LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Grammy and Emmy award-winning entertainer Harry Connick Jr. will sing the national anthem at the Kentucky Derby next month.
The jazzman, actor and former “American Idol” judge will perform the anthem in the Derby Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs on May 6. His performance before more than 160,000 fans will be broadcast live as part of NBC’s coverage of the 143rd running of the Derby.
Connick has performed the anthem at the Super Bowl and World Series but says it will be his first time at the Derby. He says he expects the crowd to be among the best he’s performed for.
Connick was born in New Orleans and lives in Connecticut.
Previous Derby national anthem singers include Lady Antebellum, Mary J. Blige, Jordin Sparks, Rascal Flatts and LeAnn Rimes.
ASCOT, England — American filly Lady Aurelia won at Royal Ascot for the second straight year, cruising to a three-length victory in the King’s Stand Stakes under replacement jockey John Velazquez on Tuesday.
“She’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse,” said trainer Wesley A. Ward after Lady Aurelia backed up her win in the Queen Mary Stakes in 2016.
Frankie Dettori was scheduled to ride Lady Aurelia, but pulled out of the entire meeting early Tuesday after failing to recover from an arm injury sustained when he was thrown off a horse in a parade ring last week.
Velazquez was drafted in and settled the U.S. horse into a good early position. Lady Aurelia took the lead with two furlongs to run and pulled away, winning the five-furlong race in 57.45 seconds, just short of a course record.
“This is wonderful for American racing,” said Ward, who has eight career winners at Ascot since 2009. Six of those wins have been by juveniles.
Ward has 10 entries at the prestigious meeting staged just outside London, as part of the largest contingent of U.S. runners – 14 – to compete at Royal Ascot.
Following the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II at the course ahead of the start of the meeting, racing was preceded by a minute’s silence in honor of the victims of attacks in Britain in recent weeks.
STAMFORD, Conn. – NBCSN presents daily live coverage of the Royal Meeting in Ascot, Berkshire, England – one of the most prestigious horse racing meets in the world – beginning Tuesday, June 20, at 8:30 a.m. ET. NBCSN’s live coverage of the full five-day Royal meeting, Tuesday through Saturday, June 24, will air daily from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET — for a total of 22.5 coverage hours. This year’s coverage marks the U.S. television debut of the event.
Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most valuable horse racing events, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses. The event features 30 races, including eight at the world championship “Group One” level. Five US‑based trainers are expected to field a total of 14 runners, headlined by Todd Pletcher, whose horses won the Kentucky Derby (Always Dreaming) and Belmont Stakes (Tapwrit) this year. Pletcher’s American Patriot runs in Tuesday’s Queen Anne Stakes.
The Royal Meeting is the center of the British social season and a pivotal week in the calendar of the Royal Family, who arrive every day by the world famous “Royal Procession” – with the first carriage carrying The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.