LeAnn Rimes to Sing National Anthem at Kentucky Derby 135


Churchill Downs today announced that multiple-award winner and country music superstar LeAnn Rimes will help the historic racetrack launch a modern-day Kentucky Derby tradition when she performs the national anthem live as part of the ceremonies leading up to the 135th running of the Grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 2, 2009. Rimes’ performance will be the first live vocal performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” by a national recording artist on Derby Day and will be televised by NBC Sports as part of its pre-race coverage, which begins at 4 p.m. EDT.

“Churchill Downs is honored to have such an accomplished, respected and gifted singer as LeAnn Rimes perform the national anthem before the tens of thousands of Derby fans watching in person from the racetrack on the first Saturday in May, as well as the millions of television viewers who will share in the experience from Derby parties around the country while watching NBC’s coverage on May 2,” said Kevin Flanery, senior vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We know how special Derby Day and its many traditions are to fans around the world, and we are careful to only add new elements to the Derby collage when we are confident they will make for a more entertaining and memorable event. We believe LeAnn Rimes is the perfect performer to help us begin a 21st century Derby tradition – one that has been a long-standing and well-accepted part of other major sporting events.”

Rimes’ singing of the national anthem will take place shortly after 5 p.m. EDT and will be one of two performances of the “Star Spangled Banner” at Churchill Downs on May 2. The Fort Knox Army Band, which has performed an instrumental version of the national anthem near the start of the race card for many years, will continue to do so with this year’s instrumental performance slated for shortly after noon EDT.

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