Churchill Downs spent more than $230 million on renovations sinc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs spent more than $230 million on renovations since 2001

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -

Churchill Downs is starting a new $37 million expansion project in January. The track is adding 1,800 new seats for a grand total of 60,000 seats in the stands.

Since 2001, Churchill Downs has spent more than $230 million on renovations.

“Of all the remarkable times in the 142-year history of Churchill Downs, I would suggest the last 20 years have been the most exciting years,” said John Asher Vice President of Racing Communication at Churchill Downs.

The new addition will be three floors with 36 individual luxury suites right next to the Jockey Club Suites above section 324 and 325.

“It will be located on the upper end on the north end of the race track,” Asher said.

The section will be called the Starting Gate Suites. True to the name, they’ll give Derby spectators the best view of the starting gates and the home stretch.

“We do need that many seats. Not every day of course, but especially on two specific days of the year,” Asher said.

During the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby, there were more than 170,000 spectators, and each year it's growing.

“With the creation of Thurby a couple years back, our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of Derby week, before Oaks and Derby on Friday and Saturday, had the highest attendance in the history of the track this year,” Asher said.

Construction will start in January 2017 and will halt for Derby 2017. The project is expected to be completed by Derby 2018.

“None of that work will interfere with the 2017 Derby and Oak celebration,” Asher said. 

Here is a list of projects at Churchill Downs since 2001: 

2001-2005 – $126 million “Building on Tradition” creation of Jockey Club Suites and rebuilding of a large section of the Clubhouse

2013 - $9 million creation of The Mansion at Churchill Downs and the Paddock Plaza

2014 – Unveiling of the $12 million “Big Board,” a 15,224 square-foot HD LED video board, and the $14.5 million construction of the Grandstand Terrace/Rooftop Garden

2015 – Introduction of the $4.2 million Winner’s Circle Suites and Courtyard

2016 -- $18 million renovation and enhancements in the Turf Club, Directors Room and Clubhouse balconies.  Completed prior to 2016 Derby.

2017 -- $16 million upgrades to second floor of the Clubhouse – scheduled for completion prior to the 2017 Kentucky Derby.

2017-2018 -- $37 million project to create the Starting Gate Suites – 36 new luxury suites and more than 1,800 new seats in the upper homestretch near the Kentucky Derby starting gate location.  Due for completion prior to the 2018 Kentucky Derby.

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