LeAnn Rimes to sing national anthem at the Kentucky Derby

Big-time sporting events have long had star musicians perform The Star-Spangled Banner with sometimes spectacular (Jennifer Hudson) and other times less-than-sterling (Roseanne) results.

LeAnn Rimes at the 2008 CMT Awards. AP Photo by Evan Agostini.

LeAnn Rimes at the 2008 CMT Awards. AP Photo by Evan Agostini.

The Kentucky Derby, however, has avoided that trend, instead hanging its colorful hat on the annual sing along of My Old Kentucky Home, until this year.

LeAnn Rimes will deliver the first live, vocal rendition of the national anthem by a national recording artist on Derby Day in the event’s 135-year history. Rimes is best known as a country singer, though you could also identify her as an author, actor and inspirational artist.

“We believe LeAnn Rimes is the perfect performer to help us begin a 21st century Derby tradition — one
that has been a long-standing and well-accepted part of other major sporting events,” Kevin Flanery, senior vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated, said in a news release.

According to the release from Churchill Downs, Rimes will sing the anthem shortly after 5 p.m. on Derby Day, May 2, and the performance will be broadcast by NBC. The Fort Knox Army Band, which has traditionally performed the anthem near the start of the day’s race card, will continue to do that, shortly after noon.

And, of course, we all need to be warming up for “The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home . . . ”

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