Churchill Downs’ second annual Champions Day presented by Twinspires.com will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Triple Crown and honor its winners on Tuesday of Derby week.
In addition to a full day of racing, Triple Crown-winning jockeys, trainers, and owners will sign autographs; fans can have their photos taken with rarely seen Triple Crown memorabilia from the Kentucky Derby Museum’s Vault; and guests can learn from the best during a special handicapping seminar. Gates open at 11:00 a.m., first post at 12:45 p.m. Tickets start at $12 at https://www.kentuckyderby.com/visit/derby-week/champions-day.
The Triple Crown Legends Autograph Session is open to all guests in the Plaza from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Guests can purchase a collectible poster for the famous connections to sign and proceeds from the poster sales will benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Participating jockey’s, trainers and owners include:
- Steve Cauthen – Affectionately known as “The Kid,” he became the youngest jockey ever to win the Triple Crown aboard Affirmed in 1978
- Jean Cruguet – Rode Seattle Slew to Triple Crown victory in 1977
- Victor Espinoza – Won the first Triple Crown in 37 years on American Pharoah in 2015
- Mike Smith – The Hall of Fame jockey won aboard Justify in 2018
- Bob Baffert — Trained 2015 winner American Pharoah and 2018 winner Justify. His horses have won five Kentucky Derbys, seven Preakness Stakes, three Belmont Stakes and three Kentucky Oaks
- Elliott Walden – President & CEO, WinStar Farm and owner of 2018 winner Justify.
The Triple Crown Vault Photo Opportunity presented by Kentucky Derby Museum will give fans a chance to see—and have their photo taken with—trophies and other memorabilia from Triple Crown Winners War Admiral, Citation and Sir Barton. Specific memorabilia and photo times in the Plaza include:
- War Admiral 1937 – Jockey Charley Kurtsinger’s 1937 Preakness Jockey Trophy from 1:00 – 1:30 p.m.
- Citation 1948 – Citation’s 1948 Kentucky Derby saddlecloth and trainer Jimmy Jones’ Triple Crown Trophy from 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
- ·Sir Barton 1919 – The Belmont Stakes Presentation Cup awarded to the first Triple Crown
The Industry Insider Derby Week Handicapping Seminar presented by Twinspires.com offers an expert panel to provide an in depth review of Derby week racing in the Aristides Lounge from 12:00 – 12:40 p.m. The panel includes “At the Races” host Steve Byk; clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young; NBC reporter and analyst, TAA board member, and one of the most decorated female jockeys of her time Donna Barton Brothers; and Brisnet marketing director Ed DeRosa.
Fans who want to take advantage of everything that Champions Day and Tuesday of Derby Week have to offer can purchase the “Ultimate Champions Experience” at https://www.kentuckyderby.com/championsday.
This $250 special ticket package includes:
- Admission and breakfast at Dawn at the Downs in the Stakes Room to watch Derby contenders train while listening to expert commentary
- A curator-led Kentucky Derby Museum tour of recently created exhibits dedicated to trainer D. Wayne Lukas and jockey Bill Shoemaker.
- A seat in the Starting Gate Suites during Champions Day
- An exclusive meet and greet with legendary jockeys and trainers
- All day access to the Kentucky Derby Museum
Photo by Suzie Picou-Oldham