Continuing a commitment to new Kentucky Oaks Day traditions established two years ago, Churchill Downs Racetrack, the home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, have renewed their partnership to raise funds to aid in breast cancer awareness and research through events on Friday, May 6 – the day prior to the famed “Run for the Roses.”
Kentucky Oaks 137, the Kentucky Derby’s $1 million companion race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles, will once again feature a “Ladies First” theme and a day of events to raise money and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, which leads the global movement for breast cancer research, education, advocacy and community support. The event will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Group’s VERSUS from 5-6 p.m. ET.
For the third consecutive year, Churchill Downs will donate $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure® for every person in attendance on Kentucky Oaks Day, and the hope is to set an attendance record to raise maximum funds for a great cause. The lofty goal was achieved last year when an unprecedented 116,046 attendees flocked to Churchill Downs on Oaks Day.
Additionally, Churchill Downs will donate $1 to Horses and Hope, the breast cancer outreach and awareness initiative in Kentucky’s horse racing industry, from the sale of Oaks Lilies, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks. Horses and Hope was founded in 2008 by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program to identify new opportunities to provide breast cancer awareness, education, and early detection through screening and treatment referral, as well as to raise funds to sustain programs into the future.
Special Kentucky Oaks Day events will include a “Pink Out!” which encourages all Oaks attendees to incorporate pink into their attire for the day to show their support. Also, there will be a Survivors Parade presented by Kroger and a Chambord® Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest.
“When someone in the world dies of breast cancer every 69 seconds, it’s imperative that we fund critical research, spread awareness and educate women about breast health and breast cancer,” said Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. “As the first ‘First Lady of the Oaks’, I was very moved by the generosity and passion Oaks Day supporters have shown this cause. It’s a fun day for a serious mission, and we’re very appreciative to Churchill Downs for making it a reality again this year.”
“We are so pleased and grateful that Kentucky Oaks fans and the Louisville community have embraced our ‘Ladies First’ campaign and partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure,” said Churchill Downs Incorporated President and Chief Executive Officer Robert L. Evans. “Our guests put on their pink apparel and turned out in record numbers to enjoy the Oaks last year, with Kentucky Oaks 136 being the second-highest attended racing event in the country, generating the eighth largest handle for a U.S. racing event in 2010. No other city of this size could support the growing Oaks event and the important causes tied to it the way our hometown of Louisville does.
“This year’s ‘Pink Out’ will be bigger and better than ever,” Evans continued, “and we’re crossing our fingers for another record attendance and the chance to contribute significant funds towards breast cancer awareness, research and prevention. To date, Churchill Downs has contributed $284,000 to the Komen and Horses and Hope charities through our Oaks fund-raising efforts. We look forward to sharing Oaks Day’s special experiences – from the pink carpet fashion contest to the annual Survivors Parade – with our guests, the many of breast cancer survivors who join us, and with a national television audience through the new coverage we will enjoy on NBC Sports Group’s VERSUS Network.”
“Pink Out!” Returns
The official color of both the Kentucky Oaks and breast cancer awareness is pink; therefore, Churchill Downs is staging its third “Pink Out!” at the track on Oaks Day and encouraging all Oaks attendees to wear pink or to incorporate pink into their attire for the day to show their support. Additionally, Churchill Downs’ facility will be adorned in pink on Oaks Day, including pink-colored bunting, flower beds, flags and jockeys’ and pony riders’ apparel. Even Churchill Downs bugler Steve Buttleman will sport a pink uniform as he calls horses to the post throughout the Oaks race card.
Churchill Downs and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® are encouraging survivors and supporters from the region, and around the world, to attend this very special event and, of course, show their support by wearing pink. Even if supporters and survivors can’t make it to Louisville, they can get involved by visiting www.KentuckyDerbyParty.com for a specially designed Susan G. Komen for the Cure® branded invitation and everything needed to throw an Oaks or Derby party as a fundraiser at home.
