Jessica Chapel / Railbird

Kentucky Confidential

There’s always a thrill in announcing a new project, and I couldn’t be more excited to announce this one, which has quickly grown from a small idea into something surprising — introducing Kentucky Confidential, a website dedicated to covering the 2011 Kentucky Derby inside, outside, and all around. We’ll begin publishing on April 26 and run through May 9. Read our press release (PDF), or better yet, visit our Kickstarter page for all the details and a terrific video introduction featuring my collaborator John Scheinman, as shot by contributor and filmmaker Jeff Krulik.

We’re taking a different approach to Derby coverage. We won’t be competing on breaking news, or workout analysis, or bloggy commentary. Instead, we’ll be treating the Derby “as the greatest storytelling platform in American sports,” digging into unusual stats and Derby history, bringing readers the overlooked and unexpected through long-form writing and guerrilla video. There will be contender updates and handicapping — but there’ll also be dives through Louisville nightlife and wild tales from the backstretch.

Scheinman and I have lined up a great bunch of contributors. In addition to Krulik, who will be producing a video Derby diary, Pete Denk, Claire Novak, Brendan O’Meara, and a legendary turf journalist (an award-winning name so big we can’t reveal it) will be writing for Kentucky Confidential. Scott Serio and his band at Eclipse Sportswire will be doing the photography.

A big thanks to the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, which has signed on as a charter sponsor. We’re delighted to have their support!

We can also use your support, and that’s where Kickstarter, a platform that lets people back creative projects and get rewards for doing so, comes in. We’re using Kickstarter to help raise funds to cover costs, and we’re offering great perks to pledgers. You can back us for any amount — and only if the project is fully funded by its end date will we get the money. It’s neat — you can’t lose! If we’re not funded, you’re not out anything. If we do get funded — you’ll get Kentucky Confidential and the sort of turf writing and video you want to see online, plus premiums such as an exclusive Twitter feed, a commemorative DVD or magazine, or an autographed photograph.

I’ll leave it to Scheinman to tell you more –

Follow Kentucky Confidential: We’re on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks, too, Hello Race Fans! We’re partnering with our friends at that site to make fan education part of the Derby experience.

12:30 PM Update: Claire Novak writes about Kentucky Confidential on NTRA:

In this modern world of instantaneous information, the pursuit of coverage as a literary art often falls by the wayside. Quality control is compromised. Overproduction threatens the writer’s creativity. Originality is a dying pursuit. Publishing venues are also vanishing, and the interest in writing on racing in general has declined. But there are still places that seek out and feature excellent literature and unique work, and I’m pleased to introduce one of them – Kentucky Confidential, a new online magazine with a strong emphasis on high-quality literary coverage of this year’s Kentucky Derby.

This really gets to the heart of why we’re working on Kentucky Confidential — it’s a space for the sort of reflective, original turf journalism that’s been squeezed out of so many publications. Please consider supporting the site — our content will be free, whether you pledge or not, but if you do back us, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped sustain a true craft (as well as the pleasure of reading the great content you helped create).


2 Comments

Great idea! There is no greater pleasure than reading good writing about horseracing (apart from being there!)

Posted by Meta Osborne on March 23, 2011 @ 2:55 am

A correction is in order: Jessica wrote “If we do get funded…” She meant, “When we do get funded.” Remember when Linus said “If” about the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. “Oops! I said ‘if.’ I’m doomed,” he said mournfully afterward, knowing doubt would question commitment and sincerity. So it is with Kentucky Confidential.

Posted by John S. on March 24, 2011 @ 1:30 pm