The Kentucky Derby is often described as the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” but there will be four hours worth of excitement trackside at Empire City Casino on “Derby Day” on Saturday, May 5. Highlighted by the annual Derby Hat Contest, the festivities begin at 3 p.m. with food & beverage specials, live simulcast of the big race from Churchill Downs, and musical entertainment. The highlight of the event is Empire City’s Derby Hat Contest, overseen by Greg T. from Elvis Duran and the Z100 Morning Show.
Empire City’s viewing party for the 144th renewal of Kentucky Derby officially launches the summer racing & simulcast season. The first post-time of the day is at 10:30 a.m. with the Kentucky Derby race expected around 6:30 p.m. Wagering on the “Run for the Roses” from Churchill Downs is available at simulcast locations throughout the casino including outdoor trackside and in Dan Rooney’s Sports Pub.
In addition to the Derby, Yonkers Raceway will simulcast more than 30 of the premier harness and thoroughbred tracks from across North America throughout the day and night, as well as host live harness racing beginning at 6:50 p.m.
As the racing season continues, Empire City will also simulcast the Derby’s companion events – the Preakness Stakes, held May 19th in Baltimore, Maryland, and Belmont Stakes, held June 9th on Long Island, NY. A multitude of major stakes races throughout the summer and into the fall will also take place at the racetrack including two signature Triple Crown harness races – the Yonkers Trot and the Messenger Stakes, both on September 1st – as well the Art Rooney Pace on May 26th and the Dan Rooney Pace & $1-million Yonkers International Trot, which puts an exclamation point on the stakes season, in October.
Registration for the Derby Hat Contest is from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contestants must be Empire Club members to claim prizes – new members can sign up to join the Empire Club for free at any Promotions Booth. The finalists will be announced at 5:00 p.m. when Greg T. selects his “Celebrity Prize Pick” to win a cash prize of $750. First place will win $500, with $250 going to the runner-up and $100 for third place.
DJ LAX will provide the musical entertainment, and Z100 will be on-site giving away swag. Guests can indulge in the signature Derby cocktail – a classic Mint Julep made with bourbon, mint leaves and sugar and available in a commemorative glass for the first 700 to purchase. A variety of traditional raceway food will be available for purchase trackside, or guests can experience classic raceway dining in the Empire Terrace, open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. race day, where the Derby can be viewed on a private screen at the party’s table. Reservations for the Empire Terrace are now being accepted for parties of six or more by calling 914-968-4200 ext. 649.
After experiencing Kentucky-in-New York, guests can try their luck on the casino’s IGT Wheel of Fortune Triple Stars® slot machine jackpot, now over $1.1-million. Just this past March, Theresa P. of Westchester, NY won a life-changing jackpot of $2.9-million, the highest-ever jackpot at any of New York State’s regulated casinos.
Cover Photo by: Spc. David Bolton, Public Affairs Specialist, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Kentucky Army National Guard