Turfway Park and the Kentucky HBPA are teaming up March 3 for Happy Hour Handicapping, an interactive event where people who love racing, horses or just a good time can learn the basics of playing the races and take a first look at Kentucky Derby contenders.
The free event is part of that week’s Rockin’ Dollar Friday at Turfway, featuring live racing, one-dollar draft beer, hot dogs and bets as well as live music. Happy Hour Handicapping will begin on Turfway’s third floor at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 45 minutes after the first race, and conclude an hour before the popular band DV8 takes the stage at 9:30 p.m.
Mike Battaglia, Turfway associate vice president and Kentucky Derby oddsmaker, who last year retired from the Turfway announcer’s booth after 43 years, and award-winning turf writer Jennie Rees will share simple handicapping strategies for those new to betting on races. Battaglia and Rees also will discuss their top picks for the Kentucky Derby and its Turfway preps: the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on March 4 and the $500,000 Grade 3 JACK Cincinnati Casino Spiral Stakes on March 25.
Those who attend Happy Hour Handicapping will receive free general admission to the showcase Spiral card, also featuring the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks, a prep for the Kentucky Oaks.
“We are always looking for ways to team with our track partners to promote horse racing,” said Martin Maline, executive director of the Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents about 6,000 owners and trainers racing in the Commonwealth. “Those who come to Turfway primarily for the band can learn simple techniques for handicapping that will enhance their trip to the track. Plus, it’s never too early to decide who you like for the Derby.”
“It’s fun to be at the races, and the excitement increases as you learn how to pick horses,” said Turfway general manager Chip Bach. “Mike and Jennie will share their knowledge in a casual, fun environment. We look forward to all of our participants then joining us for the Spiral to see who earns a coveted spot in the Kentucky Derby this year.”
Happy Hour Handicapping also includes drawings for prizes, including tickets to the Spiral’s VIP tent; a Woodford Reserve 2016 Kentucky Derby commemorative bottle featuring the work of equine artist Thomas Allen Pauly; a print of Pauly’s bottle painting; reserved seats at Keeneland’s spring meet; racing-themed merchandise from All Pro Championships; and 13” X 19” prints of the 2015 Eclipse Award-winning photo taken by Courier-Journal photographer Michael Clevenger just after Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and jockey Victor Espinoza crossed the finish line of their historic Belmont Stakes.