Churchill Downs new paddock ‘transformational’



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New premium seating for Kentucky Derby Image: Chruchill Down Racetrack

For the first time since the Kentucky Derby, the Churchill Downs in South Louisville, Kentucky, United States, is showing off the progress on the new $200 million paddock construction project.

‘WDRB.com’ stated that with Derby 150 still about nine months away (May 2024), construction continues.

The 165,000-capacity Churchill Downs is a horse racing complex located on Central Avenue in South Louisville, Kentucky, United States, famed for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby. It officially opened in 1875 and began its tradition as the ‘Home of the Kentucky Derby’ and the longest continually running sporting event in America.

Known as the home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, the Churchill Downs Racetrack conducts Thoroughbred horse racing in Louisville, Kentucky during three race meets in the Spring, September and the Fall. The racetrack occupies 147 acres, featuring a one-mile dirt, oval racetrack and a seven furlong turf race course.

Over the course of three centuries, the track has completed several massive renovation projects to modernize its venerable grandstand and clubhouse and to accommodate its more than 165,000 guests on Kentucky Derby Day. The modernization projects have included the construction of private luxury suites and integrated simulcast areas, the installation of permanent lights to operate night-time race programs and building The Big Board – the world’s largest 4k video screen. The Twin Spires that sit atop the grandstands remain the most recognizable architectural feature of Churchill Downs and serve as a symbol of the racetrack.

The Kentucky Derby is an American Grade I stakes race run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, US. The race is run by three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of 1+1⁄4 miles, the first time horses in the field race that distance. The colts and geldings carry 126 pounds and the fillies 121 pounds.

Also known as ‘The Run for the Roses®’ and ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports®’, the Kentucky Derby is the most attended horse race in the United States. The 150th Kentucky Derby will take place on May 4th, 2024.

‘WDRB.com’ quoted the Churchill Downs spokesperson Darren Rogers as stating, “It is the most transformational project we’ve had at Churchill Downs in probably our 150-year history. The steel beams are up as the paddock continues its transformation into what it will look like come the first Saturday in May 2024. We’re about halfway done with putting the steel down. That should be completed by late September, early October.”

A construction team of about 100 are working daily to make the project happen.

Added Rogers, “Glass stalls, its one-way glass so the horses can’t see inside, but you can see out.”

Rogers informed that the track is getting ready for the September meet, which will be taking place at Churchill Downs.

The track moved the remainder of its Spring Meet to the Ellis Park in June after 12 horses died in 30 days at Churchill.

The Ellis Park is a thoroughbred racetrack near Henderson, Kentucky, just south of Evansville, Indiana (US). It is owned and operated by the Churchill Downs Incorporated. The facility is 210 acres (0.85 km2) and has a 6,000-seat grandstand and 38 barns. It is one of two tracks in the United States to contain a one-mile (1.6 km) chute at a 90-degree angle by the first turn.

Louisville, Kentucky (US)-based Churchill Downs Incorporated is the parent company of Churchill Downs. The company has evolved from one racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, to a multi American-Statewide, publicly-traded company with racetracks, casinos and an online wagering company among its portfolio of businesses.

Rogers didn’t provide the specifics, but said races will be back in Louisville starting September 14th for the September Meet. The Meet runs through to October 1st before the Churchill Downs closes for a month until the 21-day Fall Meet begins on October 29th.

Racing will resume at the Churchill Downs in September, the Louisville-based racetrack said recently following an internal safety review that was launched after the deaths of 12 horses at the home of the Kentucky Derby.

Remarked Rogers, “We’re moving forward with those plans and we still have seven weeks out, we’ll have much more to announce over the next seven weeks.”

At that time, guests will still need to avoid the paddock area as construction continues. Following the Spring Meet, races will take place at the 8,799-capacity Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, and then back at Churchill for the Fall Meet.

The new area also includes seats for more than 3,000, including more box seats and a standing room-only area. Rogers said the project is on track to be finished in time for Kentucky Derby 150 on May 4th – It only comes around once, and it is a milestone that we are all looking forward to celebrating.”

Tickets are already on sale for the September Meet. To purchase your tickets, click here.

A ‘LinkedIn Post By Churchill Downs Racetrack’ stated, “We are well underway with the construction of the BRAND NEW Paddock Experience for the 150th Kentucky Derby! 🏇”

The ‘LinkedIn Post By Churchill Downs Racetrack’ further stated that “The 1895 Club is a luxury dining experience with behind-the-scenes views of the Paddock and Paddock Runway as well as trackside outdoor viewing during live racing!”
 

Re-envisioned Paddock

‘KENTUCKY DERBY’ stated that the re-envisioned Paddock of Churchill Downs is designed to enhance the heart of the fan experience at the track by providing additional seating and improved views of our Paddock.
 

EAST VIEW

 

Woodford Reserve Paddock Club

An exclusive and unique up-close experience and unparalleled in all of sports and entertainment:

  • Luxury club exceeding the expectations of guests with even the most discerning taste;
  • Dining tables to accommodate two (2), four (4), six (6), or eight (8) guests;
  • A curated dining experience worth savoring and cocktail service showcasing top shelf bourbons;
  • Spectacular views of the Paddock and Paddock Runway accessible via a private tunnel;
  • Upscale amenities and service included a dedicated concierge team, private restrooms with concierge service, a private bar, and a private betting parlor; and
  • Trackside outdoor viewing during live racing.

 

Paddock Grandstands

  • Plaza and Paddock walkaround access including access to the Paddock viewing platforms;
  • All-inclusive concession food and beverage options including the classic Mint Julep and Oaks Lilly; and
  • Access to the first floor restrooms and wagering machines.

 

Plaza Balcony

‘KENTUCKY DERBY’ further stated that the all-new outdoor dining experience with views overlooking the Paddock:

  • Covered outdoor dining tables accommodating six (6) or eight (8) guests;
  • A Chef’s Table buffet and waitstaffed cocktail service;
  • Easy access to restrooms, wagering machines and bars;
  • Racetrack viewing from the third floor box seating areas; and
  • Get a closer look at the Jockey’s silks as they walk through this space on their way to the Paddock.

 

Spires Terrace and Suites

A 360o view of Churchill Downs including breathtaking views of the racetrack and the brand-new Paddock from beneath the historic Twin Spires:

  • Semi-private suites include soft-seating arrangements offering the guests luxurious finishes and comfortable spaces to enjoy the races;
  • Spires Terrace dining tables accommodate four (4) guests;
  • Chef’s Table access with surprise and delight moments delivered by the waitstaff throughout the day and cocktail service;
  • Access to the Turf Club amenities including attended wagering windows, food, bars, and restrooms; and
  • See both pre-race preparations in the Paddock and live race action on the track with only the turn of a head.

 

WEST VIEW

 

1895 CLUB

Luxury equine-focused dining experience with “behind-the-scenes” view of the Paddock and the Paddock Runway:

  • Dining tables to accommodate four (4), six (6) or 8 guests;
  • Curated Chef’s Table Buffet with “surprise and delight” moments and waitstaffed cocktail service;
  • Private restrooms, attended wagering windows, private bar, and spectacular views of the Paddock and the Paddock Runway; and
  • Trackside outdoor viewing during live racing.

 
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