opening day

Churchill Downs Has Action-Packed 21-Day Fall Meet On Tap

Cooler temperatures and the leaves changing colors signify the return of live horse racing to the Louisville area as Churchill Downs, the historic home of the Kentucky Derby, readies to open its much anticipated 120th Fall Meet on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The popular 21-day stand, which covers a four-week stretch through Nov. 28, kicks off in style Sunday with “Stars of Tomorrow I” highlighting an 11-race opening-day program that includes a 2010 calendar giveaway, the debut of a new Sunday morning public workout program and a special 2-year-old handicapping seminar and breakfast.

First post, as is the case for most of the meeting, is 12:40 p.m. ET.

Sunday’s fifth annual “Stars of Tomorrow I” program is entirely devoted to rising 2-year-old stars who have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. In just four years of existence, Stars of Tomorrow has been the launching pad for 15 Grade I winners, including millionaires Rachel Alexandra, Lawyer Ron, Macho Again, Pure Clan, Court Vision, Swift Temper and Any Given Saturday.

A pair of Grade III, $100,000-added stakes events at one mile tops the program, the open Iroquois and Pocahontas for fillies. The 28th running of the Iroquois is a springboard to the Grade II, $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club on closing day, which doubles as “Stars of Tomorrow II”. The 41st edition of the Pocahontas is a steppingstone to the fillies’ Grade II, $150,000-added Golden Rod, which is run on the same Nov. 28 finale.

Throughout the Fall Meet, horsemen will have ample opportunities to uncork promising juveniles or seek year-end graded-stakes glory. All told, 16 stakes races cumulatively worth $2,015,000, which includes a quartet of overnight stakes, will be run during the action-packed Fall Meet.

The anchor of the lucrative stakes program comes Friday, Nov. 27 with the 135th running of the $400,000-added Clark Handicap presented by Norton Healthcare (GII). The 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds and up annually lures some of the top older horses in North America and is one of five major stakes events over Thanksgiving weekend. Stephen Foster champ Macho Again, Meadowlands Cup winner Etched and Indiana Derby victor Misremembered have already been mentioned as early contenders for the tradition-rich race that comes three weeks after the Breeders’ Cup World Championships are run in Southern California.

After Sunday’s opener, live racing will be conducted on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule with dark days on Mondays and Tuesdays. The lone exception is a special closing week additional day of racing on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Most race days will begin at 12:40 p.m. ET and feature 10 live races. Twelve-race programs that begin early at 11:30 a.m. ET will be showcased over the meet’s final three days that comprise the Thanksgiving holiday weekend: Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day); Friday, Nov. 27 (Clark Handicap Day); and closing day on Saturday, Nov. 28 (Stars of Tomorrow II).

Bettors are certain to be challenged by the competitive Fall Meet racing that typically pits the fastest and battle-tested horses against the recently freshened year-end bloomers. Meanwhile, Churchill Downs has planned a plethora of events, giveaways and promotions to whet the appetite for casual customers and entertainment-seekers, too.

The first 5,000 fans in attendance on opening day will receive a free 2010 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar, sponsored by Humana, complete with major event listings and vivid and memorable images from the Kentucky Derby and around the historic racetrack.

Also, there are two opening-day events that begin before 11:30 a.m. admission gates open for eager early risers.

“Daybreak at the Downs” – patterned after Kentucky Derby week’s well-attended “Dawn at the Downs” – will take place every Sunday from 8-10 a.m. throughout the Fall Meet. Churchill Downs’ racing analyst Jill Byrne will host the free program and describe the on-track action as hundreds of horses prepare for their upcoming races in morning workouts. Complimentary coffee, donuts and milk will also be served.

Those looking to hone or improve their handicapping skills, particularly with juveniles, are invited to attend a special “Stars of Tomorrow” 2-Year-Old Handicapping Seminar on Sunday, Nov. 1. The price to attend the insightful 9-11:30 a.m. session is $25 and includes breakfast; a trip to the paddock to better understand a 2-year-old’s physical and behavioral characteristics; in-depth tips and analysis of that day’s program by Byrne, jockey Jon Court, trainer Ian Wilkes and workout clocker John Nichols; a raffle for door prizes; and reserved seats in Skye Terrace.

