Live racing, Happy Hour, UK - U of L Governor’s Cup, and family fun highlight weekend action at Churchill Downs


The college football rivalry between the University of Louisville Cardinals and the University of Kentucky Wildcats that will play out in the Governor’s Cup in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday will draw thousands to Commonwealth Stadium and thousands more will watch the game on televisions at their homes or local bars. But this year there’s another option that allows you to view the game with a throng of diehard fans and make a wager or two in the process. No, betting on college football has not become legal, but you can see the game on the big screen while wagering on the ponies in the Churchill Downs paddock.

With a noon kickoff for the Governor’s Cup and a 12:45 p.m. first post at Churchill Downs, many fans would be forced to choose between attending a game party and going to the race track. Saturday, Churchill Downs will open its gates at 11:30 a.m. and host its Big Game Watch Party by airing the Governor’s Cup on ESPN, with sound, on its new 16’ x 20’ television screen in the Paddock Plaza. The party will include a tailgate atmosphere with corn hole games, inflatable football toss, and $3 Stella Artois and $2 Budweiser and Bud Light beer specials during the game. Students can save the $3 admission by showing their valid college ID at the gate.

The Paddock Plaza is a perfect location to allow fans to dash over to the paddock to see the horses, to the windows to wager, and to the track for live races without leaving the action of the game for more than a few minutes. On the other hand, for those race fans disinterested in the game, the rivalry in the Paddock Plaza is easily avoidable.

Once the Governor’s Cup concludes, football and racing will continue with the airing of the Alabama – Texas A & M game on CBS at 3:30 p.m. and the running of the $100,000 Open Mind Stakes for three-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the dirt. The race is the ninth of ten races on the card with a scheduled post time of 4:59 p.m.

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