Community Local News

Churchill Downs hopes to improve the guest experience with a three-phase, three-year renovation process.

Representatives from the racetrack outlined the plans in a press release Wednesday.

The first phase will work on the Homestretch Club. It will be an air-conditioned room with food and beverage service. The amenities will be available to guests with tickets in the Winner’s Circle Suites and Jockey’s Club Suites.

This phase is planned to be finished by May 2022, according to Churchill Downs. 

Phase two includes changes to seating areas. The “Turn 1 Experience” will change seats that are customarily temporary during Derby and Oaks into a permanent fixture. The project will increase capacity by more than 3,000 seats. 

That piece is slated for completion by May 2023.

Renovations to the paddock are the third and final phase of the project. Churchill Downs officials say that it’s still in the design stages, but will “transform the existing paddock area in a manner that will enhance the experience for nearly every guest who enters the gates of the historic racetrack.”

Plans have this phase finishing by May 2024, with all sections of the renovations concluding in time for the 150th Kentucky Derby.

The announcement from Churchill Downs comes days after the Kentucky Derby Festival revealed plans to diversify the Derby experience for next year.

Officials from the Kentucky Derby Festival plan to send out surveys focused on getting input from West End residents on how to bring inclusivity in the vendors, sponsors and attendees of the festival.

Breya Jones is the Breaking News Reporter for WFPL.