The Dubai Racing Club was the first race club in the world to introduce a blog to their website in 2006; an innovation so popular with people accessing the website on World Cup night that the weight of traffic crashed the servers.

In news this morning, a famous American racing institution is following suit. Churchill Downs Inc. has launched the official Web sites for the 133rd runnings of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks ( and which will feature daily news updates, weekly video podcasts, RSS feeds, free video of every major Derby and Oaks preparation race, and information on each Derby and Oaks contender.

New this year are blogs and podcasts by Thoroughbred racing experts covering preparation races during the three months leading up to the Derby and Oaks.

Thoroughbred analyst Dan Shapiro will cover the eastern region of the country, and professional handicapper and Thoroughbred racing analyst Toby Callet will cover how contenders in the southern region are preparing for the Derby and Oaks.

Churchill Downs vice president of racing communications John Asher will cover the Midwest, with Del Mar director of media Mac McBride reporting on West Coast contenders and handicapper Dave Gutfreund providing regular updates on international action.

“These sites incorporate popular ‘social media’ elements such as expert blogs, podcasts, and RSS feeds to maximize customers’ experiences while still providing a content-rich, user-friendly Web site that visitors of any sophistication can navigate and enjoy,” Jeremy Borseth, senior director of channel services and Internet operations for Churchill Downs Inc., said in a news release.

Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc. (NASDAQ: CHDN) owns and operates horse-racing venues across the United States, including five racetracks in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisiana.