Apr 26, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —The new clubhouse enhancements project at Churchill Downs is almost complete.

Crews expanded and opened up the Stakes Room, Roses Lounge and Turf Club and added a balcony to the Turf Club.

Bridles now hang from the ceiling of the Stakes Room and are one of many new features that help highlight the rich horseracing history of Churchill Downs.

“There’s actually an etching with horses running and one gold standing out says 89-1,” Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said.

The etching represents Donerail, the 1913 Kentucky Derby winner and the longest shot ever to win the Derby.

The following year, Old Roosevelt won the run for the roses and then Regret. All three winners are honored at the racetrack-shaped bar, dubbed the Over the Top bar.

“(They) were the three horses that Matt Winn said put the Kentucky Derby over the top in American consciousness. It made the Derby what it is today,” Flanery said.

Today, the Kentucky Derby attracts more than 100,000 people, many from across the country.

The hidden treasures serve as reminders of how it all started. They’re not only accent points, but history lessons.

“We have redesigned it and really tried to celebrate the history of racing,” Flanery said.

On Derby Day, horse owners and trainers and business people from across the country will be hanging out in the Stakes Room.

The Turf Club is a private membership club, which has newly constructed balcony seating.

“We have redesigned it and really tried to celebrate the history of horse racing. In particular, we have 12 tables, in the wood grain is in the style of the silks of all 12 Triple Crown winners. Little things like that to say, ‘I’m not just having a dining experience, I am having a dining experience at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby,’” Flanery said.

With the renovations, seating has been increased by 41 percent.

Many artistic features were added to reflect the horse racing industry.

The project cost $18 million.

Construction should be completed by Opening Night, which is 5 p.m. Saturday.



Tags: , , , , , ,