FRANKLIN, Ky. (Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018) — Santa Anita’s Megan Devine is joining Kentucky Downs’ team of racing analysts for America’s most unique race meet, which runs Sept. 1, 6, 8, 9 and 13.
Devine, an on-air analyst for Santa Anita who also works for TVG as a studio host and is Sky Racing World’s social-media manager, will join Kentucky Downs stalwarts Caton Bredar and Gary West in providing pre-race handicapping, analysis and paddock picks for the all-turf meet.
“I’m excited about it,” Devine said. “It’s such an interesting track, so different from everything else. I think that makes it really challenging, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s the big fields, the stellar jockey colony with guys not only from the Midwest but the East Coast, and I hear we’re going to have maybe a couple of West Coast guys coming. It’s a cool melting pot.”
Kentucky Downs is a homecoming of sorts for the 26-year-old Devine, a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Equine Business Program whose first full-time job was as Ellis Park paddock commentator in 2016 before being hired by Santa Anita. While in college, the Long Island native worked for NBC Sports and TVG as a production assistant.
“For me, it’s like coming back to my Old Kentucky Home,” said Devine, who grew up working with and showing hunter-jumpers and captained U of L’s club equestrian team. “I might be a New York-bred, but I got my start in Kentucky… It’s so mind-blowing and quite an honor that I used to be the assistant to Caton when she was on TVG at Keeneland. Now I’m getting to work with her as a colleague. It’s really such a thrill for me. I learned so much from her.”
Devine said she has further benefitted from being mentored in California by Amy Zimmerman, Santa Anita’s highly acclaimed vice president for broadcasting and producer for NBC Sports, and veterans Peter Lurie and Michelle Yu.
“I think I’ve become much more adept at understanding the form, looking for patterns, developing my own handicapping angles, rather than just reading the form and relaying what’s on there,” Devine said. "Of course, my understanding of the horse is what got me into this industry. It’s always been about the horses for me. You’re always still learning, and I continue to develop my eye and hone that skill.”
Bredar, a regular paddock analyst at Keeneland and Gulfstream Park’s championship meet for TVG, grew up in thoroughbred racing as the daughter of the late trainer Ray Metzler and granddaughter of Hall of Fame jockey Ted Atkinson. She combines her years of working on the track — including as an exercise rider and official and being a licensed trainer — with three decades of experience in print, radio and television to provide one of the most authoritative voices in horse racing.
Bredar worked for Louisville’s NBC affiliate, WAVE-3 for five years and remains part of the station’s Kentucky Derby coverage. She was part of the original broadcast team that launched TVG and has worked behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, ESPN, CBS, FOX and HRTV. Bredar is sought after as a guest analyst on big-event days for various racetracks and has covered the sport throughout the U.S. as well as Barbados, Panama, France and Dubai. She is married to Doug Bredar, jockey agent for Florent Geroux.
Known for his wit and wisdom, West is considered one of the sport’s most thoughtful and articulate writers and turf columnists, as well as a notable handicapper who helped pioneer pace figures. West, the son of the late jockey Jerry West, was a college professor before returning to the racetrack and writing about horse racing. He was racing columnist for the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram for many years, has appeared on ESPN and CNN as a racing commentator, hosted a racing radio program and is the author of several books about horse racing, including “Razoo At The Races: Diary of a Horseplayer.”
Devine replaces Joe Kristufek, who has taken a full-time job with Churchill Downs Inc. and TwinSpires.com.
“With Gary, Caton and now Megan, Kentucky Downs has the ultimate winning ticket of analysts,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “Each offers a unique approach to handicapping. Few people understand pace as well as Gary, who makes his own handicapping figures. Caton is both broadcast talent and horsewoman who can draw upon her knowledge from working in a variety of positions at the track. Megan is a rising star in the game with incredible handicapping insights and, like Caton, a keen eye for horses in the paddock.
"It's odds-on that Kentucky Downs players will appreciate and enjoy our all-star handicappers."
(Photos: Megan Devine with Peter Lurie on the TVG set, and at Santa Anita (Eclipse Sportswire/Jesse Caris/Breeders' Cup)