Sherry Stanley

Sierra Leone and Brook Smith Shine Light on Backside Learning Center

One of the many trademarks of Kentucky Derby week during mornings on the backside at Churchill Downs is the media frenzy that never fails to ensue as dozens of outlets vie for interviews with Derby and Oaks connections. Some owners shy from the camera, others embrace their moment in the spotlight, and most fall somewhere in between. One owner who will not be hesitating to get his horse's name out there over the next week is Brook Smith, a part-owner in GI Blue Grass S. winner Sierra Leone (Gun Runner)....

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Sierra Leone's Derby Earnings Will Benefit BLC

A portion of any purse money earned in the May 4 GI Kentucky Derby by Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), winner of the GI Blue Grass S. and expected to be one of the favorites for the American Classic, will benefit the Backside Learning Center (BLC)'s initiative "Purses for a Purpose." In addition, should the 'TDN Rising Star' win the Derby, co-owner Brook Smith has promised an additional $100,000 to the BLC. Smith, who recently joined the TDN Writers' Room, is a Louisville resident and long-time supporter of the BLC, which...

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Backside Learning Center's Derby Social Draws a Crowd

It was a packed house at the Louisville Thoroughbred Society on Tuesday, April 18 for the Backside Learning Center's Derby Handicapping Social. The sold-out event drew a crowd of racing owners and enthusiasts looking forward to spending an evening  narrowing down their picks for this year's GI Kentucky Derby while also learning more about the latest initiatives going on at the Backside Learning Center (BLC). The BLC is a nonprofit organization based in Louisville that provides support and resources for racetrack workers and their families. The organization serves over 1,000...

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Winter Auction to Benefit Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs

In order to help finance the essential programs of the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs (BLC), The Louisville Thoroughbred Society (LTS) will sponsor a public auction of donated items Friday, Dec. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET. The Pressbox will provide phone numbers and the staff, while their website updates bidding every five minutes. Some of the highlighted items include horse blankets from Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify, as well as one used by Spendthrift Farm's leading sire, Into Mischief. Also on the block, will...

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Backside Learning Center Fundraiser at Churchill Nov. 19

The Backside Learning Center (BLC), an organization dedicated to building community and enriching the lives of equine workers and families at Churchill Downs, will hold its largest annual fundraiser, Benefit for the Backside: A Day at the Races, Friday, Nov. 19 at Churchill Downs. This is a sold-out event. However, the BLC is hosting an online, silent auction consisting of many unique horseracing and other hard to find items and experiences including a year-long membership to Louisville Thoroughbred Society, a private tour of Spendthrift Farm, AirBnB experiences, top-shelf bourbon packages...

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Backside Learning Center Working Overtime for Those Who Can't Work

For the team at the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs, this is normally their favorite time of year. Backstretch workers return home from working in warmer locations over the winter, families are reunited, and there's a general sense of community and solidarity. The Kentucky Derby is just a few weeks away and fundraising is in overdrive. But this year looks quite different. For starters, there is a much smaller community to serve. While the Backside Learning Center normally serves about 1,000 workers this time of year along with their...

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