Once fans enter the gates Sunday, they’ll be treated some special opening-day food items, courtesy of Levy Restaurants. They tasty offerings include candy corn, funnel cakes, deep fried Twinkies and deep fried apple pie with caramel sauce. There also will be free samples of new Fall Meet food items such as Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches and Chicken Fried Chicken. To top it off, suites guests will be welcomed back with a champagne toast.   

Children age 3-10 are invited to take part in opening day Junior Jockey Club events, which include crafting a foam fall wreath and bingo for prizes. Activities begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Junior Jockey Club near Gate 10, and the children’s favorite area mascot “Churchill Charlie” will make a special visit between 2-2:30 p.m. Junior Jockey Club events will take place every weekend throughout the Fall Meet.

Other Fall Meet promotional highlights include College Scholarship Day on Friday, Nov. 6 that will feature free admission to full-time college students and 10 drawings – one after each race – for $1,000 scholarships.

“Ladies Weekend” on Nov. 14-15 will showcase a ladies only handicapping seminar, unique boutique bazaar and warehouse sale and the second annual celebration of “Horses and Hope” to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Certain to be a hit will be a tribute to fan-favorite jockey Calvin Borel, who swept this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby aboard Rachel Alexandra and Mine That Bird, respectively. He’ll be honored on the weekend of Nov. 21-22 with a bobblehead giveaway, autograph session, roast and his very own drink special.

Churchill Downs popular “Dress to Impress” Friday Happy Hours, sponsored by Budweiser Select, will return for a three-week run during the Fall Meet on Nov. 6 in the newly refurbished Paddock Pavilion, conveniently located indoors next to the saddling paddock. The area will have a lounge feel with comfortable amenities and music from DJs Ryan Cox (Nov. 6), LadyKillers (Nov. 13) and K-Dogg (Nov. 20). Essential for happy hours, there’ll be $2 drink specials from 3-6 p.m. – one hour longer than recent years. Also, one male and female in attendance each Friday will be chosen as the day’s “most stylish” attendee and will receive $250 gifts certificates to Louisville-area boutiques and fashionable men’s stores.

On opening day, racing fans can pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer every Sunday and Wednesday in the popular twice-weekly “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Tournament. For a $30 entry fee ($25 for Twin Spires Club members), participants will compete for $4,000 in weekly cash prizes and an invitation to the Nov. 22 final in which the top two finishers will win coveted berths in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Association National Handicapping Championship XI slated for Jan. 29-30, 2010 in Las Vegas.

General admission to Churchill Downs is $3, but only $1 to senior citizens and members of the track’s Twin Spires Club. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in the Longfield Avenue lot (Gates 10 & 12) and $3 in all other lots. Valet parking is $5.

Free seating is available daily over a first-come, first-serve basis in sections 113-118. Premium reserved seats in the Matt Winn Dining Room, Third Floor Box Seats, Millionaires’ Row, Jockey Club Suites, Finish Line Suites and Skye Terrace can be purchased by calling (502) 636-4400.

For more information, call (502) 636-4400.

2010 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar Giveaway on Opening Day Courtesy of Humana

The first 5,000 fans in attendance on Sunday, Nov. 1 – opening day of the 2009 Fall Meet – will receive a free 2010 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar, sponsored by Humana. The colorful calendar features major event listings and vivid and memorable images from the Kentucky Derby and around the historic racetrack.

Opening day of the popular 21-day stand doubles as “Stars of Tomorrow I” with 11 live races entirely devoted to rising 2-year-old stars who have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. The featured events are the open Iroquois and the fillies’ Pocahontas, a pair of Grade III, $100,000-added events run at one mile on the main track.

The day also will feature the debut of a new free Sunday morning public workout program from 8-10 a.m. entitled “Daybreak at the Downs” and a special 2-year-old handicapping seminar and breakfast in the Paddock Pavilion from 9-11:30 a.m.

Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. and first post is 12:40 p.m. ET.

Churchill Downs 120th Fall Meet, featuring world-class horse racing, will continue for a four-week stand through Saturday, Nov. 28.

