Churchill Downs Incorporated launched the official 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) Web sites Wednesday. According to a release from the company, the new and improved sites offer "the most comprehensive coverage of the Run for the Roses" and its sister race, the Kentucky Oaks. This year's Derby will be held May 7 and the Oaks May 6.The sites feature exclusive articles, news updates, famous Derby stretch calls, Web cam views of the racetrack, videos of celebrities' Derby and Oaks selections and contender information, including past performance information as well as archived videos of Derby and Oaks prep races that fans can view free of charge."We set out to complement our site's unparalleled content with elements that would elicit the 'feel' of these very unique events," said Jeremy Borseth, CDI's director of Internet services. "The new sites, from the breathtaking multi-media homepage to the revamped Derby and Oaks experience sections, add a 'goose bump' factor that makes the Web sites that much closer to the real thing...We incorporated our customers' feedback and added rich media to deliver a more effective and enjoyable online customer experience. Fans are a single click away from a Derby and Oaks immersion that delivers the events' histories, free contests, the latest handicapping data, imagery and information on the many related festivities, and a storefront with official Derby and Oaks merchandise available for sale." Kentuckyderby.com and Kentuckyoaks.com information is presented in parallel formats featuring four major sections. The "coverage" portion features snapshots of race contenders, Derby or Oaks news, daily updates from around the racetrack – including on-site videos of morning workouts and trainer interviews – and real-time odds on the popular Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Future Wagers. Handicapping and wagering information and features will also appear here.The "history" segments give visitors a taste of Derby and Oaks lore with informative race timelines, a collection of charts and statistics from all 130 events, information on the winners' connections, and sections on African Americans and women that played prominent roles in the two races. The "experience" section includes photo galleries and information on the traditions associated with the races, including the Garland of Roses (and Lilies for the Oaks), Mint Juleps, Derby hats, the Twin Spires, the infield, Millionaire's Row and much more. Back this year are two popular online features – Web cams that give viewers a live peek inside Churchill Downs and the colorful Derby and Oaks Day festivities and streaming video of celebrities' Derby and Oaks picks. The site's fourth section is the online home of the "Derby Store," where officially licensed Kentucky Derby 131 and Kentucky Oaks 131 apparel and souvenirs are sold. Last year, Kentuckyderby.com site registered more than 1.4 million unique visitors on Derby Day, an increase of 70% from the number of unique visitors on Derby Day of 2003. These visitors accounted for more than 4.2 million page views on Derby day and over 11 million page views during Derby week.
Kentuckyderby.com and Kentuckyoaks.com are the official Web sites of their respective events and are owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated. As one of the world's premier sporting events and the first leg of horse racing's Visa Triple Crown Challenge, the Kentucky Derby traditionally take place on the first Saturday in May. The 131st running of this celebrated event is scheduled for May 7, 2005, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Approximately 150,000 people attend the Derby in person, with more than 20 million people tuning in via television and radio worldwide. The Kentucky Oaks is traditionally held the day prior to the Kentucky Derby and has an average attendance of approximately 100,000. The 131st running of the Oaks will be held on May 6, 2005.