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kentuckyderbyhomerental.com is now louisvillederbyhomerental.com

Louisville Derby Home RentalAfter discussions with Churchill Downs Inc., the URL kentuckyderbyhomerental.com has changed to louisvillederbyhomerental.com. (For six years, I’ve owned and operated Derby Home Rental LLC, which helps Louisville, Kentucky-area homeowners advertise their homes to rent during Derby weekend.)

For the next year, the old site will have a message directing visitors to the new one. It’ll take a little bit for search engines to digest and process this switch. We had record traffic last year—9,840 visits and 41,108 page views—and I will monitor the site’s search engine status and work to continue that growth.

Relatedly, my email address for that business has changed to zach@louisvillederbyhomerental.com.

Also, at no additional cost to advertisers, I’ve added accounts for the site on

Every home will now be advertised on those networks as well as louisvillederbyhomerental.com. Please follow us on those pages. Thanks!

Kentucky Derby 140: My handicapping thoughts on the race

Kentucky Derby 2007

It feels a bit strange not covering Kentucky Derby on site (first time in five years) or being at Churchill Downs for some part of this weekend (first time in seven years). So here are the thoughts I jotted down when handicapping the race. (Human-interest lines don’t factor into my betting, but I suspect I’m in the minority on that one, so I included a few here.)

1. Vicar’s in Trouble—Strong sire, beat tough competition in Louisiana Derby, increasing speed figures last three races. Jockey, Rosie Napravnik, would be first female to win Derby.

2. Harry’s Holiday—Heavily raced, doesn’t have the speed, doesn’t have the breeding

3. Uncle Sigh—Out of his league, doesn’t have the speed, part-owned by Wounded Warriors

4. Danza—Won his biggest race, but got a clean trip; lightly raced; dam’s sire breeds for distance; strong workouts

5. California Chrome—Not good breeding, already raced 10 times, due for a setback, will be over bet

6. Samraat—Poor breeding, doesn’t have the speed

7. We Miss Artie—Out of his league

8. General A Rod—Lightly raced, bred for distance, competitive, may not have the speed

9. Vinceremos—Horrible last race, but it was on Polytrack; does much better on turf; bred for distance

10. Wildcat Red—Outperformed his pedigree; super competitive

12. Dance With Fate—Doesn’t have the speed, hasn’t run on dirt this year

13. Chitu—Dam’s sire bred for distance, lightly raced, has the speed, may be out of his league

14. Medal Count—Bred for distance; great workouts; coming back off just three weeks rest and raced eight days before that; poor showing on only dirt race this year, but had a bad trip

15. Tapiture—Strong jockey-trainer combo, not great speed figures, sire breeds for distance, lost to two other in field last time out

16. Intense Holiday—Bred for distance, sped increased last four races, only raced three times this year

17. Commanding Curve—Lightly raced this year, likely out of his league, doesn’t have the speed

18. Candy Boy—May not have the speed, lightly raced this year

19. Ride On Curlin—Lots of wide trips might mean he’s used to the distance–or that he’s terrible in a crowd; well bred, and for distance; three straight faster races; over raced. Jockey is Calvin Borel, three-time Derby winner, which is good for him but bad for betters as he’ll be over bet.

20. Wicked Strong—Bred for distance. speed has increased last three races, strong workouts. Boston connection.

I’m playing a few combinations, but Vicar’s in Trouble, General A Rod, Chitu, Medal Count, Intense Holiday, and Wicked Strong factor heavily on them. Wildcat Red probably would too, but I already have a $10 win bet on him at 60-1 from a future pool, so I’m covered there.

Some notes

Louisville area homeowners: Rent out your home on Kentucky Derby weekend for fun and profit

Louisville, Kentucky. Derby Home Rentals.

Yes, I’ve left Louisville. But my Louisville, Kentucky. Derby Home Rental. business is still very much operating—and set to have its best year yet.

As I described in an article for Louisville Magazine, “What’s Mine Is Theirs,” the site helps Louisville-area homeowners rent out their homes during Kentucky Derby weekend. Last year homeowners made as much as $9,000 for a three-day rental.

Derby fans are already looking for homes to rent, so don’t delay.

Just $250 to advertise your home on this high-ranking website—no commissions that cut into your profits. Guidance for preparing your home and sample draft contact between you and renters us included.

For details, check the FAQ.

Looking to rent a home for Derby? I’ve got a FAQ for you too.

Unintentional comedy at its best: Racehorse owner profiles

From The New York Times’s “Orb Finds Joy in Mudville”:

Orb is owned by Ogden Mills Phipps and Stuart Janney III, who are first cousins and prominent members of the Phipps racing empire. Six generations of the family have been involved in the sport, stockpiling victories in the biggest races, all except the Kentucky Derby. Easy Goer finished second for the Phippses and McGaughey behind Sunday Silence in 1989. Throughout the lead-up to the race, the family insisted they did not have Derby fever. But a glance at Phipps during the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” showed he might have had more emotion inside than he was letting on.

