Churchill Downs renovation update: What to expect at Kentucky Derby 149

When Kentucky Derby 149 rolls around in May, Churchill Downs is going to look different.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 3:23 PM CST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - When Kentucky Derby 149 rolls around in May, Churchill Downs is going to look different.

There have been a lot of changes at the track since Aristides first laid claim to the title of Derby champion nearly a century and a half ago.

Churchill Downs said perhaps none of those changes compare to what’s going on presently.

”I think this will be the most transformational,” Churchill Downs spokesperson Darren Rogers said.

Churchill Downs has spent roughly $1 billion on construction projects in the last decade or so.

Part of that is the $200 million dollar Paddock area will look like. A digital rendering shows what to expect.

It’ll include suites, dining, a viewing area and walking circle.

“The old paddock area was 5,000 square feet,” Rogers said. “This is now going to be 12,000 square feet, so you’ll be able to get more people inside the Paddock, especially on Oaks and Derby days.”

This is a two-year plan for the Paddock, so unlike the new First Turn dining club, don’t expect to see it this year.

Churchill will lay asphalt over the existing paddock area for Derby 149 in May and line it with vendors and activities.

After Derby, the asphalt comes up, and it’s back to work.

This project could be a photo finish. Churchill Downs expects completion of this project to back up all the way into the week of Derby 150.