Area college students will be the benefactors of Churchill Downs’ first Downs After Dark nighttime racing and entertainment event during the track’s inaugural September Meet.
Fans are encouraged to express their passion and dress in support of their favorite school on Saturday, Sept. 7 as Churchill Downs is transformed into Louisville’s ultimate nighttime hot spot for “Downs After Dark: College Rivalry Night” Presented by Finlandia Vodka.
That night, Churchill Downs will award $10,000 in scholarships. Each fan that passes through admission gates will be asked which collegiate team they support. At night’s end, the school with the most votes will be awarded $5,000 in scholarships. Additionally, the runner-up will receive $3,000 in grants, while the third-place finisher will get $2,000.
College Rivalry Night comes a week in advance of the 26th Governor’s Cup showcasing the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky football programs, so it’s certain to be the unofficial kickoff of a week filled with trash talk between the bitter in-state rivals.
All colleges and universities are eligible for the scholarships. In addition to U of L and UK, area colleges such as Bellarmine University (Louisville), Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, Ky.), Indiana University (Bloomington, Ind.), Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, Ky.), Jefferson Community and Technical College (Louisville), Northern Kentucky University (Highland Heights, Ky.), Morehead State University (Morehead, Ky.), Murray State University (Murray, Ky.), Indiana University Southeast (New Albany, Ind.), Spalding University (Louisville), Kentucky State University (Frankfort, Ky.) and Simmons College of Kentucky (Louisville) are expected to draw support.
Again, the benefactors of the campuses that receive the most votes will be the students by means of $10,000 in scholarships. Be sure to share your enthusiastic and intense school pride.
Churchill Downs’ celebration under the lights is sure to have the atmosphere of a tailgate party in its spacious 30,000- square-foot Plaza, complete with live music, unique food and drink offerings, corn hole games, a football toss, cheerleaders and more.
Admission gates will open at 4 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the first of 11 live races will begin at 6 p.m. ET. The final live race will be 11:10 p.m. and the on-track party will continue in the Plaza until 11:30 p.m.
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.
Reserved seating is available. Indoor dining packages in Millionaires Row are $59.90 per person and include a delectable buffet dinner, reserved seat and official program. Outdoor third-floor box seats are $20 and include general admission, a box seat in the third-floor clubhouse and an official program. Tickets can be purchased online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.
The marquee entertainment event is coupled with stellar racing action. Four of the 11 races will be stakes events, including two important $150,000 fixtures for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. The Iroquois (GIII) will kick-off the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, while the Pocahontas (GII) launches the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks.” Also, both races are Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge events. Additionally, top milers will compete in the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII), and fillies and mares will contest the $100,000-added Locust Grove over 1 1/16 miles.
College Rivalry Night is the centerpiece of opening week activities for Churchill Downs’ inaugural September Meet. The track’s historic boutique meet – the first of its kind in 139 years – will be conducted over 12 dates every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between Sept. 6-29. A second Downs After Dark event will be staged on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Churchill Downs will host the City’s Best Happy Hours! with drink specials, food trucks and live music each Friday in the Plaza from 4-7 p.m. The first of 10 races on Fridays will be 1:45 p.m.
Sundays are Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger. The 10-race programs, which begin at 12:45 p.m., will showcase family-focused activities on the Plaza Balcony throughout the day from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kids 12 and younger are invited to enjoy games, crafts, visits from the popular mascot Churchill Charlie and special weekly events.
The Sept. 14 U of L/UK football game in Lexington will coincide with live racing, so Churchill Downs is hosting a “Governor’s Cup Viewing Party” in the Plaza. Gates will open at 11:30 a.m. and the first of 10 races is 12:45 p.m. Kickoff for the game is noon, and the ESPN telecast will be shown on the giant Plaza video screen with audio.
The four-week September Meet at Churchill Downs will showcase eight stakes races cumulatively worth nearly $1 million. The first running of the $175,000 Homecoming Classic for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 28 is the most lucrative event. Daily purses offered in the condition book average $407,000, according to Director of Racing Ben Huffman.
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, and has two more racing meets in 2013: the first September Meet scheduled for Sept. 6-29 and its Fall Meet, which runs 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.