Opening Night 2018 At Churchill Downs

With The Kentucky Derby just over a week away, live racing will start Saturday for Opening Night 2018 at Churchill Downs. As is traditional for Downs After Dark, the evening will have a classy theme to “Dress to Impress”. A great opportunity to test run your Derby attire as you watch the races.


Ten races are scheduled for Saturday including the William Walker Stakes. A large field of ten three year-olds for five furlongs on turf with a purse of $100,000. First post is at 6 p.m. (ET) with the William Walker Stakes race at 10:11 p.m.

For Opening Night 2018 Churchill Downs will have several live events going on during and after the races including an award ceremony for best dressed, live music and performing artists.

Events include:

      • Awards in the Arts Orange, the Color of Creativity (Folks are encouraged wear orange)
      • The Jesse Lees 7:15PM-8:45PM- Plaza Stage
      • Louisville Crashers 9:00PM-11:30PM- Plaza Stage
      • Performing Artists: Acting Against Cancer, Amberly Simpson & Dancers, Bohemian Monkey, Bri Bowers, Casey McKinney, CirqueLouis, DESTINED Dance Company, Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Grant Goodwine, GSA Alumni,  Jecorey “1200” Arthur + NadaLoutfi, Juggernaut Jug Band, The Art of Kacy, Kentucky Opera, Kentucky Shakespeare, Kuvebo! West African Drum and Dance, Micah Chandler, Tatiana Rathke + Jennifer Greb, The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Louisville, Tyler Robertson and Wheeler Elementary Students.

For more information on Opening Night 2018 and the race schedule, head over to Churchill Downs.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

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