01/15/2013 1:25PM

Churchill Downs unveils new media center/simulcast room


Churchill Downs has unveiled a multi-purpose facility known as The Parlay, which is intended to replace the Joe Hirsch Media Center for working media while also serving as the primary base for off-season simulcast bettors.

The Parlay, which was scheduled to open Wednesday at the Louisville, Ky., track is located in the first-floor space near Gate 1 that formerly served as the administrative offices for the racetrack staff. There is no view of the racetrack, although the 14,000-square-foot space is replete with what Churchill officials termed “state-of-the-art” amenities, including large high-definition televisions.

The Parlay is one of four major renovation projects that were undertaken last year with a combined cost of $9 million. The sixth-floor space that has been occupied since 2005 by the Joe Hirsch Media Center and the Gold Room for upscale bettors are being displaced by The Mansion, a luxury venue to be used primarily for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks and other major events.

The Parlay will be reserved exclusively for media and a new Gold Room section beginning April 1, with other simulcast bettors returning to the customary spot on the second floor. Such an arrangement will exist during all live meets and on other dates leading into those meets.