Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of the legendary Kentucky Derby, has announced three major multi-year capital investments to transform key areas of the track that aim to provide new guest experiences at the Derby in the coming years.
Among the improvements would be a Homestretch Club adjacent to the homestretch, converting what is now outdoor bleacher seating into three seating options with amenities and premium hospitality spaces including 30 trackside lounges, 60 terraced dining tables and 2,610 Stadium Club seats with five private VIP hospitality lounges. The club will cost $45 million and could be finished in time for the 2022 Derby.
The track would also have a new Turn 1 experience to be completed by 2023 with 5,100 covered stadium seats and a hospitality venue with reserved dining room for up to 2,000 guests, plus two concourses for guest circulation and socializing. A paddock area redesign would be finished by 2024 and transform the existing area with more seating and experiences for guests.
These investments round out the previously-announced Turf Course replacement project which is underway and is on schedule to be ready in May 2022.
“These capital investments are a direct response to our customer’s demand for a unique and extraordinary atmosphere,” said Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of CDI. “The upgrades we plan to introduce are designed to ensure that Churchill Downs remains the premier racing destination for generations to come with unparalleled service, entertainment and racing experiences for our guests, which is truly the hallmark of the Kentucky Derby. With each project we have given great focus to elevating the product while maintaining and honoring the rich history and tradition of Churchill Downs Racetrack.”
Churchill Downs also announced a $76 million expansion at Derby City Gaming that includes construction of a hotel, additional gaming positions and expansion of the current amenities at the facility in order to better serve and attract guests. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2022; the expanded gaming floor is targeted to open in late 2022 and the hotel is expected to open in the spring of 2023.
The project will add 135,000 square feet of new space to the facility and open with 200 additional gaming positions. The new space will be able to ultimately accommodate up to 400 new gaming positions. The expansion will include a VIP gaming space, a new sports bar, a variety of new food and beverage options and an adjoining five-story hotel tower which will include 123 rooms.