The historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs will be glowing pink both inside and out through the month of November as the home of the Kentucky Derby takes part in Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear’s “Horses and Hope initiative to raise breast cancer awareness in the state’s horse industry.
The Twin Spires, which have been become the most recognized symbol in Thoroughbred racing since their completion in 1895, were bathed in pink during October in honor of “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.” With those historic structures serving as a backdrop, Churchill Downs officials joined the First Lady on Thursday, October 30 in announcing that the Spires would retain their pink glow through Nov. 16, when the “Horses and Hope” initiative will be the focus of activity at the track throughout that racing day.
Joining First Lady Jane Beshear for the announcement at the historic track was Churchill Downs President Steve Sexton, and Patricia “P.J.” Cooksey, who currently serves as director of public relations for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, but is also the all-time leading female jockey at Churchill Downs and a breast cancer survivor.
The First Lady’s initiative is focused on the women who work in the barn areas of Kentucky racetracks. “Horses and Hope” is designed to raise breast cancer awareness among that population and to offer screenings to those women, many of whom are either uninsured or underinsured.
“I am so pleased that Churchill Downs has agreed to join my office and the Kentucky Cancer Program in our fight against breast cancer,” Beshear said. “By lighting the Twin Spires pink, we hope to increase public awareness of the importance of breast cancer education and screening. If we can prevent even one woman from suffering this terrible disease, I will consider Horses and Hope a success.”
“The First Lady’s ‘Horses and Hope” initiative is a wonderful program that is sure to raise the level of breast cancer awareness throughout Kentucky’s signature industry, along with the general population,” said Steve Sexton, president of Churchill Downs. “The Twin Spires are recognized worldwide as a symbol of not only the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs, but they also represent life in the state of Kentucky. It was special to have our Spires bathed in pink light in October to salute ‘National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’, and Churchill Downs is honored to support the First Lady’s “Horses and Hope” initiative in our industry by extending this special lighting on the Twin Spires through the month of November."
The activities on “Horses and Hope” Day at Churchill Downs will include free breast cancer screenings and educational information for stable area employees. Educational information will also be available throughout the day to patrons and track employees, and other informational and outreach activities will be scheduled throughout the racing day. Information is available at www.churchilldowns.com.
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 135th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2009. The track’s 2008 Fall Meet is scheduled for Oct. 26-Nov. 29. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times, and will host the international racing championship again on Nov. 5-6, 2010. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.