Churchill Downs will end its 2011 Spring Meet with a bang. The spring finale of “Downs After Dark” Presented by Budweiser Select is Friday (tonight) at 5 p.m. EDT (one-hour earlier than previously scheduled) and the 13-race card is billed as “The White Party” in which on-track guests are encouraged to wear an all-white wardrobe.
The nighttime extravaganza will segue into the “Red, White and Blues Weekend” Presented by GE. Over the final three days of the meet – Saturday through Monday’s Fourth of July closing day program – Churchill Downs will offer special all-day $1 Budweiser drafts and $1 hot dogs on the bricks of the paddock area. Also, there will be live blues music on the paddock stage between races each day from 2-6 p.m.: Blonde Johnson (Saturday), V-Groove (Sunday) and Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons (Monday).
There’ll be plenty of patriotic holiday fanfare, too. A display of more than 1,000 U.S. flags will be displayed inside the Gate 10 Jockey’s Garden in conjunction with Flags4Vets, whose primary goal is to place flags on every one of the graves of U.S. veterans buried in U.S. military cemeteries around the world.
Giant 1,500- and 600-foot U.S. flags will be displayed on the grounds and a selection of military vehicles will be present near Gates 10 and 17.
There also will be military re-enlistment, commencement and retirement ceremonies in the Trackside Winner’s Circle, plus live national anthem performances (including the Ladies of Liberty on Monday) and dual-bugler renditions of the musical piece “Taps.”
Also, the Junior Jockey Club will be open daily and there will be letter-writing stations for children to write letters to active soldiers. On Monday, the Boys and Girls Scouts of America will be at admission gates to pass out American Flag stickers to all attendees.
Admission gates on Saturday through Monday will open at 11:30 a.m. and the first race will be 12:45 p.m. daily. There will be 13 races Saturday (including the featured Grade III, $100,000-added Bashford Manor for 2-year-olds at six furlongs), 12 races Sunday and 11 races Monday (including the featured Grade II, $175,000-added Firecracker Handicap for older horses at one mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course).
Additionally, the Spring Meet’s leading jockey, trainer and owners will be saluted between races during Monday’s closing day program, which is scheduled to conclude at 5:55 p.m., well before the commencement of Independence Day fireworks in the community.
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 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012. The track’s 2011 Spring Meet opened April 30 and continues through 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, 2011. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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