A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Churchill Downs breaks ground on new $60 million ‘Derby City Gaming’ facility, sets fall 2018 opening

Churchill Downs Racetrack broke ground Wednesday on its new $60 million historical racing machine facility in Louisville.

Derby City Gaming, a state-of-the-art 85,000-square-foot facility, will open in fall 2018 at 4520 Poplar Level Road, Churchill Downs’ former Trackside location, also known previously as Sports Spectrum. The location is less than half a mile from the Poplar Level Road exit off the Watterson Expressway (I-264).

“Churchill Downs is proud to have been part of the Louisville community for more than 140 years, and we are excited about our continued growth in this great city. We are moving full speed ahead to develop and open Derby City Gaming, an innovative new facility which pays homage to the place we call home,” Churchill Downs Racetrack president Kevin Flanery said. “The logo, which features the Kentucky Derby icon mark of a horseshoe and rose, reflects the tremendous impact this project will have on Kentucky’s signature horse racing industry. Bringing historical racing to Louisville is critical to keeping the Kentucky racing circuit competitive through larger purses and greater incentives for owners, breeders and trainers.”

“Churchill Downs’ investment in historical racing in Louisville is helping to create a better, stronger future for Kentucky’s equine industry. The revenue generated by Derby City Gaming will fund purses that are significantly higher than ever before,” renowned horse trainer Dale Romans said. “A win for horse racing is a win for all of Kentucky.”

“At this time, historical racing is the most effective way to supplement purses and rebuild the Kentucky racing circuit to keep us competitive with other states,” Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association chairman, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission member and longtime local horse owner Dr. David “Doc” Richardson said. “As Churchill Downs moves forward with Derby City Gaming, I’m hopeful my fellow racing commission members and others will join me in recognizing the new life historical racing can bring to our industry.”

Derby City Gaming will create an estimated 400 new jobs for the local economy, including 250 construction jobs and 150 full- and part-time jobs to operate and manage the facility. Churchill Downs will hire both hourly and salaried employees in areas including operations, marketing, finance, food and beverage, maintenance, information technology, human resources, security and administration.

“The City of Louisville is proud to support Churchill Downs in this exciting new venture,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “Louisville is flourishing, and it is in large part due to the investments of companies like Churchill Downs that encourage new jobs and economic growth through innovation and technology.”

Derby City Gaming will be the only facility of its kind in Louisville and an entertainment destination for locals and visitors alike. The facility will house two quick-service, walk-up food venues, as well as a bar with seating for 50 and large format televisions for guests to take in all the best sporting action year-round. The gaming area will open with 600 cutting-edge historical racing machines, a simulcast wagering area and a player’s club reward center offering special perks and benefits, including an exclusive parking area for VIP players.

“Our focus on historical racing is driven by our commitment to bringing much-needed innovation to our industry, not just here in Louisville but throughout the state, and we’re doing this through initiatives like Derby City Gaming,” added Flanery. “The future is bright for horse racing in Kentucky, and Churchill Downs is excited to play an important role in that evolution.”

From Churchill Downs

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