LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Opening night at Churchill Downs was an atmosphere of beautiful hats and beautiful horses.
Fans who have been waiting since November for horse racing to return enjoyed racing, dancing, and mint juleps on the night which marks the kickoff of Derby Week.
"It's a week from Derby everybody's getting excited about the Run of the Roses, Kentucky Oaks on Friday, just a great excuse to go out and enjoy Saturday night and have a party and our town excels at that," said John Asher, a Churchill Downs spokesperson.
The rain cleared the grandstands at times, but compared to last year the weather was an improvement. In 2012, fans faced a severe thunderstorm accompanied by hail. It caused a 50 minute delay.
There was an 11 race program. In addition to the races, there were stilt walkers acrobats and a contortionist for entertainment.
"We don't really go to Derby, so Downs After Dark is like the next best thing," said one Louisville resident.