Churchill Downs cleans up after 120,000 people Friday, preparing - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs cleans up after 120,000 people Friday, preparing for more Saturday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Once everyone leaves Churchill Downs on Friday, another race begins to clean up. 

Officials say they have it down to a science. When Derby goers walk in Saturday, they won't be able to tell more than 120,000 people were there Friday.

When you talk to people at the Kentucky Oaks, you'll find some aren't just taking in one day of racing.

But some are also getting ready to head to the Derby.

"It's kind of Christmas for us," one attendee said. "We come out and do both and have a very long weekend."

Going to the Oaks and the Derby means two outfits, two days of betting and usually not a lot of sleep.

Churchill Downs is ready for Derby day too. 

"I'd say it pretty fills the description of daunting task, but it's done every year," spokesman John Asher said.

They're cleaning up behind more than 100,000 people ... without a lot of time. 

"We've kind of developed it into a science over the years, especially as both these events have grown," Asher said.

Track officials say roughly 700 people are involved the process, and many are part of community, school and charity groups. 

"I'm used to seeing a lot of things here, but there's nothing more amazing than seeing that transformation from Oaks to Derby day," Asher said.

Many people stood in line for as much as an hour outside the track Friday morning. Churchill Downs released the following statement about the congestion:

"A significant number of our patrons experienced long lines and wait times while entering Churchill Downs Racetrack for today's Longines Kentucky Oaks program. We experienced issues with our admissions process and, after making adjustments in the process, lines moved more quickly and efficiently through the afternoon. Churchill Downs apologizes for he issues fans experienced today. We are working now to adjust and improve our admission process in an effort to make entry to the track for Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands as smooth an efficient as possible."

A close eye was kept on security after the shooting Thursday at the Pegasus Parade.

"We're not the fun police," said LMPD Maj. Kelly Jones. "We don't enjoy negative confrontation. We want everybody to have a great time."

Around 1,100 officers work the day of the Kentucky Derby, nearly the entire force. 

"We're always flexible," Kelly said. "We go where the challenges and issues may take us every year."

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