LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 26, 2008) – Trackside at Churchill Downs will open early at 9 a.m. (all times Eastern) on Saturday, March 29, to import the six lucrative stakes races that comprise the 13th annual Dubai World Cup program from Nad Al Sheba Race Course in the United Arab Emirates.
The $21 million extravaganza is anchored by the world’s richest race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup (Group I), which lured North America’s reigning “Horse of the Year” Curlin.
The Dubai World Cup, scheduled as the seventh race at 1:30 p.m., culminates the action-packed program. The first import will be the $1 million Godolphin Mile (GII), which is carded as the second race at 9:40 a.m., and is followed by the $2 million UAE Derby (GI) at 10:15 a.m.; the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (GI) at 10:55 a.m.; the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (GI) at 11:55 a.m.; the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (GI) at 12:40 p.m.; and Dubai World Cup. Win, Exacta, Trifecta and Pick 3 wagering will be offered.
Trackside at Churchill Downs will offer free general admission until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. After 11:30 a.m., general admission is $2, but only $1 for Twin Spires Club members and seniors. Also, a $4.75 breakfast special – featuring eggs, sausage or bacon, biscuits and gravy, hash browns and coffee or juice – will be on sale in the food court on the second floor of the clubhouse.
Large fields have gathered for the Dubai World Cup program as 86 horses were entered Wednesday, including 13 for the marquee event. In addition to the Steve Asmussen-trained Curlin, who landed post 12, the Dubai World Cup attracted Clark Handicap (GII) champ A.P. Arrow, Great Hunter and Well Armed.
The roster of winners for the 1 ¼-mile Dubai World Cup includes Cigar (1996), Singspiel (1997), Silver Charm (1998), Dubai Millennium (2000), Captain Steve (2001), Street Cry (2002), Pleasantly Perfect (2004), Roses in May (2005) and Invasor (2007).
Other U.S.-based stars expected to compete on the Dubai World Cup undercard include Barbecue Eddie (Dubai Golden Shaheen), Barcola (Godolphin Mile), Benny the Bull (Golden Shaheen), Better Talk Now (Dubai Sheema Classic), Bushwacker (Dubai Golden Shaheen), Diamond Stripes (Godolphin Mile), Esperamos (Dubai Golden Shaheen), Idiot Proof (Dubai Golden Shaheen), Massive Drama (UAE Derby), Notional (Godolphin Mile), and Spring House (Dubai Sheema Classic).
In addition to Massive Drama, the 1 1/8-mile UAE Derby attracted Triple Crown nominees Numaany, a Godolphin runner who won at Aqueduct last fall, and the Jeremy Noseda-trained Strike the Deal, who was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Later on Saturday afternoon, Kentucky Derby 134 hopefuls will contest the $1 million Florida Derby (GI) at Gulfstream Park. Featured participants in the 1 1/8-mile race include Big Brown, Elysium Fields and Hey Byrn.
Customers planning to attend Trackside at Churchill Downs on Saturday are recommended to enter the facility via Taylor Boulevard. Nearby roadways, including Central Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets, are scheduled for closure between 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to accommodate the Papa John’s 10 Miler.
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 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet is set for April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.