The online voting process to determine who will march in this year’s Survivors Parade presented by Kroger on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs will close Friday at 5 p.m. ET. The 138 nominees who receive the most votes on www.KentuckyOaks.com will be invited to parade down the stretch of the historic Louisville racetrack’s main track before the 138th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks plus two (2) complimentary reserved seats to the May 4 event.
A record 354 cancer survivors were nominated to participate in this year’s Survivors Parade, which represents a 60% increase from the 222 nominees a year ago.
Churchill Downs first introduced a “Ladies First” focus for the Kentucky Oaks in 2009, complete with a “Pink Out!” and outreach effort on women’s health issues. In a three-year span, Churchill Downs has helped to raise more than $420,000 for cancer research through its Kentucky Oaks Day activities. Earlier this month, the track announced that this year’s collaboration would be with Stand Up To Cancer, the nationwide initiative that is focused on funding innovative research for a broad scope of cancers that affect women and their families.
The Survivors Parade – now in its fourth year – has provided some of the most memorable and emotional Kentucky Oaks moments since its inception. Between March 7-16, KentuckyOaks.com visitors could nominate themselves, a relative or friend to participate in the Survivors Parade by sharing a brief personal experience or story that related to cancer survival.
The voting to determine the 138 Survivors Parade participants – one representing each renewal of the Kentucky Oaks – began March 16 and will conclude Friday (March 23) at 5 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced online on Monday (March 26).
New this year is the Survivors Parade Fan Moment where, during the parade, Oaks Day attendees can hold up a pink placard featuring the name of a loved one affected by cancer. A colorful full-page placard will be printed inside each Kentucky Oaks Day racing program. This show of support and respect is sure to make for a wonderful Oaks Day memory for everyone on hand and for those watching at home.
The $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) – the Kentucky Derby’s companion event for 3-year-old fillies on the day before the Derby – will be televised live nationally by the new NBC Sports Network from 5-6 p.m. ET.
Churchill Downs will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer for every person in attendance on Kentucky Oaks Day. Last year, the Oaks attracted 110,122 patrons for a day of fun, competition and celebration.
Additionally, Churchill Downs will donate $1 from the sale of each Oaks Lily®, the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, to Horses and Hope. Founded in 2008 by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and the Kentucky Cancer Program, Horses and Hope helps provide breast cancer awareness, education and early detection and treatment referral in Kentucky’s horse racing industry.
Special Kentucky Oaks Day events also include a “Pink Out!” which encourages all Oaks attendees to wear pink or incorporate the color into their attire for the day to show their support, and the Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest where one lucky winner will win a VIP invitation to New York City for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and a Longines timepiece.
About the $1 Million Kentucky Oaks
With a $1 million guaranteed purse, the Kentucky Oaks is the most lucrative American horse race for 3-year-old fillies, and the third most attended day of racing in the U.S. – only after the Derby and Preakness. Twenty-six Oaks winners have gone on to be crowned with an Eclipse Award as North America’s champion 3-year-old filly. The purse reflects the Oaks’ status and importance as a sports and entertainment event. The race has attracted crowds in excess of 100,000 in 12 of the last 13 years, including an unprecedented 116,046 in 2010, and has set records with more than $11.4 million bet on the race and $37.5 million bet on the entire Oaks card a year ago. To further demonstrate the growth of Oaks Day over the last 30 years, attendance topped 50,000 for the first time in 1981, 75,000 in 1992 and 100,000 in 1999.
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, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) – a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c) (3) charitable organization – raises funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. SU2C facilitates collaboration among the best and the brightest in the cancer research community. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee conduct rigorous, competitive review processes through which SU2C’s grantees are selected. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C generates awareness and builds grassroots support for this new approach to ending cancer. Stand Up To Cancer was founded by a group of media, entertainment and philanthropic leaders whose lives have been affected by cancer in significant ways. Members of SU2C’s Executive Leadership Council include Sherry Lansing, chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s (EIF) Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation; EIF President and CEO Lisa Paulsen; Katie Couric; EIF Senior Vice President Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; Pam Williams, partner at Laura Ziskin Productions; and nonprofit executive Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin, a legendary film producer who executive produced the 2008 and 2010 SU2C telecasts, was also a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer.
Based in St. Imier in Switzerland since 1832, the watchmaker Longines can look back on nearly 180 years of non-stop craftsmanship, as well as a solid heritage as timekeeper for world championships in various sports and collaborator with different international sports federations. Known for the elegance of its timepieces, Longines is a member of the Swatch Group Ltd, the World's leading manufacturer of horological products. With the winged hourglass as its emblem, the brand has outlets in over 130 countries. www.longines.com