Horse racing is inextricably associated with upper-class leisure, thanks to its royal origins and stallions’ ability to mix impeccable mint juleps while sprinting. Quench your thirsts for sport and socializing with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get a reserved-seat-admission ticket to a Downs After Dark race on Friday, July 1 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky (a $40 value). Gates open at 4 p.m., with the first race at 6 p.m.
At the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs’ Downs After Dark events blend the thrill of championship horse racing with the allure of a night on the town. Much like a werewolf Cinderella, the expansive 147-acre facility will be painstakingly transformed for nocturnal communing by adding mood lighting that evokes the air of an upscale nightclub. Patrons partake in a deluge of drinks while cheering on the horse of their choice in any of the 11 scheduled races. Race seating will be located in Section 117 of the winner’s-circle area, offering premium views of each turn, gallop, and volley for position. The party continues after the contests, where racing fans shake their newly minted moneymakers to tunes spun by the Miami Heat's DJ Irie while celebrating the success of their winning horse or the jockey they raised from birth. Previous Downs After Dark events have featured gourmet fare and a synergy of sport and fraternization more memorable than singles'-league ping-pong or speed dating at a track meet. The evening's White Party theme invites guests to don their best cloud, snow, or milk-colored ensembles.