The simulcast of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (Grade I) and the bid by Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) runner-up and Preakness (GI) winner Exaggerator to win two of the three jewels of racing’s 2016 Triple Crown tops the roster of events at Churchill Downs Racetrack during a four-day racing week that gets underway on Thursday, June 9.
Before Saturday’s opportunity to celebrate the conclusion of the 2016 Triple Crown series, the racing week begins with its Twilight Thursday program at 5 p.m. (all times Eastern) on June 9 that offers eight races, six of the region’s finest food trucks and live music on The Plaza stage.
Twilight Thursday’s racing also offers fans another opportunity to pursue Churchill Downs’ still-growing 20-cent minimum Single 6 Jackpot wager, which has a carryover pool that has grown to $514,841 over 17 days. The Single 6 will pay out its entire pool only if there is a single winning ticket, but 90 percent of each day’s betting pool is returned to bettors when there is no individual winner. The remaining 10 percent then goes into the Single 6 carryover pool for the next day’s racing.
Twilight Thursday’s Single 6 Jackpot sequence begins in Race 3, which has a scheduled post time of 5:58 p.m.
Saturday’s Belmont Stakes simulcast is part of an 11-race program headlined by the 40th running of the $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (GIII), a 1 1/16-mile race on the Matt Winn Turf Course for fillies and mares ages 3 and up. Post time for the first of Saturday’s live races is 12:45 p.m. The Belmont Stakes simulcast occurs after Saturday’s final live race and has a scheduled post time of 6:32 p.m.
Fans can celebrate the special day and the conclusion of the 2016 Triple Crown series with the Belmont Jewel, the official drink of the Belmont Stakes. The Belmont Jewel – which includes Woodford Reserve bourbon, lemonade, pomegranate juice and lemon zest – will be available in a commemorative 2016 Belmont Stakes glass at locations throughout the track. Also, Levy Restaurants will serve a special hot pastrami sandwich at the Courtyard Grill, and New York-style pizza and a New York hot dog will be available for purchase in the Food Court on the second floor of the Clubhouse.
General admission on Belmont Stakes Saturday is $5 and box seats start at $10. General admission is $3 on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Reserved seats are available for Saturday and every day of the Spring Meet at www.churchilldowns.com/tickets.
Along with Exaggerator, the Belmont Stakes field will include Kentucky Derby participants Suddenbreakingnews (5th), Destin (6th) Brody’s Cause (7th), Lani (9th), Creator (13th) and Trojan Nation (16th). Also scheduled to compete in the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion” is Churchill Downs-based Cherry Wine, the runner-up in the Preakness.
This week’s edition of the popular Twilight Thursday celebration at Churchill Downs will feature live music on the Plaza Stage by Colin Elmore and the Danville Train. Food trucks scheduled for the Plaza include ¡Holy Molé!, Johnny’s Diner Car, Longshot Lobsta, Mark’s Feed Store, Red Top Gourmet Hot Dogs and Zoom Zoom Yum.
The first of Thursday’s eight races is scheduled for 5 p.m. but the live music begins and the food truck offerings are available when admission gates open at 4 p.m.
Nine races and an opportunity for early wagering on the Belmont Stakes will highlight the Friday, June 10 Churchill Downs racing program. Advance wagering on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes will be available through the Belmont Park simulcast. Friday also doubles as “Senior Day” where seniors age 60 and up can enjoy a day at the races, including lunch, in Millionaires Row 4 for $24, but the event is already sold out. Friday’s post time for the first live race at Churchill Downs is 12:45 p.m.
The week’s racing and special events conclude Sunday, June 12 with 10 races, an opportunity for fans to enjoy the delicious new Stakes and Eggs Brunch in the Stakes Room and a bid for individual fans to earn prize money while displaying their handicapping prowess in the weekly “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Contest.
The sumptuous brunch and Sunday at the races is available for $45 for adults and $22 for children 12 and up. The Stakes and Eggs Brunch begins each Sunday with the opening of the Churchill Downs admission gates at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are available online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets or by calling (502) 636-4450.
Sunday’s “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Contest will again be conducted in the track’s ITW on the second floor of the Clubhouse at the top of the Gate 17 escalators. Registration is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the contest based on mythical $2 wagers will focus on Races 3-8. The first-place prize in the “Who’s the Champ?” Contest is a $1,000 cash voucher, with a $500 voucher going to the runner-up and $200 to the contest’s third-place finisher.
The entry fee for the Who’s the Champ? Contest is $35 or just $30 for TSC Elite members.