Churchill Downs prepares for last week of racing this year - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs prepares for last week of racing this year

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - There's just one week of racing left at Churchill Downs this year. 

The final days come after several days of weather extremes. Racing was canceled on Wednesday and Thursday because of a frozen track. Officials say that hasn't happened since 1970. 

"Twenty races were lost, which means horsemen did not have the ability to compete for the coveted prize money," Churchill Downs spokesperson Darren Rogers said. "What we've done, with only the few remaining cards we have left, we're tacking on extra races."

There's limited time to add on some of those races. Closing day is Nov. 30. 

"We're looking to end the season on a high note," Rogers said, adding that Thanksgiving Day is almost sold out. "We serve 7,000 turkey dinners on site to a number of families that have come here over the years. It's the largest number anywhere in the nation."

Rogers says Sunday, the last day of racing, will be aimed at thanking the community. 

"We're coming Sunday. We understand that there's free admission," said Campbellsville resident Mike Daugherty, who was at Churchill Downs this weekend. 

But after the doors close for the season, Rogers says the work at Churchill Downs is far from over. 

"We're already aggressively planning for Kentucky Derby 141," he said."We're less than six months away from the event." 

The track plans to build new winner's circle suites and reconfigure the trackside winner's circle. The project is expected to cost more than $4 million. 

"That construction will begin right after we close the fall meet, so a lot of activity going on here at Churchill Downs pertaining to Oaks and Derby." 

Officials say that construction will be done by the Spring Meet in April. The Kentucky Derby is set for May 2. 

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