Churchill Downs races to complete two major projects before Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It is mid-January, but Churchill Downs is already looking ahead to Derby 140.
While 109 days until Derby Day may seem a long way off, there was plenty of activity at the track on Tuesday.
Churchill Downs is investing more than $26 million on two major projects.
In December, crews began installing the $12 million giant video screen being built midway along the backstretch.
"We are currently drilling and pouring concrete during this month and the video screen will be completed by the end of March," said Churchill Downs spokesman Darren Rogers.
Panasonic is installing the video screen, which is described as the largest 4K video board in the world, larger than three basketball courts.
"4K is ultra high definition, the clarity is going to be absolutely sensational," Rogers said.
Everyone at the track will be able to see the screen no matter where they are gathered.
Construction on the $14.5 million upgrade to the east side of the grandstand is also in high gear during the winter months.
Rogers says that is an area of the track that has not been upgraded since the 1950s.
The improvements to the grandstand include an additional 2,400 seats, refurbished rest rooms, additional food and beverage offerings and mutual windows. There will also be a new rooftop garden in the area.
Even though Derby weekend continues to draw record crowds, Downs management continues to invest millions of dollars each year to make sure customers continue to enjoy the racing experience.
"We have a 147-acre facility filled with rich tradition and history and we want to keep building on that," Rogers added.
Both major projects will be ready in time for the opening night of spring racing Saturday, April 26.
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