Making a Case: The Media Personalities for the Fan Choice Awards

Pop Culture
From left to right: Nick Luck, Donna Brothers, and Maggie Wolfendale are among the finalists in the Best Racing Analyst category for the inaugural Fan Choice Awards. (Eclipse Sportswire, Eclipse Sportswire, NYRA photo)

America’s Best Racing’s inaugural Fan Choice Awards are currently underway, and fans of Thoroughbred racing have until Nov. 20 to get their votes in for a variety of categories, including two focusing on horse racing media.

Which analyst does the best job breaking down the sport for fans and horseplayers? What’s the best radio show or podcast?

Make your voice heard and vote here!

Here’s a breakdown of each category:

Best Racing Analyst

Eclipse Sportswire

Matt Bernier, TVG/NBC Sports

Bernier displays expert handicapping knowledge along with multimedia savvy in his jobs with TVG and NBC Sports. He first gained notoriety within the horse racing world through his appearances on the Esquire TV show “Horseplayers” and was one of Daily Racing Form’s main handicappers before his current gigs.

Simon Bray photo

Simon Bray, TVG

As a former trainer of Grade 1-winning horses, Englishman Bray brings an insight and an attention to detail to his analysis and handicapping that’s unique. He’s been a mainstay at TVG for 15 years, and has inspired countless racing fans with his own personal journey after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2015.

Eclipse Sportswire

Caton Bredar, TVG

Bredar’s presence on any broadcast boosts its gravitas, based on her years of experience in virtually all areas of the horse business. Racing fans know Kentucky Derby prep season is in full swing when they see Bredar reporting from the paddock each winter during Gulfstream Park’s Championship meet.

Eclipse Sportswire

Donna Brothers, NBC Sports

Brothers, the daughter of pioneering jockey Patti Barton and a former rider herself,  specializes in reporting pre- and post-race from on-track while on horseback. She’s been present for countless high points in the game over the past several years, as jockeys give their immediate, and often emotional, reactions following a big race.

Justin Sudberry photo

Britney Eurton, NBC Sports/TVG

Eurton, daughter of trainer Peter Eurton, is one of the sport’s best ambassadors in her jobs with NBC Sports and TVG. Her coverage of last summer’s Royal Ascot meet for NBC Sports brought a new perspective on the tradition-rich English racing event to U.S. fans.

Adam Coglianese/NYRA

Gabby Gaudet, TVG

Gaudet comes from a family steeped in racing, as her late father, Eddie, and her mother, Linda, were both accomplished trainers and her sister Lacey has also found success in that profession. That broad expertise shows in her analysis at the NYRA tracks, Gulfstream, and at Keeneland (where she recently wrapped up an on-site job at their October meet by picking several longshot winners).

Keeneland photo

Scott Hazelton, TVG

Hazelton moved his broadcasting tack, so to speak, from HRTV to TVG after the latter network acquired the former, and has kept up the concise, insightful analysis he’s been known for ever since. The son of the late Richard Hazleton, a successful trainer for more than 50 years on the Midwest circuit, Scott recently teamed with Gabby Gaudet for in-depth on-site coverage during Keeneland’s fall meet.

Eclipse Sportswire

Jonathon Kinchen, Fox Sports/NYRA

After climbing the pinnacle of horseplaying achievement by finishing first in the 2015 NHC Tour Championship, Kinchen has made a successful transition into broadcasting on NYRA and Fox Sports’ “America’s Day at the Races” and “Saratoga Live” programs. He’s got a particular knack for breaking down complex multi-race bets into language the casual fan can understand, and in explaining how to locate longshots by analyzing past performances.

Eclipse Sportswire

Joe Kristufek, Churchill Downs

Attending the races in person at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds in recent years means getting consistent, added value from Kristufek’s analysis on a race-by-race basis. The Chicago native and former ABR contributor also exudes a passion for the game and a commitment to fan education that go above and beyond mere handicapping.

