A Fall Horseracing Weekend Fit for a Queen
Downs After Dark night racing and Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike are highlights of Churchill Downs September Meet
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (September 13, 2022) – Churchill Downs will open a fourteen-day meet on September 15 and will include fan-favorite Downs After Dark, featuring night racing on September 24. The racing evening’s theme, Fiesta Under the Stars, will bring a DJ, salsa band, salsa lessons, strolling mariachis and Latin artists showcasing their work throughout the evening.
The opening of the meet is fitting as the world mourns the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Her love of horses was well-known and horse racing was a passion of hers as she inherited the breeding and racing stock of her father, King George IV after his passing. The Queen was an avid breeder of thoroughbreds and had more than 1,800 racing wins, with her jockeys always wearing purple, gold and scarlet – the historic colors of the royal racing silks also used by her father and great-grandfather. Her final win came just two days before her death with the filly Love Affair. To her honor her long career as a racehorse owner and supporter, the British Horseracing Authority invoked a two-day pause following her death.
During her 70-year reign, the Queen visited Kentucky five times, including her final visit in 2007 to attend the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby. The attendance that year was the third largest in Kentucky Derby history with favorite Street Sense winning the Run for the Roses. To honor her majesty, a special blend of tea was created by the executive chef at Churchill Downs for her visit.
Although the Kentucky Derby was her only public event while in Louisville, she and Prince Phillip stayed at Lane’s End farm in Versailles near Lexington to spend additional relaxing ‘vacation’ days in Kentucky and as well as to enjoy time with the horses she stabled at the farm.
The upcoming Luckas Classic on October 1 may even feature 2022 Derby winner Rich Strike, who has only raced twice since his thrilling, longshot victory last May.
While planning a trip to Churchill Downs for the September 15-October 2 live racing meet, guests can download a copy of Louisville Tourism’s annual Visitor Guide to help plan a tour around Louisville to see the city's top attractions and bourbon distilleries. Visitors also can get additional city attraction, lodging and dining assistance at gotolouisville.com.
General admission to Downs After Dark is $14 and includes an official program. Reserved seating can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.