August 13, 2022

Churchill Downs unveils Champions Day for Derby Week

Churchill Downs on Thursday revealed a new event that will take place during Derby Week at the track.

Champions Day presented by is scheduled for May 1 and will celebrate some of the greatest moments in horse racing as well as meet-and-greets with Kentucky Derby– and Oaks-winning trainers and jockeys.

Among the jockeys scheduled to make an appearance are Pat Day, who visited the famed winner’s circle with Lil E Tee (1992); Gary Stevens, who piloted the filly Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995) and Silver Charm (1998); and Craig Perret, who was aboard Unbridled (1990).

Two of the trainers taking part in the event are Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas and Carl Nafzger. Lukas saddled Winning Colors (1988), Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (1996) and Charismatic (1999) to Kentucky Derby victory while Nafzger sent out Unbridled (1990) and Street Sense (2007).

The meet-and-greet will be in the Plaza and Paddock from 12:30-2:30 p.m. (ET). Guests may purchase a collectible poster for the jockeys and trainers to sign with proceeds from the sales going to benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

There will also be an Advanced Insider Handicapping Seminar presented by in the Aristides Lounge from noon-12:40 p.m. featuring “At the Races” host Steve Byk and clocker and bloodstock agent Gary Young.

For history buffs, the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill have put together an oral history, fascinating trivia and archived footage of the sport’s most sensational moments to be shown on the Big Board throughout the day.

Churchill is offering a special “Ultimate Champions Experience” package for $250 that includes:

  • Admission and breakfast at Dawn at the Downs in the Stakes Room Veranda to watch Derby contenders train while listening to expert commentary
  • “Inside The Vault” tour at the Kentucky Derby Museum with its curators to visit rare racing artifacts not currently on display to the public
  • A seat in the Stakes Room Veranda during Champions Day
  • An exclusive meet and greet with legendary jockeys and trainers
  • All day access to the Kentucky Derby Museum

The first 20 guests to purchase the Ultimate Champions Experience tickets will receive one admission pass to the Derby Post Draw at 11 a.m. on Champions Day.

Gates open at 11 a.m. on Champions Day, with a first post of 12:45 p.m. Tickets start at $10 at