04/26/2016 12:04PM

Churchill unveils $18 million in renovations

Barbara D. Livingston
The Churchill Downs Turf Club (above) is among the areas of the track that have been renovated.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Churchill Downs officials unveiled the latest renovation to their flagship facility when some $18 million in upgrades were presented Tuesday to the media.

The project includes a new Turf Club, Stakes Room, balconies, and box-seating areas that oversee the finish line from the third and fourth floors of the clubhouse. Construction began after the 2015 fall meet, and finishing touches were still being applied this week in time for the opening of the 2016 spring meet Saturday night, with the Kentucky Oaks and Derby set for the following weekend.

The completely redesigned areas come with major customer-service improvements and decorative touches that reflect this track’s rich traditions.

“We’re really trying to celebrate the history of horse racing and Churchill Downs,” Kevin Flanery, Churchill racetrack president, said during a one-hour tour.

All told, the enhancement covers 82,000 square feet and provides a number of features, including murals, photographs, artworks, and improved lighting. The new Turf Club entrance is adorned with enlarged photos of celebrities who have attended the Derby, from Babe Ruth and Lord Derby himself to Bob Hope, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Jordan.

Seating in these new premium areas will increase by 41 percent, from 1,886 to 2,660, while total reserved seating increases from 57,880 to 58,654. Total attendance for the 2015 Kentucky Derby was a record 170,513.

These improvements are just the latest at a track founded in 1875. The most sweeping renovation in recent times cost $121 million and was completed in time for the 2005 Derby. Churchill officials report another $70 million has been spent on capital projects in the last six years alone.

Eleanor Sniegowski More than 1 year ago
churchill would like to race 4 days ayear.oaks day derby day and 2 breeder cup days in the fall.thats it!!!
Jay Schmitt More than 1 year ago
Totally agree with you.
Chas More than 1 year ago
Some $88 million spent on fixing up Churchill front side - but, what about the back stretch? Or, what about the Fair Grounds backside? And we know how much was spent at Calder - zip,,nada, nothing and it is now gone!....
And then there is the racing purses at the tracks - where is the money? 
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Sounds like the improvements are for the wealthy, way to go CDI.
It would be nice if they at least let us bring in bleacher seat backs.
Jose Figueroa More than 1 year ago
Cd is killing racing cd is about cd no one else
Jose Figueroa More than 1 year ago
Look at what they did to Calder race track in Miami fla
Stet Dotnet More than 1 year ago
And you'll still have to wait 45 minutes to place a bet....
Tim Shugrue More than 1 year ago
and the backside got what???
john g More than 1 year ago
Rolling in the dough, rolling in the dough, The big wigs at Churchill will be rejoicing when their rolling in the dough. Rolling in the dough, rolling in the dough, CD will have to increase the takeout for they can keep rolling in the dough.Rolling in the dough, rolling in the dough, they will throw some crumbs to their workers and keep rolling in the dough.They will pack em in like sardines and just keep rolling in the dough.They will charge you $10 for a beer and just keep rolling in the dough.They will treat you like a poor peasant but keep rolling in the dough.
Erv Pofelski More than 1 year ago
All that money and they can't replace the polytrack at Arlington?