(June 6, 2008) – Popular Churchill Downs jockeys Miguel Mena and Brian Hernandez Jr. will be featured in the inaugural edition of “Jockey Talk” – a new program at the Louisville racetrack that will allow horse racing fans to mingle with their favorite race riders.
Each Saturday throughout the remainder of the Spring Meet fans will get a chance to meet, visit, receive autographs and take pictures with select Churchill Downs jockeys from 11:30 a.m. to noon (all times Eastern) in the paddock area.
Mena, a 21-year-old native of Peru, began Friday as the third-leading rider at the meet with 33 victories. Louisiana-born Hernandez, 20, won an Eclipse Award in 2004 as North America’s champion apprentice and had nine wins at Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet.
The “Jockey Talk” debut kicks off one of the most anticipated racing dates of the year. Churchill Downs will open admission gates at 11:30 a.m. with the first of 10 live races scheduled for 1:15 p.m.
Kentucky Derby 134 and Preakness Stakes champ Big Brown will attempt to become the 12th horse to sweep horse racing’s Triple Crown in the $1 million Belmont Stakes immediately after the final race at approximately 6:25 p.m.
If Big Brown wins, all fans in attendance will receive a certificate good for a free, limited-edition commemorative Triple Crown print that would be given away on Sunday, June 22. If he doesn’t, fans will receive a coupon good for free general admission to Churchill Downs’ upcoming “Stephen Foster Super Saturday” program on Saturday, June 14, featuring reigning “Horse of the Year” Curlin.
Other Belmont Stakes Day festivities at Churchill Downs include live jazz music by Lexington-based Upshaw Briggs in the paddock area between 3-7 p.m., as well video replays of past Triple Crown sweep attempts and Triple Crown trivia between live races. Also, officially licensed Big Brown merchandise will be sold on-track throughout the day.
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