Churchill Downs adjusts security protocol for Derby weekend - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Churchill Downs adjusts security protocol for Derby weekend

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a neck-and-neck comparison on a dark and dreary Kentucky Oaks day at Churchill Downs as to who's moving more quickly: the crowds of fans trying to race through security or the horses breaking from the gate.

A friendly security worker draped in a poncho said, "Come on in, get done quick."

But one-by-one fans were stopped in their tracks because what they needed most was not allowed in to the historic race track.

The same friendly worker explained, "You can't take your umbrella."

Umbrellas are on the banned items list and proved to be the most confiscated item as rain pounded race fans in front of the main gate.

Miami native Tracie Richards couldn't help but curse when she got the news, but after she placed her umbrella in the trash, she decided to take it all in stride. She's attending her first Kentucky Oaks and Derby.

"It's raining. We need an umbrella. But it's OK, we'll go with it," Richards said.

Crowds looked through the hundreds of umbrellas piled up at the gate as they left the track on Friday. Eva Slabek found one of her umbrellas, but the other one was lost.

“This is our first time here," she said. "We’re from Chicago, so we drove up this way, and they we’re like you can’t bring umbrellas in."

This year, Churchill Downs also implemented a new rule banning reentry. Fans can no longer go and come as they please on the same ticket. Officials said the move was made to cut down on ticket scalpers.

"We're very observant," CSC security worker Corey Lee said. "We have a large team here and want to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. We want to make sure everyone goes in and stays safe especially on a day like this."

A fleet of police and private security will work at Churchill Downs over the course of the Oaks and Derby, and they are keenly aware that a murder occurred less than a mile from the track earlier in the week.

LMPD is leading the security detail but won't release the exact number of staff members assigned. In prior years, track officials said it topped 1,000, including Louisville police, state troopers, private security and the Kentucky National Guard members.

Most citations and arrests are tied to public intoxication

Kentucky Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel John Blackburn told his soldiers, "Take care of one another and do what you need to do to help the police."

See below for a completed list of items that are prohibited from the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

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