Churchill Downs has ended its association with the Susan G. Komen foundation but not because of recent controversy over plans to deny grants for breast screening to Planned Parenthood, officials say.
For three years, Komen partnered with the track for Kentucky Oaks Day, featuring a "Ladies First" theme and raising $420,000 for breast cancer research. Churchill donated $1 to Komen for each person in attendance on Oaks Day, the Friday before the Kentucky Derby; attendance soared to more than 100,000, with attendees wearing pink, the Downs decorated in pink and bugler Steve Buttleman sporting a pink jacket.
Komen founder Nancy G. Brinker was once "First Lady of the Oaks."
But no more.
On Wednesday, Churchill announced a new partnership with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) for Oaks Day.
Churchill spokesman Darren Rogers said the switch had nothing to do with the recent public furor over Komen's January decision (now rescinded) to pull funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics.
"We communicated our desire to end the partnership months ago, well before the recent issue," Rogers said.
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