When the popular Downs After Dark nighttime racing program returns to Churchill Downs Friday, June 11, there will be a new twist. Each of the six evening extravaganzas will have a primary theme, beginning with Disco at the Downs.
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 that doubles as Halloween.
Disco at the Downs on June 11 will be a celebration of the 1970s, complete with disco balls and dance competitions throughout the Churchill facility. On-track customers will be encouraged to join in the revelry and dress in their favorite ’70s garb.
On June 12, the day of the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby Alumni Day, the celebration will continue with a salute to the Derby winners from the 1970s, including Triple Crown winners Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978).
The primary themes of the other spring Downs After Dark events are "South Beach" (June 18), "Dress to Impress" (June 25), and "An American Party: Boots, Brew, and BBQ" (July 2).
The first race for each Downs After Dark program during the spring meet will be 6 p.m. EDT. Admission gates will open two hours before the first live race.