General admission is $3, but only $1 for senior citizens and members of the track’s free-to-join Twin Spires Club. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in the Longfield Avenue lot (Gates 10 & 12) and $3 in all other lots. Valet parking is $5.

For more information or to reserve seats, call (502) 636-4400 or visit www.ChurchillDowns.com.

Churchill Downs Opens 119th Fall Meet on Sunday, Oct. 26 With Ack Ack Handicap, 2009 Wall Calendar Giveaway

(Monday, Oct. 20, 2008) – World-class horse racing returns to legendary Churchill Downs on Sunday, Oct. 26 for the Louisville, Ky. racetrack’s 119th Fall Meet which covers 26 days through Saturday, Nov. 29.

After opening day, live racing will be conducted on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule with dark days on Mondays and Tuesdays except for a special holiday program on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Instead of racing on Election Day, as was the case in recent years, Churchill Downs will stage a special Veterans Day program.

Most days will begin at 12:40 p.m. ET and feature 10 live races. There’ll be 11-race cards on opening day and the first Saturday of the Meet, which doubles as “Stars of Tomorrow I”. Twelve-race programs that begin early at 11:30 a.m. ET will be showcased over the meet’s final three days that comprise the Thanksgiving holiday weekend: Thursday, Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving Day); Friday, Nov. 28 (Clark Handicap Day); and closing day on Saturday, Nov. 29 (Stars of Tomorrow II).

Horsemen – led by 2007 Fall Meet leaders Julien Leparoux (jockey), Steve Asmussen (trainer) and Ken and Sarah Ramsey (owners) – will have ample opportunities to seek year-end graded stakes glory or to uncork promising juveniles throughout the action-packed five-week stand. And, bettors are certain to be challenged by the competitive racing that typically pits the fastest and battle-tested horses against the fresh.

The 16th running of the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (Grade III), a one-mile test of stamina and speed for 3-year-olds and up, headlines the opening day action and kicks off a 12-race stakes schedule – all graded stakes – cumulatively worth $1.925 million.

The anchor of the lucrative program is the 134th running of the $500,000 Clark Handicap (GII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, Nov. 28 – one of five major stakes races on Thanksgiving weekend.

Other highlights include the fourth annual “Stars of Tomorrow” programs, which are days entirely devoted to races for rising 2-year-old stars who could trail-blaze their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. They have proved to be extremely popular with bettors and horsemen, and each program will feature a pair of stakes events. “Stars of Tomorrow I” on Saturday, Nov. 1 is topped by the open $100,000-added Iroquois (GIII) and $100,000-added Pocahontas for fillies both at one mile. “Stars of Tomorrow II” is a fitting end to the meet on Saturday, Nov. 29, and its co-features are the open $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and Golden Rod (GII) for fillies. The distance for both races is 1 1/16 miles.

Five new voices to Churchill Downs will describe the action this fall with one sure to emerge as the new “Voice of the Kentucky Derby” next spring. The star-studded lineup was invited to take weekly turns in the announcer’s booth after the unexpected death of Luke Kruytbosch, who had called the races at the track since 1999. Calder Race Course’s Bobby Neuman is first up (Oct. 26-Nov. 2) and will be followed by Louisiana Downs’ Travis Stone (Nov. 5-9); Golden Gate’s Michael Wrona (Nov. 11-16); Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park and Suffolk Downs’ Larry Collmus (Nov. 19-23); and England’s Mark Johnson (Nov. 26-29).

Two other noticeable changes will be the addition of first-of-its-kind enhancements to the overall racing product. Churchill Downs will become the first racetrack in the United States to distribute its signal in high definition, and more than 100 new HDTVs have been installed around the facility for customers to enjoy. Also, Churchill Downs plans to unveil a payout-pumping variation of the popular Super Hi-5 wager that is expected to feature the first interstate jackpot of its kind in horse racing. Further details will be announced later this week.

In addition to the spectacular racing and wagering opportunities, a plethora of special events, giveaways and promotions are sure to wet the appetite of customers.

The first 5,000 fans in attendance on opening day will receive a free 2009 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar, complete with race dates, major event listings and vivid and memorable images from the Kentucky Derby and around the track.

