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20 Things to Know About Saturday Night's 'Downs After Dark'
1. Admission gates for “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” will open Saturday at 3 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the first of 10 races will begin at 4:30 p.m. The final race will be 9:08 p.m. and the on-track party will continue in Club 140 until 10:30 p.m. The last call for alcohol in most locations around the facility will be post time for the final race of night, but service will continue in Club 140 and the private Skye Lounge (which closes at 10 p.m.).
2. Churchill Downs is taking the pulse of the party indoors into the newly-created “Club 140.” With cooler outdoor temperatures in the fall, Club 140, located on the second floor of the clubhouse, will be a first-come, first-serve indoor hotspot for 600 entertainment seekers and showcase the evening’s headline entertainment. There will be live music by Olivia Henken (6-7 p.m.) and the Juice Box Heroes (8:20-10:30 p.m.), a DJ, lounge seating, self-service wagering machines and television screens to enjoy the racing action. Entry to Club 140 is included with general admission.
3. Saturday night’s theme is “My Fall Derby Style.” All guests are encouraged to dress in their finest Derby-inspired fall attire.
4. Guests can win two reserved seats to Kentucky Derby 140, an opportunity to walk the Red Carpet on Derby Day and vineyard vines apparel in the “My Fall Derby Style” Fashion Contest. The contest is free to enter and will take place on a fashion runway inside Club 140 between 7-8 p.m. WAVE-3’s Kevin Harned will serve as the emcee and contestants will be judged by area fashion bloggers Danielle Rudy Davis (www.louwhatwear.com) and The Voice-Tribune’s Miranda McDonald (www.thechicstreet.com). The Top 5 will be escorted to the Trackside Winner’s Circle at 8:15 p.m. and the grand prize winner will be announced by Harned shortly Race 9 at 8:36 p.m.
5. Louisville’s rising country music star Olivia Henken, who garnered national attention as a Top 20 finalist on Season 5 of NBC’s “The Voice,” will entertain guests in “Club 140” from 6-7 p.m. Born and raised in Louisville, Henken just missed advancing to the Top 12 on “The Voice” last week as part of Team Christina Aguilera. Previously, she gained notoriety on the hit TV show after a stirring performance of Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs.” Henken also will be in the saddling paddock at 4:38 p.m. for an interview with TV host Jill Byrne in advance of Race 2, a meet-and-greet with guests in premium seating areas at 7:30 p.m. and trophy presentation later in the evening (TBA).
6. The newly-introduced Skye Lounge – an exclusive indoor environment to 300 customers age 21 and up – is sold out. The new $40 product offering was marketed to individuals that were looking to socialize in a club-like premium lounge area while enjoying a night at the races – a welcomed alternative to outdoor box seating or indoor reserved dining areas for the sophisticated casual customers and entertainment seekers. The indoor lounge environment features a fifth-floor, two-tiered balcony to view the races; delicious hors d’oeuvres designed by Churchill Downs’ Executive Chef David Danielson, cocktail tastings by Southern Comfort, el Jimador and Finlandia Vodka; and entertainment by a DJ. The passed food and drink pairings will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The Skye Lounge is located on the fifth floor of the Skye Terrace, which is situated just past the Finish Line and near the start of the Clubhouse turn.
7. The fall weather will be spectacular. Saturday’s National Weather Service forecast for Louisville calls for mostly cloudy skies with a high near 65, which is seven degrees above normal. Sunset will be 5:29 p.m.
8. The design for the 2014 Kentucky Derby mint julep glassware will be revealed in front of the Aristides Garden after Race 4 at 5:57 p.m. Since its inception in 1938, the Kentucky Derby mint julep glass has grown in popularity and is now viewed by many authorities as the leading Derby collectable. The Libbey Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio has manufactured nearly all of the glasses since their inception. Of the nearly 700,000 officially-licensed Kentucky Derby mint julep glasses that are annually produced more than two-thirds of those sold off-track for private parties. There have been many different designs on the glasses over the years, but generally the Twin Spires, the name Kentucky Derby and racehorses have been featured. Since 1949 all previous Derby winners are listed on the glasses, a tradition that has continued (except in 1950, ’52, ’58 and ’69) to the present.
9. The official artwork for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks 140 will be unveiled in the Trackside Winner’s Circle after Race 5 at 6:28 p.m. The official artist, Susan Easton Burns, will be on hand for the reveal of her dynamic portrait of America’s greatest race that is sure to include a profusion of rich color. After the reveal, Burns will be in the Churchill Downs Store near Gate 17 to sign purchased posters.
