A colorful new mural outside Churchill Downs’ Junior Jockey Club inside the Gate 10 entrance will be featured Saturday afternoon, and children and families will have an opportunity to name the artwork and meet the artist this weekend.
Bobby E. Wheeler, a 35-year-old Louisville native, began work on the vibrant mural in July and it was completed in time for the start of Churchill Downs’ 121st Fall Meet. The artwork features four horse caricatures in a starting gate with a powder blue sky and white clouds with hidden images in the clouds.
Wheeler, whose works have included logo designs, murals for local recording studios, original paintings and portraits for family and friends, was inspired to create the mural during a visit to Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet.
“I always hoped to do noted artwork for something special in my hometown,” Wheeler said. “I was visiting the Junior Jockey Club with my twin daughters Michaiah and Emerald, and struck up a conversation with (Churchill Downs guest services representative) Diane Burton. While the girls played, we talked about my passion for art and I noticed this blank brick wall outside the Junior Jockey Club. We talked about painting a happy mural for the kids and the rest is history. I hope everyone, especially the children, enjoys this mural as ‘their own.’ ”
A “Meet The Artist” event will take place at Saturday from 1:30-3 p.m. Wheeler will be on hand at that time Saturday and Sunday for a meet-and-greet. Also, there will be contest for children age 12 and younger to name the mural with the winner receiving a special prize.
Located near the Guest Services Booth inside Gate 10, the Junior Jockey Club is a true “Kids Zone” that features activities such as crafts, art projects, games and tours. Children visiting the Junior Jockey Club this weekend will receive a complementary fun-filled gift bag.
Churchill Downs’ popular mascot, “Churchill Charlie” also will make a special visit between 2-2:30 p.m. Parents are encouraged to bring their camera to catch a picture with “Churchill Charlie” and their children. Parents or a guardian must accompany children at all times.
In addition to this weekend’s festivities, the schedule of Fall Meet Junior Jockey Club events includes:
* Saturday, Nov. 20: Make a Scarecrow and Watch a Movie
* Sunday, Nov. 21: Make a Scarecrow and Watch a Movie
* Friday, Nov. 26: String beads and Bingo with Fun Prizes
* Saturday, Nov. 27: String Beads and Bingo with Fun Prizes
* Sunday, Nov. 28: Make a Christmas Wreath and participate in the Christmas Parade with Santa Claus
Churchill Downs’ Fall Meet, featuring world-class horse racing, continues its 21-day run through Sunday, 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 ChurchillDowns.com. [Note: Interested media may contact Wheeler, an independent artist, at (502) 712-3574 or firstname.lastname@example.org].
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 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2011. The track’s 2010 Fall Meet is scheduled for Oct. 31-Nov. 28. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5, 2011. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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