Just a couple of weekends ago, Churchill Downs announced that it would be keeping its’ backside and racetrack open all winter to allow horsemen and horses to stable in Louisville throughout the winter.

The unprecedented move was done to assist the Kentucky horse population, which has filled nearly every stall throughout the Commonwealth and to help the horsemen and women who plan to run their horses at the new and improved Turfway Park. The Northern Kentucky track is now owned and operated by Churchill Downs, as well.

When that news arrived, it meant some changes for those that work with and around horses, too. And, it meant some changes for those who assist the workers that make their livings on the backside.

The Churchill Downs Backside Learning Center is one of those organizations that assists and helps.

Here is an update from Sherry Stanley, the Executive Director of the Churhcill Downs Backside Learning Center:

“We have always worked with the community of families over the winter who stay in town. We have a very robust after school program that offers English classes to parents as well as social services, case management and mental health support!

“This winter, since trackside will remain open, we will have weekly presence there to carry out:

-our weekly fresh food market

-weekly distribution of Panera bread

-social services and case management on-site

-free mental health therapy

-our after-school program with English classes for parents will continue and we will likely be providing transportation

In order to help finance these additional and vital programs, “The Louisville Thoroughbred Society” will be conducting an auction of donated items to raise the needed funds. That event will take place on Friday, Dec. 16.

Persons interested in bidding on the items will be able to call in and monitor their bids throughout the evening, which will last from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. “The Pressbox” will provide the call-in numbers and staff to monitor the phones. This website will be updated with the current high bid on all the items every 5 minutes.

Here’s a list of the premier items to be auctioned:

LIST OF AUCTION ITEMS

  1. Horse Blanket worn by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by Ashford Stud, with many thanks to Charlie O’Conner and Dermot Weld. Special Note: If the final bid reaches $2,000 or more, then Ashford will donate a second blanket and make it available to the under-bidder for the same final price as the first, as well.

  1. Horse Blanket worn by Triple Crown winner Justify (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by Ashford Stud, with many thanks to Charlie O’Conner and Dermot Weld. Special Note: If the final bid reaches $2,000 or more, then Ashford will donate a second blanket and make it available to the under-bidder for the same final price as the first, as well.

  1. Horse Blanket worn by Into Mischief, one of the world’s leading and most successful sires. (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by Spendthrift Farm, with many thanks to Mark Toothaker. The amazing son of Harlan’s Holiday has led the North American sire list in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

  1. Horse Blanket worn by Not This Time, the sire of 2022 KY Derby runner-up Epicenter and one of the top young stallions in the industry today. (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by the Albaugh Family and Taylor Made Farm, with many thanks to Jason Loutsch.

  1. Sports Coat worn and donated by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

  1. Sports Coat worn and donated by former University of Louisville star running back and former Oakland Raiders standout Michael Bush, who was drafted in the 4th round of the 2007 selections.

  1. Riding pants worn and donated by top female rider Chantal Sutherland, who has been a leading rider in both Canada and the United States.

  1. Sports Coat worn and donated by Wes Henderson, owner and Master Distiller at Angel’s Envy Distillery in downtown Louisville. The select bourbon has rapidly become one of the most sought-after bottles in the world today.

  1. Sports Coat worn and donated by former University of Louisville and New England Patriots star receiver Deion Branch, who is now the interim head football coach at the University of Louisville. Branch was the MVP of the Super Bowl in 2005, when he tied the great Jerry Rice and Dan Ross for most receptions in a Super Bowl with 11 catches.

  1. Admission and a reserved Table for 8 (which includes all food and alcohol sales) for one day of the Opening Labor Day Weekend Card at Kentucky Downs. Valued at $1,200.

  1. A 3-bottle set of select Bourbons, crafted and bottled specifically for the Louisville Thoroughbred Society.

Stay tuned for additional and special auction items to be added to the list.