10. A Churchill Downs-inspired pendant will be unveiled in the saddling paddock after Race 3 at 5:27 p.m. The stunning, custom-made “Inspired Pendant,” created and designed by renowned Kentucky native jewelry artist Darren K. Moore, features 4-karat diamonds and 18-karat gold.
11. Drink up. Levy Restaurants has created a special Spiced Mint Julep for sale at Downs After Dark. The tasty fall libation will be sold in Club 140 and other select locations.
12. Start your holiday shopping early. A merchandise tent featuring the latest apparel for Kentucky Derby 140 will be set up outside Club 140 on the second floor of the Clubhouse. Of course, that merchandise and other selections are available in the Churchill Downs Store located near Gate 17.
13. Free stuff. The Churchill Downs team will distribute light-up (a.k.a. “blinky”) red roses to select guests in Club 140 and other locations around the facility.
14. A sampling of the Garland of Roses for the Kentucky Derby will be on display, courtesy of Kroger. The rose garlands will be in glass cases located inside the Gate 17 entrance and Club 140.
15. Music, music and more music. In addition to Olivia Henken and the Juice Box Heroes, there will be other entertainment around the facility: DJs inside Gate 17 (3-7 p.m.), the Skye Lounge (3-10 p.m.), Millionaires Row 4 and 6 (5:30-9:10 p.m.), the Grand Foyer of the Jockey Club Suites (5:30-9:10 p.m.), as well as live music by Willow Creek on the fifth floor Clubhouse Balcony (5:30-9:10 p.m.).
16. Saturday’s marquee entertainment event has been paired with stellar racing. The 10-race card includes two stellar stakes events for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf: the $175,000 Mrs. Revere (Grade II) for fillies and $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (GIII) for open company. Graded stakes winners I’m Already Sexy, Nellie Cashman and Tapicat headline an ultra-competitive and full field of 14 three-year-old fillies that were entered in the 23rd running of the Mrs. Revere. Horses based in Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Florida and Canada have flocked to Louisville to challenge one of North America’s most important grass races for 3-year-old fillies. The Commonwealth Turf features an equally wide-open cast of 13. Frac Daddy, who was a disappointing 16th in this year’s Kentucky Derby, seeks redemption at Churchill Downs and is one of five stakes winners in the 10th renewal of the race. The Commonwealth Turf goes as Race 7 at 7:32 p.m. and the Mrs. Revere is Race 9 at 8:36 p.m.
17. The 10-race card is competitive and features full fields. A total of 113 horses have been entered in the body of the 10 races for a lofty average of 11.3 horses per race. The late 50-cent Pick 4, which asks bettors to select the winners of four consecutive races, has 51 entrants or an average of 12.8 horses per race. The challenging sequence covers Races 7-10 and will begin with the $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (GIII) at 7:32 p.m.
18. Cover charge (general admission) to all Downs After Dark events is $10. Holders of shareholders passes or horsemen licenses and children age 12 and under (when accompanied by an adult) will be admitted free of charge. No one under the age of 18 will be admitted to the track unless they are accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. As usual, Churchill Downs will be open early for simulcast wagering on the second floor of the clubhouse Saturday. General admission will be its regular price of $3 from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Gate 17.
19. There is limited reserved seating still available. Indoor dining packages in Millionaires Row 6 are $59.90 per person and include a scrumptious buffet dinner, reserved seat and official program. Outdoor third-floor box seats are on sale for $20 and include general admission, a box seat in the third-floor clubhouse and an official program. Reserved seating can be purchased online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets (through Friday at noon) or the on-track box office located at the Gate 1 entrance off Central Ave. (open Wednesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 9 p.m.).
20. Because the event coincides with a 7 p.m. U of L football game at nearby Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, attendees are advised to enter Churchill Downs via Westbound I-264 off Southern Parkway or Taylor Boulevard. Floyd Street will be closed for stadium parking only. Central Avenue will be open until 5:30 p.m. but traffic is expected to be heavy. At the conclusion of racing, Central Avenue will be closed eastbound at 4th Street. Churchill Downs’ parking lots will open at 2 p.m. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to secure on-site parking and avoid traffic delays. All parking spaces in on-property lots are available on a first-come, first-served basis (free in the Longfield Avenue lot).
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: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on May 3, 2014. The track’s Fall Meet will run from Oct. 27-Nov. 30. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.ChurchillDowns.com.