LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – Churchill Downs is bringing back its “Downs After Dark” evening racing programs this summer, but with a new twist. Each of the six evening extravaganzas will have a primary theme, beginning with “Disco at the Downs” on Friday, June 11th.
Downs After Dark, which attracted an average of nearly 30,000 fans during its three-date market test in 2009, will be staged on the final four Fridays of the 42-day Spring Meet. Also, there are two dates scheduled for later in the year, including opening night of the 20-day Fall Meet which doubles as Halloween.
“Disco at the Downs” on Friday, June 11 will be a celebration of the 1970s, complete with disco balls and dance competitions throughout the vast Churchill Downs facility. On-track customers will be encouraged to join in the revelry and dress in their favorite ’70s garb. The women likely will be wearing floral pattern blouses, maxi dresses, halter neck catsuits, spandex hot pants and ultra short shorts. Meanwhile, the men are sure to be sporting tight-fitting cheesecloth shirts with big collars and bright patterns as well as bell bottom jeans and polyester flared trouser suits.
The ’70s celebration will continue into Saturday, June 12 when Kentucky Derby Alumni Day returns for the Stephen Foster Handicap Day program with a salute to the Derby winners from that decade, including Triple Crown winners Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978).
Downs After Dark also will have themed celebrations around the Fourth of July and Halloween. The Friday, July 2 program is dubbed “An American Party: Boots, Brew & BBQ,” which will have a country/Americana ambiance with a regional beer garden and street party feel to kick-start the holiday weekend. On Sunday, Oct. 31, Churchill Downs will kickoff its Fall Meet and the start of Breeders’ Cup World Championships week with a “Spirits & Spires” Halloween costume party.
The other three Downs After Dark events will have a “South Beach” (June 18), “Dress to Impress” (June 25) and “Home for the Holidays” (Nov. 19) flavor.
The first race for each Downs After Dark program during the Spring Meet will be 6 p.m. ET. The two Fall Meet programs will begin at 4:30 p.m. Admission gates will open two hours before the first live race.
Cover charge (general admission) to all Downs After Dark events is $10. Holders of shareholders or horsemen passes, as well as select Twin Spires Club members (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze members only) and children age 12 and under (when accompanied by an adult) will be admitted free of charge. (Note: season passes are not valid for Downs After Dark events).
A special discounted general admission pass for entrance on all six nights is available for $45 (a $15 savings).
Customers also have the opportunity to purchase a special $20 package that includes general admission, a box seat in the third-floor clubhouse and an official program.
Additionally, Downs After Dark packages in Millionaires Row are available for $59.90 and include a reserved seat in Millionaires Row, an official program, buffet dinner and live entertainment from 4-7 p.m.
A one-time-only “Dinner by Design” package is available for the June 11 debut. For $100, guests will enjoy a five-course dinner with premium wine pairings developed by Levy Restaurants’ Chef Jo-Jo Doyle and a special Louisville guest chef in the Stakes and Aristides Rooms on the fourth floor of the Clubhouse.
All reserved ticket packages are available for purchase online at tickets.churchilldowns.com – Churchill Downs’ new and convenient online box office platform.