(from Churchill Downs release)
Jill Byrne, television racing analyst for Churchill Downs and the cable racing network TVG, has joined Churchill Downs on a full-time basis as director of on-air racing communications.
In her new position, Byrne will continue to serve as Churchill’s primary racing analyst on its daily live racing simulcast program, during which she offers commentary on all of the track’s races along with announcer/commentator Mark Johnson. Byrne will play an expanded role in providing video and print Web content for the official sites for Churchill Downs (www.churchilldowns.com) and the Kentucky Derby (www.kentuckyderby.com), and in programming offered on TwinSpiresTV, the video interface for TwinSpires.com, the official advance-deposit wagering service for Churchill Downs Incorporated and its family of racetracks (www.twinspires.com).
Byrne has served as Churchill Downs’ racing analyst since April 2008, when she succeeded longtime simulcast host and former announcer Mike Battaglia in that role. Prior to joining Churchill Downs on a full-time basis, Byrne worked as an in-studio and on-site analyst and reporter for Television Games Network.
She currently serves as the weekly host for Churchill Downs’ “Get in the Game” handicapping seminars, in which she interviews special guests while discussing the track’s races on Saturdays. Byrne is also co-host, with track vice president John Asher, of “Churchill Downs Today,” a handicapping show that airs live at 11 a.m. (EDT) during most racing days.
Byrne is an accomplished horsewoman who worked with her husband, trainer Patrick Byrne. She launched her career in the Thoroughbred industry as an exercise rider and assistant to her father, Peter Howe, a noted show rider and Thoroughbred trainer who conditioned two Eclipse Award winners. She also worked for Hall of Fame trainer Scotty Schulhofer.