Thistledown Preparing for 2017 Ohio Derby Day

JACK Thistledown Racino is going all out for the 83rd running of the Ohio Derby on Saturday, June 24. In addition to heart-pounding, live racing action, the day will feature plenty of fun and excitement for the entire family. 

As the biggest day on Ohio's racing calendar, the Ohio Derby is cause for celebration. Racing and gaming fans alike will be delighted from the moment they step inside the newly-remodeled racino. The $80 million makeover included the stunning Jewel Box entryway, a 1,000-space parking garage, expanded gaming options, two new restaurants - the Millcreek Grille and Nonna Pazza - Cleo's sports bar, the grand atrium and two plant-covered "living walls."

Derby Day fun begins on the track apron at 12:30 p.m. with the Morning Glory Club, which will provide insight into the day's races from handicappers Rich Ruda and Matt Hook. Fans on the apron will enjoy live music throughout the day as well, with The Travelin' Johnsons on stage from 3 to 7 p.m. and Grammy Award-winning R&B group, The Dazz Band, performing from 7 to 8:30 p.m. 

Several new venues will offer live entertainment throughout the day. From 3 to 7 p.m., the George Hartwig Duo will perform at the Jewel Box entrance, Mick and the Britt Trio will be in the atrium and the Logan Wells Trio will perform in Cleo's. The party will continue into the night with Old Skool in Slush Bar from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Children are welcome and can play in the Monster Slide Bounce House and take part in the balloon giveaway. Meanwhile, adults can wager on the races, enter in the JACK brand barbecue sauce giveaway and enjoy the Ohio Derby signature drink - served in a commemorative glass - for $8 and beer specials for $3. Adults and kids alike can take part in riding the Euclid Beach Rocket Car and meeting the Cleveland Cavaliers Cavs Girls and Scream Team. 

Hungry guests will enjoy a variety of food truck options on the apron, such as 216 Bistro, Retro Dog and Jackpot Chicken. Those looking for a more intimate dining experience can take advantage of the famous Ohio Derby Buffet in Silks - an elegant sixth-floor dining room that offers panoramic views of the track. Priced at $26 per person, the buffet features a carving station with smoked beef brisket, smoked pork loin, grilled bratwurst and smoked chicken. Reservations are available by calling 216-662-8600.

With its $500,000 purse and renewed Grade 3 status, the Ohio Derby is expected to draw top 3-year-old Thoroughbreds starting the competitive summer season, including Kentucky Derby contenders. The Ohio Derby undercard features two $75,000 stakes: the George Lewis Memorial Stakes, also run at 1 1/8 miles, and the 1 1/16-mile J. William Petro Memorial Handicap.

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