Continuing a commitment to new Kentucky Oaks Day traditions established a year ago, Churchill Downs Racetrack, the home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby® and Kentucky Oaks®, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, officially renewed their partnership today to raise funds to aid in breast cancer awareness and research through events on Friday, April 30 – the day prior to the famed “Run for the Roses.” The Kentucky Oaks race and activities will again be showcased live by the Bravo Network in partnership with its parent company, NBC Universal.
Kentucky Oaks 136, the Kentucky Derby’s companion event for 3-year-old fillies, will once again feature a “Ladies First” theme and a day of events to raise money and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which leads the global movement for breast cancer research, education, advocacy and community support.
Churchill Downs Incorporated has pledged to donate $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for every person in attendance on Kentucky Oaks Day. Last year’s Oaks attracted a crowd of 104,867. The hope is to set an attendance record to raise maximum funds for a great cause. The attendance record for the Kentucky Oaks is 111,243 attendees.
Additionally, Churchill Downs will donate $1 to Horses and Hope, the breast cancer outreach and awareness initiative in Kentucky’s horse racing industry, from the sale of Oaks Lilies, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks. Horses and Hope was founded in 2008 by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program to identify new opportunities to provide breast cancer awareness, education, and early detection through screening and treatment referral, as well as to raise funds to sustain programs into the future.
Special Kentucky Oaks Day events will include a “PINK OUT,” which encourages all Oaks attendees to incorporate pink into their attire for the day to show their support. Also, there will be a moving Survivors Parade, First Lady of Fashion Contest and a special Kentucky Oaks winner’s circle formed by breast cancer survivors.
Churchill Downs, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Renew Kentucky Oaks Fundraising Partnership
We learned last year just how much of an impact Oaks Day has for raising awareness and funds for breast cancer programs all around the world,” said Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “As the first ‘First Lady of the Oaks’, I was very moved by the generosity and passion for this cause, and so we are very happy to see this new tradition continuing. Oaks Day is a fun day for a serious mission, and we’re very appreciative to all the fans and employees at Churchill Downs for making it a reality again this year.”
“There are two things I won’t soon forget about last year’s Kentucky Oaks: the unbelievable, record-setting 20 ¼-length victory by the spectacular filly Rachel Alexandra, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure survivors’ parade where, in honor of the 135th Kentucky Oaks, 135 cancer survivors accompanied the fillies on their walk from the barn area to the saddling paddock,” said Robert L. Evans, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated, the racetrack’s parent company. “We’re delighted to continue this important partnership to fight breast cancer with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and share in this special celebration through a broad audience on NBC Universal’s Bravo Network.”
“Pink Out” Returns
The official color of both the Kentucky Oaks and breast cancer awareness is pink; therefore, Churchill Downs is staging its second 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. Additionally, Churchill Downs’ facility will be adorned in pink on Oaks Day, including pink-colored bunting, flower beds, flags and jockeys’ and pony riders’ apparel. Even Churchill Downs bugler Steve Buttleman will sport a pink uniform as he calls horses to the post throughout the Oaks race card. .
Churchill Downs and Susan G. Komen for the Cure are encouraging survivors and supporters from the region, and around the world, to attend this very special event and, of course, show their support by wearing pink. Even if supporters and survivors can’t make it to Louisville, they can get involved by visiting www.KentuckyDerbyParty.com for a specially designed Susan G. Komen for the Cure branded invitation and everything needed to throw an Oaks or Derby party as a fundraiser at home.
“Pink Fridays” In April; Schools, Businesses, Restaurants and Boutiques Can Win Oaks Tickets
To build continued awareness for the Oaks Day PINK OUT within the local community, Churchill Downs is encouraging Louisvillians to wear pink every Friday throughout the month of April and challenging area businesses and schools to participate as well. The area schools (week ending April 9), businesses and restaurants (April 16) and boutiques (April 23) that excel at “pinking out” their establishments with pink decorations, trim and products will win one set of third-floor clubhouse box seats for six (6) on Kentucky Oaks Day. Prizes will be awarded weekly and further details about how to participate in the contest can be found at the official Kentucky Oaks Web site, www.KentuckyOaks.com.
