Churchill Downs will be the scene of a charitable fundraising roast and salute to legendary jockey Pat Day this Saturday.The "What A Difference A Day Makes" dinner and roast, sponsored by Commonwealth Bank & Trust Company, will honor Day for a remarkable 32-year career in the saddle in which he earned 8,803 victories – a total that ranks fourth on racing's all-time win list. His total includes a victory in the 1992 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aboard Lil E. Tee. Day, who retired in August, is a four-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top jockey, a member of racing's Hall of Fame, and the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs and Keeneland.Saturday's festivities are scheduled in the Triple Crown Room in the Churchill Downs Jockey Club Suites. The evening will begin with a reception featuring non-alcoholic drinks at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7:30 and the roast slated for 8:30. Those scheduled to "roast" the guest of honor include Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who teamed with Day to win races in both the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup; retired jockey Patricia Cooksey, the all-time leading female jockey at Churchill Downs; and Doc Danner, Day's agent over the final 12 years of his career.Admission to the evening is $200 per person, with $70 of each ticket being tax deductible as a charitable gift. Tickets may be purchased by calling Jennifer Warren at (502) 636-4581 or by calling Churchill Downs at (502) 636-4400.Proceeds from the evening have been earmarked for charities that include the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America and Mom's Closet, a resource center for single mothers run by Day's wife, Sheila.
Day, who selected the charities that would benefit from the dinner, decided this week to also allocate a portion of the evening's proceeds to the victims of last week's tornado that battered Kentucky's Ellis Park and communities in Evansville, Ind., as well as the two Louisville families that recently lost four children in a tragic mobile home fire. The parents of the victims were employees of trainers at Churchill Downs and its Trackside training center.