Churchill Downs Racetrack will be aglow in pink again for the 138th running of the Kentucky Oaks – America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies on Friday, May 4 and annual celebration of food, fashion and fun – as the springtime event welcomes a new beneficiary in Stand Up To Cancer (“SU2C”) to raise vital funds and awareness for cancer research.
Conducted each year on the eve of the famed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, the Kentucky Oaks is the Derby’s $1 million companion race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles. Patrons are urged to wear pink, the official color of the Oaks, on this special day that continues its “Ladies First” focusand ongoing outreach effort on women’s health issues. The third most attended day of racing in the U.S. – only after the Derby and Preakness – will feature grand Oaks Day traditions such as the emotional and inspiring Survivors Parade presented by Kroger and the Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest. The Kentucky Oaks race, along with additional pre-race programming, will be televised live nationally by the new NBC Sports Network from 5-6 p.m. ET.
Stand Up To Cancer becomes only the second charitable initiative for the Kentucky Oaks since many of those traditions were first introduced in 2009. Acknowledging feedback from many Kentucky Oaks fans, the Churchill Downs marketing team opened a search last year for an organization that focused on funding innovative cancer research, and that represented a broader scope of cancers affecting women and their families.
The Stand Up To Cancer initiative raises funds to accelerate groundbreaking cancer research that will deliver new therapies to patients quickly and save lives through a collaborative effort throughout the cancer research community. The organization’s goal in accelerating cancer research is to help transform the disease from one that takes far too many lives to a disease that people survive.
In a three-year span, Churchill Downs has helped to raise more than $420,000 for cancer research through its Kentucky Oaks Day activities.
“Kentucky Oaks Day is all about the ladies,” Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said. “When our female fans told us that cancer affects their lives in many different ways, we listened and responded with an opportunity for all of our fans to get involved in supporting the research and prevention efforts of the many types of cancers that need our attention. We think this is a really strong fit as Stand Up To Cancer seeks to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments and our exciting day of racing can help put them on the fast track to do just that.”
Churchill Downs will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer for every person in attendance on Kentucky Oaks Day. Last year, the Oaks attracted 110,122 patrons for a day of fun, competition and celebration. Additionally, Churchill Downs will donate $1 from each sale of Oaks Lilies, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, to Horses and Hope. Founded in 2008 by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program, Horses and Hope helps provide breast cancer awareness, education and early detection and treatment referral in Kentucky’s horse racing industry.
“We are so grateful to Churchill Downs for their generous support of Stand Up To Cancer. The Kentucky Oaks is such a prestigious event and we are honored to be the beneficiary,” Stand Up To Cancer co-founder Rusty Robertson said. “Through this collaboration, we will be able to raise much needed dollars to continue accelerating the most promising cancer research.”
New Survivors Parade Fan Moment
One way Oaks Day attendees can show their support is to hold up a pink placard during the Survivors Parade presented by Kroger. A colorful full-page placard will be printed inside each Kentucky Oaks Day racing program and fans can write in the name of a loved one affected by cancer. This show of support and respect as Survivors Parade participants walk down the stretch of the racetrack is sure to make for a wonderful Oaks Day memory for everyone on hand and for those watching at home. Everyone can Stand Up To Cancer!
Survivors Parade presented by Kroger: Online Nominations Now Open
Nominations are now being accepted at KentuckyOaks.com for the 2012 Survivors Parade presented by Kroger. The Survivors Parade provides some of the most memorable and touching moments as female cancer survivors invited by Churchill Downs and SU2C parade along the main track just moments before the running of the Kentucky Oaks.
Guests can nominate themselves, relative or a friend by sharing a brief personal experience that relates to cancer survival:
Fans are encouraged to vote for their favorite and most inspirational stories and the 138 survivors with the most votes will receive two (2) free reserved seats to the Kentucky Oaks and lunch courtesy of Churchill Downs and Levy Restaurants (travel and hotel accommodations not included)
“Pink Out!” The Tradition Continues
The official color of the Kentucky Oaks is pink in celebration of all the ladies. The Pink Out encourages all Oaks attendees to wear pink or incorporate pink into their attire to show their support for cancer survivors. Churchill Downs will be decked out in pink as well, including pink-colored décor, flower beds, flags and jockeys’ and pony riders’ apparel. Churchill Downs bugler Steve Buttleman will sport a pink jacket as he calls horses to the post throughout Oaks Day.
Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest: Win VIP Invitations to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
Ladies in attendance on Kentucky Oaks Day can enter the Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest for the chance to win VIP invitations to New York City for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week along with a Longines timepiece. Females showcasing their finest Kentucky Oaks attire are encouraged to be judged on the “Pink Carpet” inside the Aristides Garden between the seventh and eighth races from 2-3 p.m. ET. Participants will be judged by celebrities, including former World No. 1 tennis star Stefanie Graf, by how well they incorporate pink into their ensemble. Coverage of the contest is scheduled to be broadcast on NBC.
$1 Million Kentucky Oaks
With a $1 million guaranteed purse, the Kentucky Oaks is the most lucrative American horse race for 3-year-old fillies. Twenty-six Oaks winners have gone on to be crowned with an Eclipse Award as North America’s champion 3-year-old filly.
The purse reflects the Oaks’ status and importance as a sports and entertainment event. The race has attracted crowds in excess of 100,000 in 12 of the last 13 years, including an unprecedented 116,046 in 2010, and has set records with more than $11.4 million bet on the race and $37.5 million bet on the entire Oaks card a year ago. To further demonstrate the growth of Oaks Day over the last 30 years, attendance topped 50,000 for the first time in 1981, 75,000 in 1992 and 100,000 in 1999.
About Churchill Downs
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 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. 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.
About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) – a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c) (3) charitable organization – raises funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. SU2C facilitates collaboration among the best and the brightest in the cancer research community. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee conduct rigorous, competitive review processes through which SU2C’s grantees are selected. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C generates awareness and builds grassroots support for this new approach to ending cancer.
Stand Up To Cancer was founded by a group of media, entertainment and philanthropic leaders whose lives have been affected by cancer in significant ways. Members of SU2C’s Executive Leadership Council include Sherry Lansing, chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s (EIF) Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation; EIF President and CEO Lisa Paulsen; Katie Couric; EIF Senior Vice President Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; Pam Williams, partner at Laura Ziskin Productions; and nonprofit executive Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin, a legendary film producer who executive produced the 2008 and 2010 SU2C telecasts, was also a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer.