Churchill Downs to bask in pristine glory



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Churchill Downs renovation project update Sept 2021 Image: WDRB

Two major projects are underway at the horse racing complex at Churchill Downs (US) that will lead to some changes with September and Fall races.

The ‘WDRB.com’ stated that the historic Louisville horse racing track announced a trio of projects in July this year that will be worked on through Kentucky Derby 2024.

The 1,65,000-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 was named after Samuel Churchill, whose family was prominent in Kentucky for many years.

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, almost always on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The competition is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter miles at Churchill Downs.

Averred Churchill Downs Senior Director of Communications Darren Rogers, “You’ve got to keep moving the ball forward, and we’re doing that, but always with a nod to our historical past.”

The ‘WDRB.com’ further stated that right now, workers are laying down a new racing surface on the turf course. As a result, turf races will not be run during the September meet which began on September 16th. It will also not be available for races during the Fall meet which begins on October 31st.

Added Rogers, “It is a $10 million. Around October the 3rd, we will start putting down the sod.”

Also under construction is the new, $45 million ‘Homestretch Club’.

The project will enclose outdoor bleacher seating along the track’s homestretch, making for 18,600 square feet of indoor space in “a high-end airconditioned club atmosphere”.

The ‘Homestretch Club’ will include 3,250 “stadium club” seats sold through all-inclusive food and beverage packages. That’s 1,950 fewer reserved seats than in the area currently, Churchill Downs authorities said.

It is expected to be completed before Derby 2022. The area will be unavailable for September and Fall races.

Then, ahead of the 2023 Derby, Churchill Downs plans to unveil more permanent, all-inclusive stadium seating at the ‘Turn 1 Experience’ near the track’s first turn.

The temporary grandstands erected for Kentucky Oaks and Derby weekend will be replaced with 5,100 stadium seats as part of the $90 million project.

Churchill Downs is also planning a major renovation of the paddock area to be ready for Derby 2024 but details have not been finalized yet.

Asserted Rogers, “Every project that we touch or do we want to create a different experience that people are asking for is Number 1. Number 2 we’re always trying to respect the history of the Downs.”

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