A High Note

| October 27, 2011
Teenager songwriter Mark Bolyan at his home in Banagher, Co Offaly.

Teenager songwriter Mark Bolyan at his home in Banagher, Co Offaly.

About 3,770 miles away from Louisville lives a 14-year-old boy in Ireland who’s arguably one of the biggest fans of the Breeders’ Cup. In fact, Mark Boylan is such a huge enthusiast of the event, he wrote a song called “Stateside,” dedicated to the World Championships.

We spoke to Boylan, who is coming to Louisville – and the United States – for the first time with his family to perform “Stateside,” which has been chosen as this year’s Breeders’ Cup anthem. Boylan will sing the song in front of thousands of people at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Nov. 5.

What inspired you to write “Stateside”?
I’m just so in love with the Breeders’ Cup, and I think it’s the ultimate test for a thoroughbred. It deserves a song to do it justice.

When you uploaded the song to YouTube, did you ever imagine it would have this impact?
You’re never expecting it really, but you have to have an element of hope. I sent it off to Breeders’ Cup and got a reply pretty quickly. They really seemed to be interested in it. I’m delighted to have the chance to go over (to the U.S.) to perform the song. It’s unbelievable.

Is there anything you’re anticipating or hoping to see on your visit?
I’m looking forward to what I’ve seen on TV. It looks to be a fantastic place. Everyone in school has been talking about it and the story is making national newspapers here. To perform at Breeders’ Cup will be absolutely huge and unbelievable.

Mark Boylan sang in the winner’s circle in Cheltenham.

Mark Boylan sang in the winner’s circle in Cheltenham.

I’ll be doing a few TV and radio appearances while I’m there as well, which will be very unique in itself. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the whole vibe of the place – how real America is and just to experience how things are over there. And, one thing I’m hoping to get to see is some music places. I’m quite interested in that side of things.

How long will you be in Louisville?
My family and I are flying out this Monday. We will be there for six days. I’m really excited. I’m going to be tired the next day. Nothing will stop me, though. Rain, hail or shine, it won’t stop me. We’re going to make the most of our time. It’ll be new boundaries for all of us.

Are you nervous about performing at Breeders’ Cup in front of thousands of people?
Nerves have never been a factor for me really. I feel there’s no reason to be nervous at all. Picking up that guitar, there might be those one or two butterflies in my stomach, but once I start there wont be a bother, as we say in Ireland. I’m performing in front of racing fans, and I’m a racing fan as well. Hopefully they’ll say, “Yes! Victory for racing!” And hopefully also say “Victory for Ireland!” I’m sharing what I love with everyone else. There’s no reason to be nervous then.

“Stateside,” is available for download on iTunes for $1.29. At Boylan’s request, all proceeds from the download will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

On the Air

Tune in to WHAS11’s morning show “Great Day Live!” – hosted by Rachel Platt and Terry Meiners – on Tuesday, Nov. 1, to hear Mark sing “Stateside” live.

Breeders’ Cup events

In addition to Boylan’s performance, here are a few other events happening before and during the World Championships:

Tuesday, Nov. 1: JOCKTAILS
J Wagner Group & Grey Goose will presents JOCKTAILS at The Breeders’ Cup on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at PRIME Lounge. The event will benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). The Breeders’ Cup Jockeys will be there to bartend, with 100 percent of tips from the event going toward the PDJF. Phil Kelly will perform live. There will also be music by DJ Ryan Coxx. Cover: $10 donation to PDJF. The event is open to the public from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.; invite only to bar area from 7 to 10 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 2: “It’s my Derby”
The Kentucky Derby Museum will host an event featuring Bob Baffert, Mike Pegram, Graham Motion, Jerry Bailey, John Velazquez and Angel Cordero Jr. along with the host and four-time Derby winner D. Wayne Lukas. The seven Kentucky Derby winners will share their stories of a lifetime in racing including their friendships with one another and highlights of their careers. Tickets: $50 for general admission, with appetizers and a cash bar included, or $125 for a VIP cocktail reception with the winners and reserved seating at the event. Visit www.derbymuseum.org for tickets and information.

Thursday, Nov. 3: Official Breeders’ Cup Kick-Off Party After-Party
PRIME Lounge will host the Official Breeders’ Cup Kick-Off Party After-Party. Music by DJ K-Dogg. VIP tables will be available for VIP bottle service. The event will be open to the public age 21 and over from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Friday, Nov. 4: Zenyatta Reunion Luncheon
Owners Jerry and Ann Moss, trainer John Shirreffs, racing manager Dottie Shirreffs and jockey Mike Smith will sign autographs. Zenyatta will also appear at the luncheon via live video feed. The event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets: $95. Visit www.zenyattashop.com.

Breeders’ Cup “Free Ride” promotion
College students will have the opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship throughout the day.

The Voice-Tribune’s Fascinator & Fedora Friday
Wear your best fascinator or fedora to compete for a chance to win $5,000.

WHAS11 $10K Fan Payday Sweepstakes
One lucky race fan will win a $10,000 wager on the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. Enter to win at the WHAS11 booth.

Zenyatta Celebration Hospitality Retreat
Enjoy private access to the Derby Museum’s full amenities, an afternoon buffet, cash bar, live simulcast and wagering for the Breeders’ Cup races, and the services of a complimentary handicapper to assist in your wagering selections from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $75. Visit www.zenyattashop.com.

The Zenyatta Celebration After-Party
Celebrate the end of the Breeders’ Cup in the impressive, historical setting of the Kentucky Derby Museum from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $40. Visit www.zenyattashop.com.

The Breeders Cup VIP Party with World Famous DJ VICE
Breeders’ Cup, J Wagner Group, & Grey Goose will present The Breeders Cup VIP Party with World Famous DJ VICE at PRIME Lounge. Music by World Famous DJ Vice & DJ K-Dogg. VIP tables will be available for VIP bottle service. The event is open to the public age 21 and over from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Saturday, Nov. 5: Presents The Official Breeders’ Cup Races After-Party
J Wagner Group & Grey Goose will present The Official Breeders’ Cup Races After-Party at PRIME Lounge. Music By DJ K-Dogg. VIP tables will be available for VIP bottle service. The event is open to the public age 21 and over from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

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About the Author (Author Profile)

Ashley Anderson

Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).

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