Churchill Downs finishes $18 million renovations in time for Kentucky Derby
Apr 26, 2016
By Katie George
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Churchill Downs is finishing an $18 million project just in time for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
“We’re in the final stages of creating a new space for all our customers, horsemen year-round. We’re excited about everything we’ve done,” said Kevin Flanery, the President of Churchill Downs Racetrack.
The multi-million dollar Clubhouse Enhancements Project added more bars, more seats and more décor.
Now, fans can experience horse racing from new balconies, updated boxes, lounges and bars throughout the clubhouse areas.
“We have really tried to celebrate horse racing at Churchill Downs and the thoroughbred industry. You’ll see a lot of prints and accent points that are kind of hidden treasures in this new construction,” Flanery said.
A new, larger Stakes Room was built on the fourth floor.
The Directors Room, a place for owners and teams to celebrate after races, was moved to the third floor.
And the Turf Club and former Matt Winn Room were combined into one larger room.
“The Turf Club is sort of our private membership club, it’s the place where the folks who are here year-round relax and enjoy themselves. So, we’ve redesigned it and really tried to celebrate the history of racing there,” Flanery said.
The focus on the décor was very apparent.
Flanery described the details and furnishings in the new, larger Stakes Room.
“We tried to incorporate into the architecture things that are germane to the horse industry. You’ll see leather straps, obviously the bridle … The straps on the saddle reflect back to that, and behind it you see the murals on the wall, the screen prints celebrating races of years past.”
Other small details include walls showcasing lyrics and music notes from “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Etchings in granite bar tops mark the posts and finish lines on the racetrack.
And an old school flip clock will go off at the top of each hour for two minutes, signifying the greatest two minutes in sports.
Flanery says it’s details like this that he hopes achieve “Wow” moments for fans.
“We’re trying to create as many experiences as possible,” Flanery said.