10/07/2013 10:43AM

Churchill Downs to install huge high-definition television


Churchill Downs plans to install a 15,000-square-foot high-definition video screen that will be visible to customers nearly anywhere at the track, with the installation being complete by next year’s Kentucky Derby, the company announced on Monday.

The $12 million video screen will be erected about 80 feet above the track, approximately midway down the backstretch outer rail, Churchill said. The video board itself will be 171 feet wide and 90 feet tall, and will be able to withstand winds of up to 85 miles per hour, according to the track and its designer, Panasonic.

Bill Carstanjen, the chief operating officer of Churchill Downs Inc., said at a conference in Paris, France, on Monday that the company made the decision to install the screen “for the customer.”

“Who doesn’t love a really big television?” Carstanjen said.

The foundation for the screen will be laid in December, Churchill said, with construction and installation taking place primarily during January and February, when the track is closed for training and there are no horses on the grounds. The board should be operational by the track’s April 26 opening in 2014, Churchill said. The Derby is scheduled for May 3.