Also, children age 3-10 are invited to take part in the Junior Jockey Club Halloween Costume Parade on opening day. Churchill Downs’ mascot “Churchill Charlie” will lead the kids in a parade around the facility starting at 1 p.m. ET with designated stops around the track to collect holiday treats. Activities, including the decoration of Trick or Treat bags, will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Junior Jockey Clubhouse near Gate 10. In addition, the Wizard of Oz Art Car, created by Louisville’s world-renowned artist Robbie Moriarty, will be on display.

Other Fall Meet promotional highlights include College Scholarship Day on Friday, Oct. 31 that will feature free admission to full-time college students and 10 drawings – one after each race – for $1,000 scholarships. Certain to be a hit will be the giveaways of three collectable hurricane glasses that salute popular Cajun jockeys Calvin Borel (Saturday, Nov. 8), Robby Albarado (Saturday, Nov. 15) and Kent Desormeaux (Saturday, Nov. 22). They’ll be available each day to the first 5,000 fans in attendance.

New Orleans-themed Friday Happy Hours will return for the Fall Meet (through Friday, Nov. 21) with $2 Budweiser Select, $2 hurricanes and $2 Fischer’s hot dogs to complement live jazz music on-track between 3-5 p.m.

Starting Oct. 29, racing fans can pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer every Wednesday and Sunday in the popular twice-weekly “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Contest. For a $30 entry fee ($25 for Twin Spires Club members), participants will compete for weekly cash prizes and an invitation to the Nov. 23 final where the top two finishers will win coveted berths in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Association National Handicapping Championship X slated for Jan. 23-24, 2009 in Las Vegas.

Those looking to hone or improve their handicapping skills, particularly with juveniles, are invited to attend a special Two-Year-Old Handicapping Seminar on Saturday, Nov. 1 (Stars of Tomorrow I Day). The price to attend the insightful 9-11:15 a.m. session is $25 and includes breakfast; a trip to the paddock to better understand a 2-year-old’s physical and behavioral characteristics; in-depth tips and analysis of that day’s program by Churchill’s John Asher, racing analyst Jill Byrne, Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee and clocker John Nichols; a raffle for door prizes; and reserved seats in Sky Terrace.

Finally, Churchill Downs also will stage an important philanthropic event on Sunday, Nov. 16 billed as “Horses and Hope,” a new initiative created by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear with the Kentucky Cancer Program. The event will be centered around women who work in the barn areas at Kentucky racetracks and is designed to promote and provide breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referral.

General admission to Churchill Downs is $3, but only $1 to senior citizens and members of the track’s Twin Spires Club. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in the Longfield Avenue lot (Gates 10 & 12) and $3 in all other lots. Valet parking is $5.

Free seating is available daily over a first-come, first-serve basis in sections 113-117 and 215-218. Premium reserved seats in the Matt Winn Dining Room, Box Seats, Millionaire’s Row, Jockey Club Suites and Skye Terrace can be purchased by calling (502) 636-4400.

Special ticket packages are also being offered for Sunday Brunch in Millionaire’s Row Six every Sunday; Thanksgiving Day; and the final two days of the meet in the Triple Crown Room. Also, there are special discounted rates for rental of luxurious Jockey Club Suites on Sundays for groups of 12 or more.

For more information, please call (502) 636-4400 or visit www.churchilldowns.com.

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009. The track’s 2008 Fall Meet runs from October 26 through November 29. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on November 5-6, 2010. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.

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Churchill Downs Opens 2008 Spring Meet

Churchill Downs kicks off its 134th Spring Meet and the celebration of Kentucky Derby Week on Saturday, April 26, as the historic home of the “Run for the Roses” opens its 52-day spring session with an 11-race program headed by the 84th running of the $100,000-added Derby Trial.

The April 26-July 6 Spring Meet marks the 134th consecutive year that Churchill Downs has conducted racing in the spring, dating back to its debut meet in 1875 that featured the first running of the Kentucky Derby.

Post time for the first race on Saturday’s opening day program is 12:45 p.m. (all times EDT), a Derby Week schedule that will continues on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There is no racing on Monday of the meet’s opening week. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.

