Churchill Downs looks ahead to new September racing meet - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs looks ahead to new September racing meet

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- The business of horse racing has its challenges these days.

Churchill Downs is trying to stay ahead of the curve.

The legendary race track is looking to the future to make history this fall.

All is quiet at Churchill Downs this week, no horses on the track or fans in the stands as the spring meet has come to an end.

Only a few groups of summer tourists at the track on Wednesday taking a first hand look.

Racing fans won't have to wait as long for live racing to return here this year as they usually do in past years.

"We are excited to introduce racing in September," says Darren Rogers, the Senior Director of Communications and Media Services at Churchill Downs.

For the first time in its 139 year history Churchill Downs will stage a 12 day meet in September in addition to the traditional fall meet in October and November.

Says Rogers, "This is the first time we will have three race meets in Churchill Downs history."

Rogers says the September meet will runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the four weekends of the month.

There will be two "Downs after Dark" evening racing on the schedule.

"It is something new for the city of Louisville," explains Rogers, "so we will have to cut through the clutter because it is football season; that is why we have named it the Homecoming Meet, we hope to working around the U of L football games."

While many race tracks across the country are struggling to bring in fans, and some tracks have even closed, Churchill Downs is trying to stay ahead of the game by adding September racing dates.

"This is something we haven't done before," says Rogers, "but we are excited about new things, that is what we are committed to do, to try new things."

Despite a very rainy Kentucky Derby that ended a string of record setting attendance, plus several other rainy days during the spring meet, Rogers says the meet was a success. But that nothing in the future is guaranteed.

Adds Rogers, "We still face many challenges, the challenge of horsemen competing and leaving the area for race tracks that offer alternate revenue streams, that is a challenge that continues, and continues to grow."

He says September racing at Churchill Downs will keep many horsemen here.

The September meet set to begin on 6th of the month and end on the 29th.

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