If you can’t make it to Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., the next best place to watch Saturday’s ACC showdown between the University of Louisville Cardinals and Virginia Cavaliers is Churchill Downs.

The legendary Louisville racetrack has a 10-race program and will simultaneously stage a Football Watch Party for U of L fans in its 30,000-square-foot outdoor Plaza adjacent to the saddling paddock.

The ACC Network’s telecast will be shown uninterrupted with volume on the giant 16’ x 20’ Plaza video screen, and portions of the game will air on the massive Big Board between races.

Bleacher seating is being added to the Plaza and there’ll be a tailgate-like atmosphere, complete with cornhole and other games, a Plaza Grill and game-time drink specials – cold $2 Bud/Bud Light, $3 Stella Artois, $1 Pepsi products and bottled water. 

College students with a current student ID will be admitted free of charge. Paid general admission is $3.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m., the Louisville game starts at 12:30 p.m. and the first race is 12:45 p.m. The featured racing event is the $100,000-added Open Mind, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares that goes as Race 9 at approximately 4:55 p.m.

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Other activities this weekend at Churchill Downs, which is in the second week of its four-week September Meet:

Churchill Downs Friday Happy Hour

Friday, Sept. 12, 4-7 p.m.

The best way to start the weekend this September is to take advantage of Churchill Downs’ Friday Happy Hours.

This Friday from 4-7 p.m., guests can enjoy live racing plus cold drink specials and live music in the Plaza. Churchill Downs will serve up cold Bud/Bud Light for $2 and Stella Artois for $3 while country music artist Pamela K. Ward performs on the Plaza stage.

Friday’s 10-race program begins at 2:45 p.m., Happy Hour runs from 4-7 p.m. and the final race is scheduled for 7:27 p.m. General admission is $3.

Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger

Sunday, Sept 14, 11:30 a.m. Gates Open

Sunday is Family Adventure Day Presented by Kroger at Churchill Downs and there’s a surplus of activities for kids of all ages and the entire family.

In anticipation of the Belle of Louisville’s looming 100th Birthday Bash, Churchill Downs will pay special tribute to the steamboat by transforming its Plaza into a family-fun-filled carnival atmosphere featuring a 20-foot replica of the Belle of Louisville, a photo station where families can have their picture taken with the Captain of the Belle of Louisville Mark Doty, and a Belle of Louisville activity tent. The highlight of the day will be the selection of three families to participate in the Belle of Louisville Great Steamboat Race, with the race taking place on the Churchill Downs turf course. Each family will race carrying a large photograph cutout of the Belle of Louisville. As the sponsor of Family Adventure Day, Kroger will mark the celebration by serving up birthday cupcakes to the first 1,000 children.

Family Fun Day activities include:

  • Belle of Louisville Centennial Celebration Activity including Belle replica float and a meet-and-greet with Captain Mark Doty
  • Belle of Louisville Great Steamboat Race featuring three families between races on the turf course
  • 1,000 free Belle of Louisville birthday cupcakes, courtesy of Kroger
  • Stick Horse Races in the Paddock
  • Petting Zoo
  • Pony Rides
  • Themed Inflatables
  • Cornhole
  • Video Game Truck
  • Interactive Sports Games
  • Nine-hole Miniature Golf Course
  • Hula Hoop Contest
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Junior Jockey Club Bingo
  • Kosair Children’s Hospital Activity
  • Kentucky Derby Museum Activities: a meet and greet with the museum’s resident miniature horse Winston, story time and printmaking crafts.
  • Churchill Charlie’s Corner (children under 4)
  • Kona Ice Truck
  • DJ music from Plaza Stage
  • Strolling Magician (1-3 p.m.)
  • Face Painters (1-5 p.m.)
  • Churchill Charlie Walk Around & Dance Party (2-3 p.m.)
  • Family-friendly Pricing at Concessions

Participation in the Family Adventure Day activities requires the purchase of a Family Pavilion Ticket which is $10 for adults or $5 per child and includes gate admission and access to family seating on the Grandstand Terrace. Adults can save $5 by buying wristbands in advance online at www.ChurchillDowns.com. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the first race is at 12:45 p.m. General admission is $3 and reserved box seats are $10.

The new Grandstand Pavilion (including Sections 326-328) has been designated as a family-friendly area for the day where guests can gather for group dining and seating to watch the races. It also allows convenient access to family activities in the Plaza. A Family Pavilion wristband is required to use the area and take part in all Family Adventure Day activities.

Family Adventure Day supports Kosair Children’s Hospital with Churchill Downs donating $1 for each person in attendance at the track. 

Churchill Downs gates open Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Post time for the first race is 12:45 p.m. and the last race runs at 5:27 p.m.

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