Justify to parade Saturday at Churchill Downs

Triple Crown winner to make public appearance this weekend in Louisville.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, June 12, 2018) – Guests at Churchill Downs will be able to get a glimpse of horse racing’s brightest star Saturday night when undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify is celebrated and paraded between races during an action-packed “Downs After Dark Presented by Budweiser” nighttime racing program.

The first race Saturday is 6 p.m. and the 11-race card will showcase five lucrative stakes events, including the prestigious $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.

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The precise timing of Saturday night’s parade and schedule of events will be finalized Wednesday afternoon, but WinStar Farm LLC’s President/CEO and Racing Manager Elliott Walden and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert gave track officials a green light for the public ceremony on Tuesday. The parade will include a walkover on the main track and a visit to the track’s paddock and Woodford Reserve Winner’s Circle.

NBCSN will broadcast live action from Churchill Downs on Saturday night from 8:30-10 p.m. Also, Horse Racing Radio Network will air coverage on 93.9 The Ville in Louisville and Sirius/XM 93 from 8-10 p.m.

A public appearance by Justify adds to an already dynamic evening.

Justify’s connections – owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners; Baffert; Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith; and breeder John Gunther – will be on-hand Saturday to receive their engraved Kentucky Derby 144 trophies. Guests in attendance Saturday will be able to take pictures with the trophies beforehand from 5-7 p.m.

Also, the first 5,000 fans in attendance Saturday will receive a free commemorative print of Justify that celebrates his Triple Crown achievement.

The theme for Saturday night’s Downs After Dark is “Art of the Horse” and guests are encouraged to dress in pastels and bright colors to fit the art theme and summer weather. Churchill Downs, Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and Louisville Visual Art have partnered to create a Breeders’ Cup Artwork Exhibit, which includes an opportunity for one local artist to be showcased as the Official Artist of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Five finalists will have their artwork on display in the Plaza on Saturday and guests may vote for their favorite.

The evening’s entertainment includes music on the Plaza Stage courtesy of Free Soul Effect and Mojo Flo.

Entries and post positions for Saturday’s races will be finalized Wednesday, but some of horse racing’s top stars are expected to compete. Both the Stephen Foster Handicap and the $200,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (GII) are part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series. The winners of the Foster and Fleur de Lis will be assured berths in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) and $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff starting gates, respectively, on Nov. 2-3 at Churchill Downs.

Other stakes on the card are the $200,000 Wise Dan (GII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf; the $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; and the $100,000 Regret Stakes (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Admission gates will open Saturday at 5 p.m. General admission is $10, box seats are $25 and reserved dining packages are $73. All ticket options can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.

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Alex Risen joined the ABC 36 News team in October of 2011 as ABC 36’s Weekend Sports Anchor/ Sports Reporter. Alex can also be seen Friday nights co-anchoring the Highschool Highlight Reel. Alex started out in the broadcast business while still in college at the University of Kentucky, heading up the school’s daily student news network as the Sports Director. He made his commercial televsion debut in May of 2011 while at WYMT in Hazard, Kentucky as co-host of a weekly, half-hour high school sports program previewing area schools’ games on Friday nights and as a morning sports anchor. Alex has also spent time as an intern at ESPN in the Statistics and Analysis department, as a production assistant for NBC Sports horse racing and Sunday Night Football productions, and as an intern for WLKY in his hometown of Louisville, KY. Alex graduated from Saint Xavier High School in 2007 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Kentucky in 2010 where he graduated magna cum laude from the Honors Program. He’s excited to be covering his passion in his home state and make Central Kentucky his home for years to come. Alex can be reached at ARisen@wtvq.com