Churchill Downs has unveiled plans for three capital investments to the historic Louisville track, beginning with the Homestretch Club for Kentucky Derby 2022 and culminating with a Paddock area redesign for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2024.
The Homestretch Club will renovate and update the grandstand area adjacent to the Twin Spires along the track's homestretch. The project will convert what is currently outdoor bleacher seating next to the Winner's Circle Suites and below the Jockey Club Suites into three unique seating options with all-inclusive amenities. Ticketed guests in the Homestretch Club will have access to 18,600 sq. ft. of new interior premium hospitality space in the first-floor concourse area.
In total, the $45-million project will provide for 3,250 all-inclusive seats, which is 1,950 fewer reserved seats than were previously in this area. It is expected to be completed by the 2022 Derby.
The Turn 1 Experience will introduce permanent all-inclusive stadium seats at Churchill Downs in a unique location with exclusive views of the Kentucky Derby walkover and the picturesque first turn framed by the Twin Spires. The project will upgrade and expand what is currently 3,400 temporary Oaks and Derby seats to 5,100 all-inclusive permanent stadium seats with significantly improved amenities designed to enhance the overall guest experience. The permanent construction will also add a climate-controlled hospitality venue below the new stadium seats that will serve as premium seating for up to 2,000 guests.
In total, the project will provide for 7,100 all-inclusive seats, which is 3,700 more reserved seats than were previously in this area. The $90-million Turn 1 Experience is scheduled for completion in time for the 2023 Derby.
The final project, the Paddock Area Redesign, is still in the early design stage, with plans to introduce new and innovative seating and experiences.
“We have so much to anticipate as we look toward the 150th Kentucky Derby in 2024,” said Mike Anderson, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We've listened to our customers' feedback over the years and the response to those demands can be seen in these upcoming capital projects. The design of each will blend 147 years of tradition with an updated atmosphere that celebrates our storied past and ushers in a spectacular future for Churchill Downs.”
Also Wednesday, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced a $76-million expansion at its Louisville gaming facility, Derby City Gaming, that includes construction of a hotel, additional gaming positions and expansion of the current amenities.
“Derby City Gaming continues to exceed the company's expectations,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “The expansion of this premier gaming property is intended to create an elevated experience for our guests that is inclusive of all their hospitality needs and is anticipated to fuel ongoing growth in purse contributions for Churchill Downs Racetrack.”
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin in early 2022 pending rezoning review and approval by the City of Louisville. The expanded gaming floor is targeted to open in late 2022 and the hotel is expected to open in the spring of 2023.