Photo Release -- Rascal Flatts to Perform National Anthem at Kentucky Derby 136 on Saturday, May 1

Grammy Award-Nominated Little Big Town to Sing Star Spangled Banner at Kentucky Oaks 136

LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 22, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The most awarded group in country music this decade, Rascal Flatts, will help Churchill Downs continue the newest Kentucky Derby Day tradition when the trio performs the national anthem live on Saturday, May 1, prior to the running of the 136th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. The performance will be broadcast by NBC Sports as part of the network's live coverage of Kentucky Derby 136 from 4-7 p.m. EDT.

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Additionally, Churchill Downs will initiate a new element within the Kentucky Oaks Day program when the Grammy Award-nominated quartet Little Big Town performs the national anthem live prior to the running of the Kentucky Oaks, the Derby's sister race for 3-year-old fillies.

"The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are world-class entertainment events, and we are thrilled to partner with Rascal Flatts, one of the most popular and successful country music acts in history, on what we know will be an exceptional performance of "The Star Spangled Banner," said Julie Koenig Loignon, vice president of brand development and marketing for the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Incorporated. "The Kentucky Derby is steeped in tradition, and last year we added to that rich collage by including the first-ever live performance of the national anthem by an internationally known recording artist. This new element of the Derby experience was an instant hit and was warmly embraced by Derby fans. We are confident that country music's hottest trio will deliver an unforgettable performance for the 150,000-plus fans listening in person at Churchill Downs as well as the millions of viewers at Derby parties worldwide watching the Kentucky Derby on NBC Sports with their family and friends.

"The Kentucky Oaks is growing in national prominence, and we are excited to introduce a new musical element to our Oaks Day program with up-and-comers Little Big Town," Koenig Loignon continued. "The foursome was recently nominated by the Academy of Country Music for the award 'Vocal Group of the Year,' a distinction also given to Rascal Flatts. We welcome these tremendously talented performers to Churchill Downs and look forward to the special contribution they will make to Derby weekend."

Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney have kicked off 2010 with a bang as they celebrate 10 years of making great music together, becoming one of the hottest touring acts and the top country group of the new millennium. Rascal Flatts has delivered 11 No. 1 singles to the top of the chart and has more titles in Billboard's Top 100 Songs of the Decade than any other group in the format. In the last decade, Rascal Flatts has sold more than 20 million albums and 25 million digital downloads. All six of their studio albums made Billboard's Top 100 Country Albums of the Decade listing.  

As the most-awarded country group of the new millennium, Rascal Flatts has claimed nearly 40 trophies from the Academy of Country Music, American Music Awards, Country Music Association, People's Choice Awards and more.  In concert, Rascal Flatts continues to be one of the hottest touring acts of the decade with more venue attendance records than any other country act. The band has played 400 dates as a headline act and 700 total performances since 2000, with a ticket tally of nearly six million. Among these shows were three consecutively sold-out performances at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Rascal Flatts is also the first and only country music act to sell out the famed Wrigley Field in Chicago. To learn more about the record-breaking trio, visit

Little Big Town's uniqueness continually sets them apart. The platinum-selling band has produced hit singles including the Top 10 smash "Boondocks," the Top 5 "Bring It On Home," "Good As Gone" and "A Little More You," as well as nominations at the Grammy Awards, the Country Music Association Awards, CMT Music Awards and an Academy of Country Music Award win for Top New Vocal Group.  In 2007, "Life in a Northern Town," the live collaboration with Sugarland and Jake Owen, became an organic hit. The all-star cover of the 1986 Dream Academy hit, intended as a video-only memento of the group's stint on CMT on Tour, became a surprise radio hit due to spontaneous listener demand. In addition to touring with Sugarland, band mates Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook have also toured with superstars including George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Martina McBride, and have collaborated onstage with rock legend Lindsey Buckingham for an episode of CMT's Crossroads. Little Big Town is getting ready to release their first album, The Reason Why, with Capitol Records Nashville. The album features the new hit single "Little White Church" and will be released late summer. To learn more about Little Big Town, visit">

In 2009, multiple-award winner and country music superstar LeAnn Rimes helped Churchill Downs launch the new modern-day tradition by performing the national anthem live as part of the Derby pre-race festivities. This year marks the first year that the Kentucky Oaks event will include a live performance of the national anthem. For the second year in a row, Churchill Downs has worked with Nashville-based Art of the Game to secure performers for the national anthem. Information about Art of the Game is available online at

Country Music Star and Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Ambassador Candy Coburn to Sing 'Pink Warrior' During Parade of Breast Cancer Survivors on Kentucky Oaks Day

A second live musical performance will mark Kentucky Oaks Day when country music singer and Kentucky native Candy Coburn performs "Pink Warrior," a song dedicated to breast cancer survivors, live during the Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade, scheduled to take place prior to the Kentucky Oaks race. Coburn co-wrote the song to honor her grandmother, who battled breast cancer for 10 years, and will serenade the 136-plus breast cancer survivors and their co-survivors as they make the trek around Churchill Downs' storied first turn and past tens of thousands of cheering fans in the Churchill Downs clubhouse and grandstand.

Shortly after "Pink Warrior" was released, Coburn was approached by Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the world's largest breast cancer organization and the official charity partner of the Kentucky Oaks, to use the song to help raise awareness about the fight against breast cancer. Today, Coburn is a celebrity ambassador for Komen and performs "Pink Warrior" during appearances around the country, including official Komen events. "Pink Warrior" is the 2010 theme song for Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure events. One-hundred percent of the artist and producer proceeds from sales of "Pink Warrior" are donated to Komen. To learn more about Candy Coburn's music and her involvement with Komen, visit

Tickets and parking to Kentucky Derby 136 on Saturday, May 1, and Kentucky Oaks 136 on Friday, April 30, can be purchased online at

Churchill Downs Incorporated ("CDI"), headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates four world renowned Thoroughbred racing facilities: Arlington Park in Illinois, Calder Casino and Race Course in Florida, Churchill Downs Race Track in Kentucky and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in Louisiana.  CDI operates slot and gaming operations in Louisiana and Florida.  CDI tracks are host to North America's most prestigious races, including the Arlington Million, the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, the Louisiana Derby and the Princess Rooney, along with hosting the Breeders' Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5-6, 2010.  CDI also owns off-track betting facilities, and other advance-deposit wagering channels, television production, telecommunications and racing service companies such as BRIS and a 50-percent interest in the national cable and satellite network, HorseRacing TV, which supports CDI's network of simulcasting and racing operations.  CDI's Entertainment Group produces the HullabaLOU Music Festival at Churchill Downs Racetrack which premieres on July 23-25, 2010.  CDI trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol CHDN and can be found at

Rascal Flatts to Perform National Anthem at Kentucky Derby Little Big Town to Perform the National Anthem Prior to the Kentucky Oaks

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