Advanced wagering on Saturday’s 136th Preakness Stakes (Grade I) at Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore will be offered all day Friday at Churchill Downs.
Animal Kingdom, who pulled off a 20-1 upset in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on May 7, has been installed the 2-1 morning-line favorite in a full field of 14 entered for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. The Graham Motion-trained colt, who won the Derby in his dirt debut by 2 ¾ lengths over Nehro, will break from post No. 11 and be ridden by John Velazquez.
In addition to Team Valor International’s Animal Kingdom, the Preakness attracted four other horses that ran in the Derby two weeks ago: Mucho Macho Man (third), Shackleford (fourth), Dialed In (eighth) and Midnight Interlude (16th).
The pageantry of the Preakness will be featured prominently at Churchill Downs on Saturday with the simulcast of the 1 3/16-mile race scheduled for 6:18 p.m. ET – immediately after the 11th and final live race at 5:58 p.m. ET.
Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. ET and the first of 11 live races is 12:45 p.m. ET. The first 4,000 fans who visit the Churchill Downs Store inside Gate 17 adjacent to the paddock will receive a free commemorative Animal Kingdom button while supplies last. Black-Eyed Susan specialty drinks will be on tap at Churchill Downs at select locations, plus Dixieland and Big Band music will be performed inside the facility. Also, the Crab Derby returns as select customers will be in crab costumes competing in a race on the Matt Winn Turf Course immediately after Race 5 at 2:55 p.m. ET.
Friday’s feature race at Pimlico is the Grade II, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles. It goes as Race 10 at approximately 4:46 p.m. ET. Similar to the Oaks/Derby Double, Pimlico will offer the Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness double, which requires bettors to pick the winners of both races.
Friday’s 11-race live program at Churchill Downs begins at 2:45 p.m. ET. The revamped Friday Happy Hours presented by Budweiser Select ($2 Budweiser products, frozen specialty drinks and hot dogs in the paddock area from 6-8:15 p.m.) and new postrace Paddock Concert Series, featuring the music of Keller Williams (music that combines the elements of bluegrass, folk, alternative rock and other genres), will be showcased. The concert will begin shortly after the final race around 8 p.m. ET. General admission will be its usual $3 until 7 p.m. but will increase to $10 thereafter.
Reserved ticket packages for the Paddock Concert Series – including a $20 ticket to the Budweiser Select Balcony, which features front-row access, a prime undercover balcony overlooking the paddock and stage, extended drink specials throughout the night and a special gift from Budweiser Select – are available for purchase online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets – Churchill Downs’ convenient online box office platform. Customers also can call the Churchill Downs switchboard at (502) 636-4400.
SATURDAY’S EIGHTH RACE AT CHURCHILL DOWNS TO HONOR OLMSTEAD
For the third consecutive year, Churchill Downs will run the Chuck Olmstead Memorial on Preakness Stakes Day to honor the memory of the popular Louisville newsman who passed away in March 2009 after an aneurysm ruptured in his brain.
The third annual Chuck Olmstead Memorial will be run as Race 8 on Saturday at approximately 4:29 p.m. ET.
Olmstead, who was a 34-year veteran at WHAS-11, was a longtime fan of Thoroughbred racing. Both he and his signature hat were broadcast fixtures in the Churchill Downs paddock on Kentucky Derby.
With tremendous encouragement from the community, Chuck’s widow, Candy Olmstead, has established a special fund in her husband’s memory through Norton Healthcare Foundation to support screenings and education provided by Norton Neuroscience Institute. These screenings will help detect aneurysms before they rupture, increase awareness of symptoms of ruptured brain aneurysms and, perhaps, save lives in the process.
More information can be found and pledges can be made online at ChuckOlmsteadFund.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: 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.