Churchill Downs, host of the May 1 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, have announced a partnership to raise funds to aid in breast cancer awareness and research.
“We want to consider Oaks Day the day that we put ladies first at Churchill Downs and focus on the entertainment, activities, and causes that are important to women,” said Robert Evans, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc. in a March 11 teleconference.
Churchill also made known that NBC Sports will produce a special featuring the food, fashion, and celebrity experience associated with Kentucky Oaks Day to be broadcast on its sister cable network Bravo. The program also will include special on-track events related to the new partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, from 5-6 p.m. EDT May 1. NBC Sports will again broadcast the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) that begins with celebrity red carpet arrivals May 2, at 4 p.m.
Through the new partnership with Susan G. Komen, Churchill Downs will donate at least $100,000 to Komen by dedicating funds from Kentucky Oaks 135 general admission and reserve seating attendance. If the effort to draw Komen survivors and supporters to Oaks 135 sets a new attendance record (current Oaks Day record is 111,243), Churchill Downs will donate $1 for every Oaks attendee, up to a maximum donation of $135,000 to the non-profit organization in 2009.
In addition, both organizations are working together to create special events throughout Oaks Day, including a First Lady of Fashion Contest, Survivors Parade, and a special Kentucky Oaks winner’s circle formed by breast cancer survivors to celebrate the Kentucky Oaks winner’s victory on the track and the survivors’ victories over breast cancer.
Since the official color of both the Kentucky Oaks and breast cancer awareness is pink, Churchill Downs is also staging a “Pink Out” at the track on Oaks Day and encouraging all Oaks attendees to wear pink or to incorporate pink into their attire for the day to show their support.
Churchill Downs will also honor Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder, Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, as the inaugural “First Lady of Oaks” for her dedication to the organization she established to honor her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36.
“We really want to encourage Susan G. Koman for the cure supporters and survivors from all over the state and the world to attend this special day, because just by coming to the Oaks, you truly are helping to fight breast cancer,” said Julie Koenig Loignon, vice president of the entertainment business unit for Churchill Downs Inc.
Churchill Downs will also create special areas within the track where Susan G. Komen for the Cure supporters can gather and enjoy Oaks Day. As an additional fundraising opportunity, Komen supporters will have the chance to purchase tickets to two Infield Suites that will be specifically reserved for them. Komen will receive $250 for every designated Infield Suite ticket sold. Infield Suites or general admission tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.kentuckyderby.com/2009/komen/buy.
If supporters and survivors can’t make it to Louisville for the Oaks, they can still get involved by visiting www.kentuckyderbyparty.com for a specially designed Komen for the Cure branded invitation and everything needed to throw an Oaks or Derby party as a fundraiser at home.
Churchill Downs will also utilize the Kentucky Oaks event to raise money for Horses and Hope, a breast cancer initiative of Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program. For each Oaks Lily drink that is purchased on Oaks Day, Churchill will donate $1 to Horses and Hope. The racetrack anticipates selling at least 30,000 of the cocktails.
“Over the last 27 years, we’ve put out into the community and into scientific research over $1.3 billion,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and chief executive officer of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “We’ve made a lot of headway, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. In the United States, 200,000 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer in one year, and 40,000 people will die. When you hear those statistics, you know the work is not done. I would encourage everyone be a part of this great day…and do your part to end breast cancer forever.”
For more information on the Kentucky Oaks and the partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, please visit http://ww5.komen.org/News.aspx.