lone Downs After Dark nighttime racing event of Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall
Meet is Saturday (Nov. 17), and the first of 11 races under the lights at the
historic home of the Kentucky Derby will be 4:30 p.m. (all times Eastern).
by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka, Downs After Dark will have
a “Golden Era” theme in which fans are encouraged to celebrate the “Roaring
20s” by incorporating gold, black and white colors as they make their wardrobe
selections for this exciting night of dining, dancing and racing. Hats,
feathers and pearls are a must for the ladies, while suits topped by fedoras
will be donned by the fellas.
elements that have made the Downs After Dark parties special since 2009 – the
cuisine, fashion, style, music and entertainment – are back.
Downs will be transformed into a Roaring 20s-style estate party, reminiscent of
“The Great Gatsby.” The Aristides Garden will be covered in white lights, and
market lighting will run from the fourth and fifth floor Clubhouse balconies.
Oversized gold metallic ceiling treatments will be seen throughout the dining
rooms. Gold urns with topiary balls, black crystal candelabras, feathered centerpieces
and beaded lamps will be prominent in dining rooms. Also, a five-tiered
fountain will be featured inside Gate 17 with landscaping, topiaries, park
benches and park lights.
St. Louis, a sparkling
musical performance by sisters Emily and Lacy Miller, will present
melodies of the Big Band era on the Paddock Plaza Stage starting at 3:20 p.m.,
featuring tight harmonies, tap dancing and classy retro costuming. Later in the
evening around 8 p.m., the big band sounds of Jack Garrett and The Syndicate
will delight revelers.
sleek and comfortable conversational seating options, cocktail tables, unique
food and beverage stations and music added to the mix, the racetrack –
particularly the paddock area – will have the look and feel of an upscale night
club. All the while, there will be private parties on the Finish Line Suites
and Jockey Club Suites balconies, respectively, with lighted bars and guests
dancing to lively music starting at 6 p.m.
Downs admission gates will open at 3 p.m. The first of 11 races will be 4:30
p.m. and sunset is 5:29 p.m., which means at least seven races will be held
under the lights. The final race is scheduled for 9:36 p.m.
graded stakes races for 3-year-olds will be run Saturday night at 1 1/16 miles
on the Matt Winn Turf Course. Multiple graded stakes winner Centre Court
heads 12 three-year-old fillies for the 22nd running of the $175,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII), which
goes as Race 9 at 8:36 p.m. The ninth running of the $100,000-added Commonwealth
Turf (GIII), which lured an overflow field of 16 for Race 7 at 7:32 p.m., is
headed by Grade I winner King David.
of the 11 races on the card are at least 1 1/16 miles or longer, which means a
plethora of two-turn races will start and finish in front of the enthusiastic
charge (general admission) to all Downs After Dark events is $10. Holders of
shareholders passes or horsemen licenses and children age 12 and under (when
accompanied by an adult) will be admitted free of charge. No one under the age
of 18 will be admitted to the track unless they are accompanied by a parent or
ticket packages are available for purchase online at churchilldowns.com/tickets
– Churchill Downs’ convenient online box office platform. Customers can also
call the Churchill Downs switchboard at (502) 636-4400, or visit the Gate 1 box
office, which is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The box office will
have extended hours on Saturday from 12-9 p.m.
will have the option to taste non-traditional racetrack offerings, and evening
appetites will be satisfied by scrumptious premium dining offerings available
for purchase inside Millionaires Row, the Matt Winn Dining Room, Skye Terrace
and other locations.
seating is scarce, as Millionaires Row 4, Millionaires Lounge 6, Skye Terrace 4
and 5 and the Matt Winn Dining Room are near capacity. Select $59.90 packages
are still available in Skye Terrace 6, which includes admission, a program, an
indoor seat with an outdoor viewing balcony and the Chef Table dinner.
Meanwhile, third floor Clubhouse box seats, which include admission, can be
reserved in from Sections 313-320 for $20.
new Plaza Balcony that overlooks the new Paddock Plaza will be open to the
public for the first time on Saturday. Part of renovations that include the new
Paddock Plaza as well as ongoing construction on The Mansion and a new Media
Center, the Plaza Balcony will provide outdoor covered seating for 218 people
(36 tables of six), complete with flat screen TVs, ceiling fans, lights and
close proximity to the Jockey’s Quarters. It overlooks the Paddock Plaza, which
is the new 30,000-square-feet of open gathering space for general admission
patrons made possible by razing the underutilized and outdated Paddock Pavilion
races, the popular text-to-win sweepstakes promotion “Bet or No Bet,” sponsored
by Thorntons, will return to randomly ask patrons to choose between a
$100 Thorntons gift card or to place a free $1,000 win bet on a horse in the
upcoming race. The final race of the night is scheduled for 9:36 p.m. but the
party will continue in the paddock and Plaza areas until 10:30 p.m.
National Weather Service forecast for Saturday calls for sunny skies
with a high near 55 (right on par with the average temperature for the date),
followed by mostly clear skies in the evening with a low around 33. Churchill
Downs has added several portable outdoor heaters in select locations, such as
the Paddock area and Clubhouse and Jockey Club Suites balconies, to help keep
outdoor patrons warm.
usual, Churchill Downs will be open early for simulcast wagering on the second
floor of the clubhouse Saturday. General admission will be its regular price of
$3 from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Gate 17.
parking at Churchill Downs – free in the Longfield Avenue lot and $3 in all
other lots – will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. There also
will be free satellite parking and shuttle service from Papa John’s Cardinal
Stadium starting at 5 p.m. with drop off and pick up throughout the evening.
All Churchill Downs employees will be directed to park in the track’s infield
(enter through Longfield tunnel).
Downs has secured the services of Louisville Metro Police Department officers
and traffic guards to monitor area traffic on Central Avenue and other nearby
streets to advance ingress and egress. LMPD will control traffic signals, turn
lanes and pedestrian traffic and partial road closures are possible if it
becomes necessary because of heavy traffic.
After Dark – the perfect blend of an upscale night on the town with the
excitement of thoroughbred racing – has been a spectacular success while
showcasing live racing with ancillary entertainment such as food, fashion,
music and parties. So far, 438,000 horseplayers and entertainment-seekers have
attended the 17 special nighttime programs since June 2009. The two nighttime
events during the Fall Meet have averaged 15,651 fans – three times the norm
for a Friday afternoon in the fall – and $6.1 million in total wagers ($935,000
on-track and $5.2 million off-track). Event sponsors include Stella Artois,
Finlandia Vodka, RAM and Thorntons.