Now that winter has passed, it’s time to start planning for the springtime’s most extravagant and glamorous sports party: the Kentucky Derby.

            Annually staged on the first Saturday in May at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands is the oldest continuously held sporting event in North America and the first leg of horse racing’s popular Triple Crown series. A year ago, the 1 ¼-mile classic for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds – often called and “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” – lured a throng of 155,804 on-track fans plus another 16.5 million viewers on NBC Sports, making it the most watched Derby since 1989.

For those fans unable to attend “The Run for the Roses” in person on Saturday, May 7, Churchill Downs has launched its official online resource to create the perfect party experience at Amenities on the streamlined Web site include a contest to win a free flat screen television and fully catered party.

“From backyard BBQs to more upscale soirees, has all the tools to make a great Derby party,” said Casey Cook, Churchill Downs’ vice president of brand development and marketing. “The Web site features recipes for fantastic Southern cuisine submitted by high profile chefs plus recipes for favorite Derby weekend drinks, including the Early Times Mint Julep, Oaks Lily and Bacardi Mojito. Visitors also can shop for officially licensed party décor, party favors and collectables, including the popular traditional mint julep glasses.” debuted in 2008 to connect Kentucky Derby fans worldwide that enjoyed hosting annual Kentucky Derby parties on the first Saturday in May. The Web site features colorful designs with user-friendly navigation and a classy and elegant feel that brings the spirit of the rich springtime sports party tradition to life.

Fans can register their Derby parties and issue electronic invitations free of charge through a party planning tool that can manage invites and RSVPs. There are 36 original invitation designs available, as well as a party checklist and list of party ideas, including information about Derby libations and games. also features an enhanced gallery of fashion photos for party dress code ideas, from the chic sophistication of the Red Carpet and Millionaires’ Row to super casual inspirations from the sometimes raucous infield, and a new Community section, which encourages individuals to submit their own content, including recipes, fashion tips, party ideas and more.

All U.S. residents at least 21 years of age who register their Derby party before April 29 will be entered in the “Bring the Derby Home!” sweepstakes which features a $3,500 grand prize package:

  • A 32-inch Toshiba flat screen TV;
  • Fully catered Derby party for up to 20 guests at their home;
  • Kentucky Derby 137 party décor, including invitations, plates, mint julep glasses, shatterproof pitcher, napkins, balloons, posters, streamers, pins, party beads, yard sign and house flag;
  • A selection of Arthur Court collectibles, including a mint julep cup, serving tray, salt and pepper shakers, napkin rings, wine stoppers and photo frame;
  • Official event artwork, including posters and artwork party supplies;
  • A Churchill Downs panoramic print;
  • Kentucky Derby neckties and ladies silk scarves by Vineyard Vines;
  • The Kentucky Derby Vault: A History of the Run for the Roses by Andrew Plattner; and
  • “Party Up At The Downs,” the official Kentucky Derby soundtrack by Banshee Music.

Last year, more than 7,000 parties were registered in a record 133 countries on six continents with Antarctica being the lone absentee. “There aren’t many people down there, but there has to be at least one member of vast Derby Nation near the South Pole … and our goal is to find ‘em!” Cook said.

In addition to, the official event Web sites for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks have been launched at and, respectively. The Web sites were designed in conjunction with Texas-based Culture Foundry (formerly FooCulture), and are loaded with event information and colorful imagery. They feature clean, condensed and easy-to-navigate homepages with quick links to user-friendly sections which showcase all-encompassing information about top contenders, important prep races and event history as well as entertainment and lifestyle segments about fashion, cuisine and celebrities. Approximately 2.5 million unique users, including more than 1.7 million unique visitors in the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby, visited last year.

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875.  Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2011. The track’s 2011 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 30-July 4.  Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at

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