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Kentucky native Wyonna Judd to perform National Anthem at Kentucky Derby

12 April 2024

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Churchill Downs Racetrack today announced that five-time GRAMMY award-winner and country music icon Wynonna Judd will perform the National Anthem at this year’s Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday, 4 May.

The Kentucky native will help kick off the historic 150th Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. The performance will take place just after 5 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live as part of NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage, expected to reach millions of viewers worldwide.

“Wynonna Judd is a multigenerational talent who has helped shape country music over the years, and a Kentucky native, making her the perfect artist to set the stage for this once-in-a-lifetime Kentucky Derby,” said Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We’re excited for Wynonna to bring her powerful voice back to Louisville to convey the wide range of emotion for which this landmark occasion calls.”

Wynonna rose to fame as one-half of “The Judds” with her mother Naomi, and the two are recognized as one of the greatest duos in country music history. As part of The Judds, Wynonna earned five GRAMMY® awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The Kentucky crooner has continued her success as a solo artist, releasing eight studio albums over the years, and recently embarked on a nationwide tour called “Back to Wy” to pay tribute to her first two solo albums.

“I am so proud to represent my home state, taking part in one of the most storied and iconic traditions,” Wynonna Judd said. “The Kentucky Derby is something I look forward to every year and being able to perform this year makes the momentous event even more special.”

Wynonna joins a roster of accomplished artists to perform The Star-Spangled Banner at the Run for the Roses®. Past artists who have performed include Carly Pearce (2023), Brittney Spencer (2022), Tori Kelly (2021), Jennifer Nettles (2019), Pentatonix (2018), Harry Connick, Jr. (2017), Lady A (2016), Josh Groban (2015), Jo Dee Messina (2014), Martina McBride (2013), Mary J. Blige (2012), Jordin Sparks (2011), Rascal Flatts (2010) and Leann Rimes (2009).

This year’s Riders Up announcer will be lifestyle innovator and entrepreneur Martha Stewart. Martha will command all jockeys to mount their horses for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Longines Kentucky Oaks

Ahead of the milestone 150th Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Racetrack will host the Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 3. At 5 p.m. EDT, emerging country star Lana Scott will perform the National Anthem. A top eight finalist on Season 21 of NBC’s The Voice and was chosen by Opry Entertainment as one of the “Top 10 Emerging Artists” in country music in 2023, prior to her National Anthem rendition, Lana will perform two special original songs live during the Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade at 3:15 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 3. The parade is a moving tradition that celebrates breast and ovarian cancer survivors and encourages those still fighting their cancer battle with a march on Churchill Downs’ historic racetrack prior to the running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks. The 16th Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade will honor the 150 survivors and fighters who have been selected.

Additionally, shortly after the National Anthem, Riders Up for the Kentucky Oaks will be called by powerhouse female athlete Sonny Choi, a breakdancing star and the first American woman to qualify for breakdancing at the 2024 Olympics, which will be the first Olympics to have the sport.

Wynonna Judd

With the release of her 1992 self-titled solo debut, Wynonna emerged as a singular force in American music. Beyond the five Grammy Awards, the multi-platinum albums and sold-out tours, the country/soul vocalist built on the Appalachian traditionalism that defined The Judds to create a world where Top 5 dance/club hits were as possible as being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Having practically grown up as America’s favorite musical daughter, Wynonna matured into a woman who embraced how life is filled with peaks and valleys, great thrills, and heavy disappointment. Those realities influenced her 5-times platinum Wynonna and nearing 3-times platinum Tell Me Why, the albums that gave voice to every human being emerging into their own adulthood with joy in their heart.

Beyond the groundbreaking music she and her mother created as The Judds, Wynonna has grown into her once-in-a-generation vocal prowess with an ease that made people drawn to her. “No One Else On Earth,” “Tell Me Why,” “She Is His Only Need,” “Girls With Guitars,” and “I Saw The Light” set the next chapter in motion for the girl from Ashland, Kentucky who became a global superstar.

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