Community-wide “Pink Fridays” In April to Win Oaks Tickets
To build continued awareness for the Oaks Day “Pink Out!” within the local community, Churchill Downs is encouraging and challenging Louisvillians to wear pink every Friday throughout the month of April. Each week, Churchill Downs’ “Pink Patrol” will make a surprise Friday visit to award two individuals or establishments who excel at “pinking out” their homes, yards, businesses, schools, cars, etc. with pink decorations, trim and products. The winners will receive two box seats for the Kentucky Oaks. Further details about how to participate in the contest can be found at the official Kentucky Oaks Web site, www.KentuckyOaks.com.
Chambord Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest Winner Will Win Trip to Fashion Week in New York City
Ladies of all ages in attendance on Kentucky Oaks Day can enter the Chambord® Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest with the winner receiving an all-expense VIP trip for two to Fashion Week in New York City. Entrants showcasing their finest Oaks attire will be judged on the “Pink Carpet” inside the Aristides Garden. Participants will be judged on how fashionably they incorporate pink into their ensemble.
Online Nomination and Voting Process to Participate in Survivors Parade
The Survivors Parade presented by Kroger has provided some of the most memorable and emotional Kentucky Oaks Day moments each of the last two years as breast cancer survivors invited by Churchill Downs and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® paraded Churchill Downs’ main track shortly before the running of the Kentucky Oaks. The parade will return in 2011 and all survivors will have a chance to participate through an online nomination and voting process at KentuckyOaks.com.
Guests can log onto KentuckyOaks.com and nominate themselves, a relative or friend by sharing a brief personal experience that relates to breast cancer survival. For the first time, guests also may submit an “In Memoriam” nomination to salute the memory of an individual who lost their courageous battle with breast cancer. Once the nomination process concludes Friday, March 18, the stories will be shared online and voting will be open March 19-30. Fans will vote for their favorite and most inspirational stories and the 137 survivors with the most votes will receive two (2) free reserved seats to the Kentucky Oaks and lunch courtesy of Churchill Downs (travel and hotel accommodations not included). Winners will be announced Thursday, March 31.
New Co-Branded Oaks Merchandise Available Online at KentuckyDerbyStore.com
In conjunction with this year’s Kentucky Oaks Day celebration, Churchill Downs and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® have teamed to bring back a popular co-branded line of officially-licensed apparel and gift items available online at www.KentuckyDerbyStore.com. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of co-branded products will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
First Lady of Oaks Announcement Coming Soon
An announcement regarding this year’s First Lady of Oaks will come at a later date. The selection of an official Oaks Day ambassador was introduced in 2009 to honor a special female who has utilized her professional and personal experiences to celebrate women and promote issues and causes that women support. The inaugural First Lady of Oaks in 2009 was Nancy G. Brinker, who established Susan G. Komen for the Cure® to honor her sister who died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36. Last year’s honoree was 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who cruised to a record 20 ¼-length victory in that year’s Kentucky Oaks before beating male rivals in the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward Stakes. Her owners, Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Farm, graciously donated a portion of money won during her 2009-2010 racing campaigns toward Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
Record $1 million Purse for 2011 Kentucky Oaks
This year’s Kentucky Oaks will be the richest in history as the prize money has been raised to $1 million guaranteed, which doubles the purse offered in 2010 and makes it the most lucrative American race for 3-year-old fillies. Last year’s thrilling winner Blind Luck became the 26th Oaks conqueror – and fourth in a row – who would be crowned with an Eclipse Award as North America’s champion 3-year-old filly.
The purse increase reflects the Oaks’ status and importance as a sports and entertainment event. The 2010 event attracted a record crowd of 116,046 and all sources wagering set records with $10.6 million bet on the Oaks race, and $30.6 million was wagered on the entire Oaks card, a jump of 20 percent from the previous record. The Oaks ranked eighth in the U.S. in betting on a single race in 2010, and wagering on the entire Oaks card ranked sixth.
About Churchill Downs
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 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2011. The track’s 2011 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 30-July 4. 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. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
About Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure® is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure® and Komen 3-Day for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, breast health or breast cancer, visit www.komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.
About Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
Chambord® is an infusion of the world’s finest raspberries, blackberries and the exotic flavors of black raspberries, black currant, Madagascar vanilla and cognac. According to legend, Chambord was inspired by a luxurious raspberry liqueur produced for King Louis XIV during his visit to Chateau Chambord in the 17th century. Today, Chambord continues to inspire cocktail and culinary creations around the world.