 to Win on 5.”

The track handicapper sets the morning line, which are the odds he believes the horses will be at post time. As money is wagered, the odds change continuously until post time, and are determined by the amount of money wagered on each horse.

Wagering at all NYRA tracks closes when the starting gate opens. Final odds cannot be posted until the race is in progress. There is a slight delay due to the high volume of last-minute wagering at simulcast sites across the nation as final odds are calculated by the totalisator system. No wagering site has the capability to accept bets after the start of any NYRA race.

The Internal Revenue Service requires reporting of payouts on wagers or group of identical wagers that exceed odds of 300 to 1 and pay in excess of $600. IRS regulations also require automatic 24% withholding on payouts that exceed $5,000. Please note that for non-US residents, IRS regulations require automatic withholding of 30% on wagers that exceed odds of 300 to 1 and pay in excess of $600. Windows designated for IRS winning tickets are located on all floors. Patrons must present a picture ID (driver’s license or non-driver’s state ID, federal, state, or city ID, passport, or NYRA ID).