New Online Nomination and Voting Process to Participate in Survivors Parade
The Survivors Parade presented by Kroger was arguably last year’s most memorable and emotional event. Breast cancer survivors invited by Churchill Downs and Susan G. Komen for the Cure paraded Churchill Downs’ main track shortly before the running of the Kentucky Oaks. The parade will return in 2010 and all survivors will have a chance to participate through a new nomination and voting process through KentuckyOaks.com.
Beginning Friday, Feb. 19, guests can log onto KentuckyOaks.com and nominate a friend, relative or themselves by sharing a brief personal experience that relates to breast cancer survival. Once the nomination process concludes on Thursday, March 11, the stories will be shared online and a two-week voting process (March 12-26) will begin. Fans will vote for their favorite and most inspirational stories and the 136 survivors with the most votes will receive two (2) free reserved seats to the Kentucky Oaks and lunch courtesy of Churchill Downs (travel and hotel accommodations not included). Winners will be announced Friday, April 2.
Special Survivors Winner’s Circle to be Formed on Turf Course
Following the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks, a special Oaks winner’s circle will be formed on the Matt Winn Turf Course by breast cancer survivors to celebrate the Oaks winner’s victory on the track and the survivors’ victories over breast cancer. The special survivors winner’s circle was first introduced at Oaks 135 in 2009 and immediately became a favorite new tradition for the event.
First Lady of Fashion Contest Winner Will Win Trip to IMG’s Fashion Week in New York City
Ladies of all ages in attendance on Kentucky Oaks Day can enter Churchill Downs’ First Lady of Fashion contest with the winner receiving an all-expense VIP trip for two to IMG’s Fashion Week in New York City. Entrants showcasing their finest Oaks attire will be judged on the “Pink Carpet” inside Gate 10 early in the afternoon with finalists paraded inside the Aristides Garden later that day live on the Bravo telecast. Participants will be judged on how fashionably they incorporate pink into their ensemble.
New Co-Branded Oaks Merchandise Available Online at TheDerbyStore.com
In conjunction with this year’s Kentucky Oaks Day celebration, Churchill Downs has teamed with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to launch a co-branded line of officially-licensed apparel and gift items that are available for purchase online at www.TheDerbyStore.com. Co-branded merchandise includes ballcaps, T-shirts and a tote bag. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of co-branded products will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Kentucky Oaks Will Be Broadcast Live on Bravo from 5-6 p.m. EDT
The Kentucky Oaks will once again be televised live on NBC Sports’ sister cable network Bravo from 5-6 p.m. EDT. The one-hour broadcast will spotlight the 1 1/8-mile Oaks with an additional focus on fashion, cuisine, the celebrity experience associated with Kentucky Oaks Day and Churchill Downs’ renewed partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
First Lady of Oaks Announcement Coming Soon
An announcement regarding this year’s First Lady of Oaks will come at a later date. The selection of an official Oaks Day ambassador was introduced last year to honor a special woman who has utilized her professional and personal experiences to celebrate women and promote issues and causes that women support. The inaugural First Lady of Oaks in 2009 was Nancy G. Brinker, who established Susan G. Komen for the Cure to honor her sister who died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36.
The 104,867 in attendance for the 2009 Kentucky Oaks witnessed a sublime performance by 3-year-old filly Rachel Alexandra, who cruised to a record 20 ¼-length victory. The 3-year-old filly would go on to beat male rivals in the Preakness, Haskell and Woodward Stakes and be crowned North America’s 2009 Horse of the Year.
For more information on the Kentucky Oaks and the partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, please visit www.KentuckyOaks.com.
About Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.5 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit www.komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.