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Churchill Downs Announces $9 Million in Renovations

Churchill Downs has announced $9 million in renovations highlighted by unveiled design plans and details for The Mansion at Churchill Downs.

The Mansion is a new venue that will meld the legendary past of the historic track with an exciting future to provide a lavish ambience, panoramic views, elegance and excitement.

The Mansion, which will be located on the 6th floor of the Clubhouse in an area that has largely served as the track’s media center since 2005, will be open for the 2013 renewals of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. It is the largest of four projects that will be underway at the track in the coming months.

Accompanying projects include a new Media Center to serve print, digital and broadcast journalists and the photographers and videographers who cover the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and other on-track events; the razing of the Paddock Pavilion to create an open gathering space for patrons of the Derby, Oaks, “Downs After Dark” racing and business and social events throughout the year; and the relocation and expansion of the track’s Gold Room, which serves VIP members of its Twin Spires Club’s TSC Elite wagering rewards program.

The Media Center and the new gathering space adjacent to the Paddock are scheduled to be completed prior to Churchill Downs’ Oct. 28-Nov. 25 Fall Meet, and the expanded Gold Room is set to open in August.  The Mansion at Churchill Downs will be completed prior to the 2013 Spring Meet and its 139th runnings of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby scheduled, respectively, for Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4.

“We’ve been hinting at details of The Mansion and those mentions have generated considerable buzz in our community and the racing and sports entertainment industries, so it’s good to provide some enticing details of a marvelous venue that will take the Kentucky Derby experience to an extraordinary new level,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Few events in the world can offer the experiences provided by the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, which combine entertainment, fashion, celebrity, food and fun with the excitement generated by the world-class races that are their respective centerpieces.  The sensations experienced by our guests in The Mansion will be unlike any offered in our 138-year history.”

The $9 million in spending on the four projects brings total investment over the past decade in facilities by Churchill Downs to more than $150 million. The investment total also includes the sweeping renovation of the track’s Clubhouse and Grandstand, which was completed in 2005 with a final price tag of $122.4 million, and the purchase and installation of a permanent lighting system for the main track and turf course, a $4 million project completed in 2010.

“The four projects getting underway this summer at Churchill Downs are the latest steps in an ongoing effort to improve and enhance both the facilities and the customer experience at Churchill Downs,” Flanery said.  “The more than $150 million in spending on facilities over the past decade at Churchill Downs has been targeted toward that goal and represents a significant investment in our city, state and region.  We will continue those efforts to ensure that the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and their home track remain major economic engines for our region for decades to come.”

–Edited Churchill Downs press release

Photo courtesy of Churchill Downs Communications

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