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Father's Day is this Sunday, but Churchill Downs has great activities planned for Friday and Saturday to help you kickoff a weekend of celebrating the special dads in your life.

Start the party off Friday night as Churchill Downs welcomes back its popular night racing program, Downs After Dark. In addition to live racing under the big lights and Happy Hour drink specials, the night includes jams spun by DJ D.M.C. of the 80's rap group, Run D.M.C. There will also be a Bet or No Bet Sweepstakes in which four fans will get a chance to either place a $1,000 win wager on a horse of his or her choosing or pocket a $100 Thornton’s gift card.

Gates open at 4:00 PM with the first post at 6:00 PM and last post just after 11:00 PM. Be sure to pick up your Bet or No Bet entry at the gate. Admission is $10. 

After you've partied the night away with your Pops, bring him back to Churchill Downs on Saturday for a great day of Stakes action. Stephen Foster Day is highlighted by the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap, but the day also includes three Grade 3 stakes for three-year-olds—the Matt Winn Stakes over the dirt, the Jefferson Cup, and the Regret Stakes (for fillies), both run over the turf.

Stephen Foster Day is presented by Abu Dhabi who will offer race fans the opportunity to learn about life in the Emirate and enjoy Arabian hospitality when patrons visit the Abu Dhabi Experience Tent.  The tent is a collaboration of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and the Office of the Brand of Abu Dhabi. It will be located in the paddock area near Gate 18. 

Bring the kids by the Junior Jockey Club, located near Gate 10, where they can make Dad a Father's Day card and tour the paddock. The Club also offers games and other activities to entertain the kids while Mommy and Daddy do a little handicapping. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Last year's Stephen Foster Stakes was won by Blame, who went on to edge out the great mare Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic later that year. Other Stephen Foster winners have included Curlin, Saint Liam, Perfect Drift, and Street Cry. This is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the top horses compete right in your own backyard. Gates open at 11:30 AM with the first post at 12:45 PM. Admission is $3.

What more could a dad ask for than phenomenal racing and good times spent with his family?

Photo: Courtesy Jessie Oswald

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About Jessie Oswald

I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as an immigration paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!

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