Afterward, the owners gave credit where it was due, to [Shug] McGaughey, who has trained for the family since 1986 and has been a fixture in his barn throughout the week, carefully watching over his charge and getting his hand dirty in the process.

“This is a time to reflect on our terrific trainer,” Janney said. “I certainly hoped it would be his time, and it was.”

Phipps, who is known as Dinny, quickly chimed in, “Well, he’s right about that.”

Read Louisville Magazine’s ‘What’s Mine Is Theirs’ for my tips on renting out your home for the Kentucky Derby

Louisville Magazine's April 2012 coverUsually on this site, I provide the back stories for my articles. But with my piece in Louisville Magazine‘s April 2012 issue, “What’s Mine Is Theirs,” the story is the back story—namely how I started a side gig renting out my home and advertising other Louisville homes for rent during Kentucky Derby weekend.

Download a .pdf of my article here.

And, while I’m on the subject: are you a Louisville homeowner interested in renting out your house for fun and profit during Kentucky Derby weekend? If so, visit my Louisville, Kentucky. Derby Home Rental website.

Louisville.com has its second-best month ever

Louisville.com (me = editor-in-chief) just finished its second most successful month ever, bested only by last May (a month when Kentucky Derby-related traffic usually gives us a huge spike).

Visits in February 2012 increased 53 percent compared to February 2011 and 22 percent compared to January 2012 (and for those of you not familiar with the Gregorian calendar, February is also a shorter month). Thanks to the site’s writers and readers!

What excites me most is that this growth is not the result of a few articles striking search engine gold, but rather steady traffic day in, day out—which means we should be able to maintain it.

Continue Reading →

2011 highlights: Israel, Rome, and Wall Street Journal and Fox News articles about home

Traveling with daddy on his work trips, like to Montana's Ranch at Rock Creek, can be rough on a girl.

Traveling with daddy on his work trips, like to Montana's Ranch at Rock Creek, can be rough on a girl.

And I’m spent.

2011 work highlights included having a full-page spread in The Wall Street Journal, trips to Israel and Rome, and Louisville.com becoming the city’s most-read independent website and winning a couple of big honors in the process.

Luckily my wife and daughter were able to join me on many of my trips. The latter turns two next week and already has visited 18 states and Washington, DC. We got her a passport this year, but it might be a few months at least before she’s able to get her first stamp—her little sister is slated to arrive in February.

Here are some of my writing and travel highlights for 2011:

Wall Street Journal publishes article on Louisville I wrote in its Off Duty travel section

Wall Street Journal, May 7-8, 2011— Louisville, Ky.: Day at the Races by Zach Everson

The Wall Street Journal, May 7-8, 2011—"Louisville, Ky.: Day at the Races"

On May 7, The Wall Street Journal published an article I wrote about Louisville as a travel destination—”Louisville, Ky.: Day at the Races”:

Running on the day of the Kentucky Derby, the full-page feature in the Journal’s Off Duty section included

  • a 500-word essay sharing insider insight on Louisville
  • the top local picks from notable Louisvillians: musician Jim James (lead singer of My Morning Jacket), novelist Sue Grafton, chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia, and hotelier Laura Lee Brown (owner and curator of 21c Museum Hotel)
  • a sidebar on five of my favorite local venues

I also assisted the editor and photographer with selecting subjects for the nine pieces of art that accompanied the article.

In mid-April I received an email from an editor at the paper asking if I was interested in writing an insider’s guide to Louisville to run in Off Duty on Derby day. He’d been editor-in-chief of BlackBook and apparently figured that publication’s Louisville City Guide editor would be a good writer to consider for this assignment. That’d be me.

When I speak about writing, I stress the importance of promoting your work on your own website and via social media. This assignment is a perfect example of why that’s important.

In addition to the Louisvillians who graciously contributed to the piece, thanks to Louisville Magazine‘s publisher Dan Crutcher (also the owner/my boss at Louisville.com) and staff writer Josh Moss who gave me ideas and helped me track down contact info.

Fox News and I report on Louisville as a travel destination, you decide

The day before the Kentucky Derby (that’d be May 6 for those of you who don’t live in Louisville or aren’t degenerate gamblers followers of the sport of kings), FoxNews.com published an article I wrote profiling five horse racing-related activities travelers to Louisville can enjoy on non-Derby weekend visits:

Fox News—Travel: Louisville in 5…

Along with my 1,200-word article, photos I took accompanied the piece. Fox News also produced the following video, based largely on my text (and included some of my photos and body parts too—that’s my hand holding the mint julep).

It was a fun article to write, especially with the challenge of having to frame all of the venues in the context of horse racing.