Eclipse Sportswire

Nick Luck, NBC Sports

No current analyst bridges the trans-Atlantic divide better than Luck, whose stateside profile continues to rise as he takes on additional duties with NBC Sports. The Englishman and award-winning broadcaster with Channel 4 Racing and other outlets in his home country was an integral part of NBC Sports’ Royal Ascot coverage last summer and has been especially valuable giving the lowdown on European shippers at recent Breeders’ Cups.

Eclipse Sportswire

Randy Moss, NBC Sports

The lead analyst for NBC’s Road to the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup coverage makes it seem like he’s been studying the program’s past performances ever since childhood … and that’s because he has. Moss earned raves as a teenage prodigy picking winners at his home track of Oaklawn Park, and that lifelong knowledge of and devotion to the sport informs his work with NBC’s award-winning team.

Eclipse Sportswire

Jay Privman, Daily Racing Form

Privman began writing for Daily Racing Form in 1998 as their Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup correspondent after stints with several other newspapers. His weekly update on Derby contenders in DRF is a must-read for fans and horseplayers every spring as the prep season builds up momentum.

Eclipse Sportswire

Andy Serling, Fox Sports/NYRA

An expert in Empire State racing, Serling is the go-to guy for analysis at every NYRA track, from the most humble claiming contest to the Travers. His opinionated rapport with fellow talking heads on “America’s Day at the Races” and “Saratoga Live” brings a welcome dose of humor to the broadcasts.

Eclipse Sportswire

Maggie Wolfendale, Fox Sports/NYRA

Racing coverage at Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct would be incomplete without Wolfendale’s paddock analysis. The daughter of trainer Howard Wolfendale, Maggie has been with NYRA since 2010 and provides a level of insight that transcends mere handicapping by relaying, with an expert’s eye, each horse’s physical fitness and mental makeup as they prepare to race.

Best Racing Radio Show or Podcast

ABR’s The Winner’s Circle with Bram Weinstein

The Winner’s Circle airs Saturdays during Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup seasons and mixes racing coverage with pop culture in an entertaining podcast. Featured guests during 2019 included John Velazquez, Mark Casse, Julie Krone, Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino, and ESPN’s Hannah Storm.

At the Races with Steve Byk

Byk has been doing his own radio show since 2007 and it’s one of the most popular ones of the genre. Every racing figure imaginable has guested, and his show touches on topics from all areas of the industry.

Down the Stretch with Bill Finley and Dave Johnson

Down the Stretch on SiriusXM spans Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing, drawing from Johnson’s past history as a broadcaster and track announcer and Finley’s insight as a longtime columnist who’s currently at Thoroughbred Daily News.

Horse Racing Radio Network with Mike Penna

Since 2005, when it was founded by Penna and the late Pete Kules, HRRN has provided extensive live coverage of the sport from tracks around the country along with a regular schedule of popular shows, led by Equine Forum Saturday mornings.

In the Money Podcast with Peter Fornatale and Jonathon Kinchen

A true horseplayer’s resource, In the Money is anchored by Fornatale of and 2015 NHC Tour Championship winner Kinchen. They dig deep into the science and skill of handicapping and regularly feature in-depth interviews with important figures such as, recently, retired Daily Racing Form publisher Steven Crist.

Jason Beem Horse Racing Podcast

Beem has parlayed talent and a tireless work ethic to become one of the rising young stars in the racing media world, and his podcast featuring a mixture of racing previews and recaps, industry news, and handicapping is reflective of his infectious personality.

The Racing Dudes Blinkers Off

Racing Dudes Jared Welch and Aaron Halterman have been offering picks, analysis, and opinion “made by fans, for the fans” since 2012, first in newsletter format, now on their podcast and website. The Blinkers Off show hosted by Welch mixes handicapping, interviews, and previews of the biggest races of the week.

The Ron Flatter Racing Pod

Flatter has been involved with the game for over 40 years. His Las Vegas-based podcast on focuses on handicapping and racing coverage, and adds an international perspective drawing on Flatter’s time spent working in Australia.

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