LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Guests at Churchill Downs this weekend will be able to get a glimpse of horse racing's brightest star when undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify is celebrated and paraded between races during an action-packed "Downs After Dark Presented by Budweiser" nighttime racing program.
The first race Saturday is 6 p.m. and the 11-race card will showcase five lucrative stakes events, including the prestigious $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.
The precise timing of Saturday night's parade and schedule of events will be finalized Wednesday afternoon, but WinStar Farm LLC's President/CEO and Racing Manager Elliott Walden and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert gave track officials a green light for the public ceremony on Tuesday. The parade will include a walkover on the main track and a visit to the track's paddock and Woodford Reserve Winner's Circle.
NBCSN will broadcast the action live from Churchill Downs on Saturday night from 8:30 to 10 p.m.
A public appearance by Justify adds to an already dynamic evening.
Justify's connections, owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners; Baffert; Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith; and breeder John Gunther will be on-hand Saturday to receive their engraved Kentucky Derby 144 trophies.
Guests in attendance Saturday will be able to take pictures with the trophies beforehand from 5 to 7 p.m.
The first 5,000 fans in attendance Saturday will receive a free commemorative print of Justify that celebrates his Triple Crown achievement.
The theme for Saturday night's Downs After Dark is "Art of the Horse" and guests are encouraged to dress in pastels and bright colors to fit the art theme and summer weather.
Entries and post positions for Saturday's races will be finalized Wednesday, but some of horse racing's top stars are expected to compete.
Admission gates will open Saturday at 5 p.m. General admission is $10, box seats are $25 and reserved dining packages are $73. All ticket options can be purchased here.