Kyle Johnson
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Ford Sponsoring Saturday’s 147th Kentucky Derby

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Ford Escape, Super Duty, and Expedition at Churchill Downs | Ford Sponsoring Saturday’s 147th Kentucky Derby
Ford sponsors the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday
Photo: Ford

Last year, Ford was all too thrilled to announce that it had signed on to become the official vehicle of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Ford broke the news on March 9; by the end of that week, well, let’s say that things got pretty weird. While there was ultimately a Kentucky Derby in 2020 with Ford sponsorship, this year’s race marks the debut of the partnership in front of live fans.

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Saturday at noon, the most exciting two minutes in sports outside (or at least the most exciting two minutes in sports involving horses) returns to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, with fans in attendance. The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place with roughly 50 percent of reserved seats filled and 30 percent capacity in the infield.

Masks will be required throughout the event, and Ford’s making sure that everyone has what they need. The automaker is supplying 150,000 face masks for fans and employees. Earlier this year, Ford delivered the last of the 120 million masks it pledged to produce during the pandemic.  

Louisville seen as Ford’s ‘second hometown’

According to Ford Motor Company Brand Content & Alliances Manager Jim Peters, sponsoring the Kentucky Derby is about more than putting the brand’s products in front of eyeballs.

“With two Ford plants located right in Louisville, the Derby feels like an event in the company’s second hometown,” said Peters. “This sponsorship and contribution to the local community are a big source of pride and reflect Ford’s larger commitment to America.”

Attendees of Saturday’s race will be able to see the Ford lineup in person through a variety of displays at Churchill Downs. Kentucky Oaks and Derby horse owners will also have complimentary use of Ford Explorer SUVs during the event.

The 2021 Kentucky Derby airs May 1 from noon to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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