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Martina McBride will have an up close seat at this weekend's Kentucky Derby.  The country star has been tapped to sing the national anthem at the start of the event.  Her performance will be part of NBC's coverage of the 139th Run for the Roses, which will take place at Churchill Downs in Saturday. 

The broadcast is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.  McBride's "Star-Spangled Banner" is expected shortly after 5:00 p.m. Eastern.  The race is slated to start at 6:24 p.m. Eastern. 

Martina is the third country star to sing the anthem at the Kentucky Derby since the event started featuring live performances of the patriotic song.  LeAnn Rimes gave the inaugural performance in 2009, and Rascal Flatts followed in 2010.  "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks handled the task in 2011, and Mary J. Blige sang the anthem last year. 

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