Rich guest experiences at ‘Run for the Roses’


New premium seating for the 150th Kentucky Derby Image: Churchill Downs Inc.

The 149th running of the horse race Kentucky Derby (US) has not yet been done and already plans are underway for the sesquicentennial – the 150th race.

‘SPECTRUM NEWS 1’ stated that in May 2021, attendance was limited to 52,000 but by last Spring, 147,294 watched in person as 81-1 long shot American Thoroughbred racehorse Rich Strike pulled off a stunning upset.

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.

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 was named after Samuel Churchill, whose family was prominent in Kentucky for many years.

‘SPECTRUM NEWS 1’ further stated that the track expects another huge crowd for the 149th Derby on May 6th.

Churchill Downs announced the kickoff of a yearlong celebration of the 150th Run for the Roses. The Derby is the longest continually run sporting event in the United States, having gone off every year since 1875, even during World Wars and pandemics.

The Derby is frequently referred to as ‘The Run for the Roses’, because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition originated in 1883 when the New York City socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to ladies at a post-Derby party.

Maintained Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack, “One hundred and fifty (150) years of tradition, hospitality and the best horse racing in the world takes center stage as the Kentucky Derby celebrates an extraordinary achievement. To honor the significance of the anniversary, the rich history of the Derby and its place in our culture, we are excited to unveil new and enhanced guest experiences for decades to come.”

The track rolled out a new website recently, and it outlines new experiences coming to Churchill Downs for the race on May 4th, 2024.

Improvements are being made now that will be completed by 2024. The most eye-catching is the $200 million renovation of the Paddock. The upgrade will double the size of the walking ring for horses, create almost 3,600 new seats and 3,250 standing room tickets. The new Paddock will also feature premium club spaces, dining areas and box rails.

Said Sarah Contardo, Vice-President of Sales and Strategy of Churchill Downs Racetrack, “As we plan to celebrate our 150th anniversary in the year ahead, we are thrilled to debut new world-class hospitality opportunities to enjoy Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.”
Along with the Paddock, racing fans will be treated to new dining clubs and outdoor dining areas for Derby 150:

  • The Woodford Reserve Paddock Club and Paddock Club Enclosure: Both areas include special access to the paddock area through a private tunnel, a “curated dining experience”, a concierge team, private betting parlor, and a view of the races trackside.
  • 1895 Club and 1895 Enclosure: This new club will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at equine life with a view of the paddock runway and saddling stalls.
  • Spires Terrace and Suites: This experience is a first for Churchill Downs. This area will allow fans to have an “outdoor luxury dining experience with a dedicated concierge team.” The suites are situated under the Twin Spires and will offer a 360-degree view of both the track and paddock.

Churchill Downs is also bringing race fans new covered outdoor dining areas that will create over 2,600 seats. The track is creating three outdoor balcony areas: The Silks Balcony and Loge, Plaza Balcony and Loge and the Triple Crown Balcony. That’s not all. The track is creating the Paddock Overlook, the Champions Balcony and Loge and they are expanding the Turf Club Balcony.

‘Derby of a Lifetime’ Experience

To celebrate 150 years of horse racing and tradition, Churchill Downs will offer fans a chance at winning a ‘Derby of a Lifetime’ experience. Fans will win VIP tickets to Derby 150, Taste of Derby tickets, a Derby weekend hotel stay, airfare and ground transportation, an exclusive Vineyard Vines apparel line, designer headwear and exclusive visits to the Paddock, Stable Area and the Kentucky Derby Red Carpet Experience.

One can sign up for the ‘Derby of a Lifetime Experience’ online. The chance to win will be hosted online through January 31st, 2024.

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