By Josh Cook
In the immortal words of Barney Stinson, get ready to "suit up" for the night-racing sessions at Churchill Downs this spring, summer and fall.
That's because each evening of thoroughbred racing will also have a special theme that will follow the credo of Neil Patrick Harris' loveable character from the TV show 'How I Met Your Mother.'
The "Downs After Dark" will kick off with the "Disco at the Downs" on June 11. The other summertime promotions include "South Beach" on June 18, "Dress to Impress" on June 25 and the "An American Party: Boots, Brew & BBQ" on July 2.
Then during the 20-day Fall Meet, there will be two more nights of racing - "Spirits & Spires" on Oct. 31 and "Home for the Holidays" on Nov. 19.
The first race for each "Downs After Dark" during the summer will be at 6 p.m., while the two fall dates will begin at 4:30 p.m. Admission gates will be open two hours before racing begins each night. General admission to all "Downs After Dark" events will be $10. Holders of the horsemen and shareholder passes and select Twin Spires Club members (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze members only), as well as children 12 and under (when accompanied by an adult) will be admitted free of charge. Season passes are not valid for "Downs After Dark" events.
For $45 race fans can purchase a special discounted general admission pass for all six nights of racing.
Last year's three "Downs After Dark" nights drew nearly 90,000 fans and inspired Churchill Downs, Inc. to spend between $3 million and $4 million in permanent lights.
The first night-racing of the Spring Meet will be a celebration of the groovy 1970s. It will include disco balls and dance competitions and race fans will be encouraged to dress in their best '70s attire.
There are several other different ticket packages available for the events. For more information on those visit www.tickets.churchilldowns.com, or for more information on night racing in general visit www.churchilldowns.com.
Photo: Tony Singleton