05/01/2013 12:54PM

Churchill Downs notes: Trackside not a Kentucky Derby option this year


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - This is the first time in many years that the nearby Trackside simulcast annex will not be open for fans wishing to avoid the hassles of attending the Oaks and Derby at Churchill. It was announced in March that the facility was being shuttered after becoming too expensive and troublesome to maintain for just a handful of business days per year.

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The number of people, many of them locals, who opted for Trackside in prior years was not insignificant. From 2007 to 2010, Churchill reported, nearly 10,000 patrons per year came to Trackside on Derby Day, although many of those customers would place bets and then leave to watch the races elsewhere.

Churchill spokesman Darren Rogers said track officials are unsure what those people would do this year, although the logical assumption is that some will attend at Churchill, some will place bets through account-wagering platforms, and others will participate (or not) in other ways.

Trackside, with a six-furlong dirt oval, is still used as a training facility. The track originally was the Louisville Downs harness track until being bought by Churchill in the early 1990s and converted into a combination simulcast and training facility.

Saddletowel colors

Fans are accustomed to the color-coded saddletowels that have made race-watching easier through the years, with No. 1 being red with a white numeral, No. 2 white with a black numeral, and so forth.

Even Nos. 15 through 20 – not normally used in everyday competition – have become somewhat familiar to veteran Kentucky Derby watchers, especially after a handful of recent winners sported those bigger numbers, such as Smarty Jones (2004) as No. 15 (khaki with black), Big Brown (2008) as No. 20 (fuschia with yellow), and I’ll Have Another (2012) as No. 19 (denim with red).

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With an also-eligibles list now being used for the Derby, here are the towel colors that correspond to those positions: No. 21, lavender with navy; No. 22, postal blue with white; No.  23, seafoam with dark green; and No. 24, olive with white.

◗ At around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, UAE Derby winner Lines of Battle arrived from Ireland. He is expected to be released from quarantine in time to train Friday.