- Churchill Downs
- 700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY
- (502) 636-4400
Evening racing is back for a popular fifth season at America’s most famous racecourse. Held the last three Saturdays in June, gates open at 4 p.m. and the first of eleven races posts at 6 p.m. The setting is beautiful Churchill Downs, located less than six miles from the heart of the city and easily reached by car, shuttle bus or taxi.
The Downs After Dark: Racing and More
Night racing debuted at Churchill Downs in 2009 and became an immediate success. The idea was to combine the excitement of thoroughbred racing with a gala summer evening out in one of America’s most beautiful locations. Each Downs After Dark evening features eleven races, at least one of which is a stakes race. Visitors can simply enjoy the races or buy a package ticket that includes the Chef’s Table dinner. The action begins at 6 p.m. and the last race posts at 11:10 p.m. After the track is cleared there’s a party with live music and dancing. The event is suitable for all ages, including families. To add to the fun, each evening is built around a different theme, and people are encouraged to coordinate their attire to the theme of the night. Also returning this year is Thorntons Bet or No Bet challenge, in which four lucky ticket holders are given a chance to bet $1,000 on the horse of their choosing or walk away with a $100 gift card.
Themes and Races for 2013
Saturday, June 15: Summer gets off to a flying start with the Downs third annual White Party and four big stakes races: the Matt Winn, the Regret, the Fleur de Lis Handicap and the Stephen Foster Handicap.
Saturday, June 22: The Downs celebrate the lingering sunsets of the summer with a Fan Vote theme, and a fun and a gala night under the stars are guaranteed. The Debutante is the stakes race of the evening.
Saturday, June 29th: With Independence Day just around the corner, the theme is Star Spangled Night, and guests are encouraged to wear red, white and blue. Two stake races, the Firecracker Handicap and the Bashford Manner, make for a perfect holiday evening.
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Historic Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs opened in 1875 and has hosted its signature race, the Kentucky Derby, every year since. Several changes in the 1895 brought about the track as fans know it today. The familiar twin-spires grandstand was complete and the course was shortened to 1.25 miles. The tradition of decking the winning horse and jockey in roses was also introduced that year, giving the Derby its well-known nickname, the run for the roses. Churchill Downs became a National Historic Landmark in 1986 and a multi-year renovation was completed in 2005. One of the highlights of the new clubhouse is a 36-foot mural by artist Pierre Bellocq depicting winning Derby jockeys. A Downs After Dark evening is the perfect way to enjoy this historic setting.