Admission gates will open at 8 a.m. for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby programs on Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, respectively. Post time for the first race on both days is 11 a.m. The daily post time will drop back to 1:15 p.m. after Kentucky Derby Week, with the exception of “twilight” racing programs on Friday Happy Hours that will begin at 2:45 p.m.

A field of 10 three-year-olds was entered to contest Saturday’s Derby Trial at 7 ½ furlongs. The Derby Trial is the first event of a Spring Meet stakes schedule that will feature 31 stakes races during its 10 weeks of racing, 26 of which are graded events.

The stakes schedule is topped by the program on Saturday, May 5, that surrounds the 134th running of the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. The Derby is one of six stakes events with total purses of a record-equaling $3.35 million, which will make the Derby Day program the richest single day of racing at the track outside of a visit by the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Saturday’s opening day program will also include a special 2008 Spring Meet T-shirt giveaway, sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, to the first 5,000 fans with paid admission.

Other Derby Week special events and promotions include a giveaway of a die-cast replica of the UPS/Churchill Downs Chevrolet and an autograph session with NASCAR drivers Dale Jarrett, David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

The 11th annual Festival in the Field, held over two days in the Churchill Downs infield, will be headlined by country music star Kellie Pickler on Thursday and alternative metal band Finger Eleven on Friday (Kentucky Oaks Day).

Following Derby Week, Caribbean-style Friday Happy Hours, sponsored by Fischer’s and Budweiser Select, will return every week from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. starting May 9.

Churchill Downs
2008 Spring Meet At A Glance

Dates: Saturday, April 26 – Sunday, July 6 (52 days). No racing on April 28 or May 4, 5 or 6. Dark on Mondays and Tuesdays following Derby Week. Live racing on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26; dark May 27 and 28.

Location: 700 Central Avenue, Louisville, Ky.

Gates Open: Derby Week, 11 a.m.; Kentucky Oaks and Derby Days, 8 a.m. Following Derby Week, gates open at 11:30 a.m. daily except for Fridays, which open at 1 p.m.

Post Times: Derby Week, 12:45 p.m.; Kentucky Oaks and Derby Days, 11 a.m. Following Derby Week, first post is at 1:15 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, weekends and holidays. Post time on Fridays is 2:45 p.m.

Admission: $3 clubhouse and grandstand, $1 senior citizens and Twin Spires Club members; children ages 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Kentucky Oaks Day general admission is $25 and Kentucky Derby Day general admission is $40.

Parking: Free parking is available in the Longfield lot (gates 10 and 12); $3 in all other parking lots; $5 valet. No on-site parking on Kentucky Oaks or Kentucky Derby Days.

Programs: $2 on-track, $2.50 off-track. Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby programs $5 each on-track; $5.50 each off-track. Simulcast program $4 on-track, $4.50 off-track.

Wholecard Wagering: Schedule will vary but will include Aqueduct, Arlington, Belmont, Calder, Golden Gate, Hawthorne, Hollywood Park, Lone Star Park, Monmouth, Pimlico, River Downs and Woodbine.

Wagering Format: Daily Doubles every race; exactas every race; trifectas, superfectas and over/under every race that qualifies on field size; Super Hi-5 on the last race daily (except a to-be-determined race Oaks Day and the Kentucky Derby on Derby Day); Pick 6 on the last six races of each race card (except Oaks Day and Derby Day - races 5-10); rolling Pick 3 wagers every race; Pick 4 on races 1-4 & final four races (except Derby Day - races 1-4, 3-6, 7-10 & 9-12).

Television: All races except the Kentucky Derby on HRTV – on Insight-75 in Louisville from noon-6 p.m. races days (extended hours on Oaks/Derby Days and Fridays) and for all broadcast hours every day on Insight-564 (digital subscribers only).

Radio: WAVG-AM (1450) in Louisville; results of each race daily. WHAS-AM (840) in Louisville; results and a live call of the feature race.

Scratch Line: (502) 636-4404 or (502) 58-DOWNS

Results Line: (502) 636-4403 or (502) 58-DOWNS