Churchill Downs Announces Champions for Change as Tuesday Programming for Kentucky Derby Week

Apr 21, 2021 Tonya Abeln- Vice President Corporate Communications

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, April 21, 2021) – Churchill Downs Racetrack announced today that this year’s Kentucky Derby Week programming will introduce “Champions for Change” on Tuesday, April 27. Champions Day presented by TwinSpires annually highlights the history of the Kentucky Derby and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. This year, as part of an industry-wide commitment to increasing diversity and inclusivity in the sport of horse racing, the day will celebrate Black Horsemen in Thoroughbred racing and feature partner organizations whose mission supports equitable opportunities in racing.

The event highlights will include a commemorative print giveaway by The Art of Kacy and artist signing by the internationally-recognized Kentucky artist himself, Kacy Jackson. Louisville artist and printmaker Norman Spencer of CloudHotelPrints will create prints highlighting Black Horsemen who dedicated their career to elevating the sport of horse racing. The Kentucky Derby Museum will also be on hand to feature items from their Black Heritage in Racing Exhibit and Tour.

Organizations that will be featured throughout Champions for Change are: Ed Brown Society, Legacy Equine Academy, Project to Preserve African American Turf History (PPATH), Phoenix Rising, and Simmons College of Kentucky. Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative (GEDDI), a nonprofit foundation focused on building economic wealth for the Black community in the areas of workforce, economic empowerment, supply chain, leadership development and business acceleration, is the charitable beneficiary of the day. This year, Churchill Downs has donated over $200,000 to these nonprofit and educational organizations to support their work in creating more equity in the industry of horse racing.

Last month, Churchill Downs announced a change to the name of the featured overnight stakes race on Champions Day to the $120,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon in honor of the legendary African-American and native Kentuckian who was arguably the greatest jockey American racing has ever known. The 1 ½-mile endurance race for Thoroughbreds age 4 and up was formerly known as Champions Day Marathon.

“Champions for Change is a significant addition to this year’s Kentucky Derby Week programming,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Mike Anderson. “It is the result of months of challenging but necessary conversations where we looked not only within our own organization and at the needs of our community, but also at the sport of horseracing to explore ways we can work together toward more equity. We feel fortunate that others in our industry will join us in this effort next Tuesday and commit to being champions for change.”

Tickets to Champions Day and to join the “Champions for Change” celebration can be purchased at They include Reserved Boxes to General Admission assigned seat starting at $14.


Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”), the world’s most legendary racetrack, has been the home of The Kentucky Derby, the longest continually held annual sporting event in the United States, since 1875. Located in Louisville, CDRT features a series of themed race days during Derby Week, including the Kentucky Oaks, and conducts Thoroughbred horse racing during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. CDRT is located on 175 acres and has a one-mile dirt track, a 7/8-mile turf track, a stabling area, and provides seating for approximately 60,000 guests. The saddling paddock and the stable area has barns sufficient to accommodate 1,400 horses and a 114-room dormitory for backstretch personnel. CDRT also has a year-round simulcast wagering facility.

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