The shortest spring meet at Churchill Downs since 1975 will draw to a close on Sunday, July 1st. Without a doubt the marquee weekend, as always, is the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. Those two days saw attendance and wagering records fall and they gave way to mid-May and June and the return of night racing. This year, the spring meet held the night races on Saturday which seemed to suit the public just fine, especially in light of the great weather Louisville has had.
Churchill Downs has a nice closing weekend set up and the entire family can join in on the fun. On Friday, you can head over to the track after work and still catch a few races while enjoying a cold draft beer to kick off the weekend. There will be entertainment and drink specials from 4 to 7 pm, including Stella Draft Beer for $3! The first race of the day goes off at 2:45 pm, and the final race of the evening goes to post at 7:54 pm.
Saturday evening will be the final night racing session of the spring meet. As usual, Churchill Downs becomes the hottest night spot in Louisville with racing under the lights and a festive atmosphere. This weekend will feature live entertainment from Burning Las Vegas. The “White Party” will be the theme for the post-race activities and patrons are encouraged to wear their best white attire and dance the night away under the stars. The race card will also be featuring the $100,000 Grade III Bashford Manor Stakes, which features two-year-old thoroughbreds in the six-furlong event. Throughout the race card, there will also be a Thornton’s promotion called “Bet or No Bet”, which allows for some lucky participants to bet $1,000 on a race or keep a $100 gift card from Thornton’s.
The final day of the meet will be Sunday which always means “Family Fun Day”, sponsored by Kroger. Bring the entire family out for a great day of racing, as well as activities for the kids. Included in the fun is a tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum garden, a meeting with miniature pony, Winston, and horsing around with Churchill Charlie. Adults can participate in the bingo game that takes place between races three and seven. The feature race of the day will be the Grade II Firecracker Handicap for two-year-olds, which will take place on the turf course.
If you are unable to attend the last weekend of the Churchill Downs spring meet, why not seek out a track that is local to you? Smaller tracks are vital to the horse racing industry. The overall health of horse racing cannot be determined by the Triple Crown alone. It must be a culmination of the fans, tracks, owners, trainers, jockeys, and of course, the talented horses, that are bringing horse racing back as a family event. The momentum is there for a horse racing renaissance, so get out there and be a part of it!