LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - When you go to Churchill Downs there is a woman who just might help you win some money.
For the last five years Jill Bryne the one who studies the horses and then passes on all the information to track goers. This time of year, Byrne just doesn't stop.
She is already at Churchill Downs when the sun is still waking up, watching the horses with her well-trained eyes.
She will later break it all down, as the track's sole racing analyst and official handicapper, the first female to hold that position at Churchill Downs.
"I was going to the barns with the racetrack with my Dad when I was 7 years old," Byrne said. Her mother joked she was born on a horse.
Byrne started riding show horses in her home state of Virginia but her Father trained thoroughbreds, including two Eclipse Award winners. Once she climbed on her first racehorse at the age of 12 she said she didn't want to get off.
"Every school vacation, everything I went to the racetrack. When other people were going to the beach, I was going to the racetrack," Byrne said with a laugh.
She even married a trainer, Patrick Byrne, and was his assistant. She remembered the first time she went to Churchill Downs in 1996 and exercised one of their ponies on the track. "Seeing those twin spires. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it now. I'm riding at Churchill Downs," Byrne said.
They trained the Horse of the Year in 1997, named Favorite Trick. In 2011 - their marriage ended - but her love affair with horses only grew deeper.
"To me a horse is the most beautiful, elegant, expressive animal, their eyes, their ears, tail everything," Byrne said. "They're a lot smarter than people ever give them credit for."
She's one of the few female handicappers in the racing world and trainers consider her a true horsewoman.
Horse trainer Bob Baffert said, "Jill knows her stuff, she knows every excuse can see right through everything."
"I'm very competitive with myself," Byrne said. "I like to be right. Don't like to be wrong."
Those who will be taking her advice are counting on it. This year, Bryne has an added job at Churchill Downs. She's in charge of all the programming you'll see on the big board.
And for her Derby pick Byrne said she is going with California Chrome.
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