The perfect Kentucky Derby appetizer returns Thursday, May 3 as Churchill Downs stages its third annual Taste of Derby – a celebration of cuisine and racing on the eve of the Kentucky Oaks. Taste of Derby attendees will mingle with horse racing and Hollywood celebrities and savor exquisite cuisine and delectable wines from racing destinations across the country as nationally-renowned chefs serve samples of their regional specialties.

The hottest new Kentucky Derby party, which attracted more than 1,000 guests a year ago, moves to the Louisville Executive Aviation Hangar at Bowman Field in 2012 to accommodate its growing demand. Tickets to the May 3 Taste of Derby – the Official Kentucky Derby Party of Churchill Downs – are $300 and include a red carpet entry starting at 7 p.m., food and wine tastings until 10 p.m., premium open bar until 11 p.m., complimentary valet service, and live entertainment by one of Nashville’s hottest dance bands, Burning Las Vegas.

The roster of award-winning chefs participating in this year’s Taste of Derby include Brian Malarkey and Eli Kirshtein, alumni of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” series; Nancy Longo of Baltimore’s Pierpoint RestaurantCarrie Nahabedian of Chicago’s Naha RestaurantKent Rathbun of Dallas’AbacusTroy Guard of Denver’s TAGMusabbeh Al Kaabi of Dubai’sJumeirah Zabeel Saray HotelOuita Michel of Midway, Ky.’s Holly Hill Inn;Jo-Jo Doyle of Churchill Downs’ Levy RestaurantsAnthony Llamas of Louisville’s Seviche RestaurantMichael Paley of Louisville’s Proof on Main; Tory McPhail of New Orleans’ Commander’s PalaceNicolas Bour of San Diego’s El BiZCOCH and Bart Vandaele of Washington D.C.’s Belga Café for Stella Artois.

For a complete listing of participating chefs, additional event information or to purchase tickets, visit the event Web site at Last year’s event sold out so attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets early. 

The state of Washington’s 14 Hands Vineyards has been named the official Taste of Derby wine sponsor and will showcase its wines at each chef station with a pairing to compliment the cuisine. In addition, 14 Hands will have a sampling station that will showcase a special selection of exquisite new world wines.  

“14 Hands wines hold universal appeal,” 14 Hands winemaker Keith Kenisonsaid. “From the beginner to the more cultivated palate, our wines deliver rich, bold flavors harnessed from the plush terroir of eastern Washington. Taste of Derby offers a prime opportunity for us to demonstrate 14 Hands’ immense versatility.”

Additional Taste of Derby beverage partners add international flair. Award-winning Hendrick’s Gin is crafted in Scotland and Stella Artois, the Official Beer Sponsor of Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, is the number one Belgian beer in the world. Kentucky’s own Woodford Reserve, the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, will serve as the bourbon sponsor for Taste of Derby. Also, Creekstone Farms Premium Black Angus Beef will present the second annual “Chef Showdown” at Taste of Derby where three culinary student finalists from Sullivan University in Louisville will compete for scholarships by creating a potentially award-winning dish in 20 minutes.

Through the Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation, partial proceeds from Taste of Derby will go to its new official charitable recipient, Blessings in a Backpack. Blessings in a Backpack is a Louisville-born charity that is growing nationally as it fulfills its commitment to “Feeding the Future of America.”

“Blessings in a Backpack is proud of our partnership with Churchill Downs and the extraordinary Taste of Derby,” said Blessings in a Backpack founder Stan Curtis. “Because of this powerful partnership and what it stands for, many American school children are going to have better nutrition in their lives.”

In addition, partial proceeds of Taste of Derby go to hunger relief organizations in areas represented by the participating chefs. In just two years, a total of$121,000 has been contributed to hunger relief organizations around the world through the event.

“Taste of Derby is the perfect beginning to a weekend of exciting thoroughbred racing matched with great food, fun, friends and philanthropy,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We look forward to welcoming our local fans and out-of-town friends alike.”

Taste of Derby is modeled after the popular Taste of the NFL, a 20-year-old event founded by nationally known restaurateur and 2010 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Wayne Kostroski. Churchill Downs partnered with Kostroski in 2010 to create Taste of Derby to expose Louisvillians and the thousands of out-of-town guests who visit the Kentucky Derby annually to these great racing communities across the country and the regional flavors that make them as unique as the Derby City.

About Churchill Downs

 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 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012. The track’s 2012 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found

About 14 Hands

14 Hands celebrates the unbridled spirit of the wild horses that once freely roamed eastern Washington. For those who savor a taste of history and adventure, the epic story of the wild horse—as vibrant and colorful as that portrayed on the 14 Hands label—just might unleash a bold conversation at your next gathering. For more information on 14 Hands, please

About Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve, the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby”, is crafted at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky - the heart of thoroughbred country. Woodford Reserve is a product of the Brown-Forman Corporation, a producer and marketer of fine quality beverage alcohol brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Korbel, Tequila Herradura, Sonoma-Cutrer, Chambord, and Tuaca. Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly. For more information on Woodford Reserve, visit

About Creekstone Farms Premium Beef

The choice of food lovers across the world, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, LLC is USDA certified by the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) and supplies many of the nation’s top grocers and restaurants with quality Black Angus Beef products, ranging from high-quality Prime grade fresh beef to premium value-added products. Creekstone exports its premium quality products to Europe, Latin America and Asia and is owned by Sun Capital Partners, one of America’s largest private investment companies. For more information, please contact Jim Rogers at (620) 741-3352.

About Hendrick’s Gin

Hendrick’s is the most unusual Gin that has taken the world by storm since it was first introduced, thanks to its delightfully unique flavour, which combines a distinct blend of eleven botanicals, as well as the signature infusions of Cucumber and Rose petals, producing a wonderfully refreshing gin with a delightfully unique aroma. Hand crafted in Scotland in miniscule batches by William Grant & Sons, Hendrick’s uses a marriage of spirits from a Carter-Head and Copper Pot Still, a combination that produces a divinely smooth gin that has both the required character and balance of subtle flavours. In the ten years since Hendrick’s was first introduced to America, it has gained widespread acclaim and received numerous awards, including a Double gold medal at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition; ‘Gin of the Year’ at the Food and Wine Magazine Awards; voted ‘World’s Best Gin’ by the Wall Street Journal and named “Distiller of the Year” at the 2010 Wine Enthusiast Awards. Hendrick’s Gin has an ABV of 44% and an RRP of $34.99. For further information, visit Please enjoy the unusual responsibly.

About Stella Artois

Stella Artois® is part of a Belgian brewing tradition dating back to 1366. It is the number one Belgian beer in the world and is present in over 80 countries. Stella Artois® is a bottom filtered, blonde pilsner. It is thirst quenching with a malty middle and crisp finish delivering a full flavor and a hint of bitterness. Stella Artois® is best enjoyed served between 3 and 5 degree Celsius and should be served in the unique Stella Artois® Chalice according to the 9-Step Pouring Ritual to guarantee a perfect experience of this gold standard lager. for more information.

About Blessings in a Backpack

Blessings in a Backpack is a results-oriented program. This unique program is designed to feed elementary school children whose families qualify for the federally funded National School Lunch Program and have little or no food on the weekends. Better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health and increased attendance have all been attributed to the success of this program. $80 feeds one American school child in our program for an entire 38-week school year. Blessings in a Backpack is currently feeding over 50,000 children in 376 schools across 39 U.S. states and three countries (see all at We are Feeding the Future of America® - one school at a time.