2019 Kentucky Derby: Jennifer Nettles Delivers Pitch-Perfect National Anthem [WATCH]
Nettles' voice soared on "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon (May 4), and the crowd voiced their approval as she hit the highest notes at the end of the song. It's estimated that 160,000 people were watching Nettles' performance in person, and countless more were tuned in via NBC.
Nettles is only the 11th star to perform the National Anthem at the Kentucky Derby; prior to 2009, the Anthem was not sung before the Run for the Roses. In the decade since, however, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts and more country stars have sung "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the event.
"Jennifer Nettles is a country music and vocal powerhouse,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said when announcing Nettles' performance. “We are excited and honored for her to perform our National Anthem for the millions of viewers and fans around the world who tune in on Derby day.”
A horse named Country House won the 2019 Kentucky Derby, the 145th running of the race, after Maximum Security, the horse who crossed the finish line first, was disqualified. According to the Kentucky Derby's official Twitter account, it was the first time in Derby history that the winning horse was disqualified.
More Country Stars Were at the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Too