Churchill Downs gives space $45 million renovation before Derby

With Kentucky Derby 148 just days away, crews are busy at Churchill Downs.And inside the Homestretch Club, which offers food, drink and hospitality, last-minute painting is being done and the newly laid carpet is being vacuumed. The space recently underwent a renovation and officials are celebrating the completion just in time for Derby.”I think this is going to be the hip new place to be on a big day at Churchill Downs,” track spokesperson Darren Rogers told WLKY.At a price tag of $45 million, one of the oldest sections of the track has been transformed into an all-inclusive club. There is terraced dining, 2,600 stadium seats, more than 20 trackside horseshoe lounges and a 95-foot bar, believed to be the longest in Kentucky.Demo work began in August but Calhoun Construction of Louisville said meeting the deadline was complicated by supply chain issues.More from Churchill: Churchill Downs unveils massive plan to ‘transform’ racetrack, expand gaming facility”We had to keep coming up with solutions, we’re not going to move Derby – the pandemic did it but they’re not going to move it back. It is the first Saturday in May and that’s when it’s going to be. So getting done was the only choice we had,” said Jeff Palmquist with Calhoun.He said the project was among the hardest he’s done, but also one of the most rewarding. Crews replaced 5,000 bleacher seats with about 3,000 premium seats and dining areas.”You get to see the winners as they’re approaching the finish line – fighting for that win, that is – I get goosebumps when I talk about it. That’s going to be a really cool feeling for people that get to experience this space,” Palmquist said.Kentucky Derby season: Race day, festival and everything else you need to knowIt costs $850 to join the club and about $2,700 for a 2-day pass to Oaks and Derby. While most tickets have been sold, some are still available online. Churchill Downs says they will not last long.”I liken it to going to a VIP bottle service in a club. It’s floor seats for an NBA game, it’s absolutely amazing,” Rogers said.Churchill Downs has other renovations in the works. Next year, the track will debut a permanent build out on the first turn, with similar hospitality to the Homestretch Club and in 2024, a complete redesign of the Paddock will be unveiled.

With Kentucky Derby 148 just days away, crews are busy at Churchill Downs.

And inside the Homestretch Club, which offers food, drink and hospitality, last-minute painting is being done and the newly laid carpet is being vacuumed. The space recently underwent a renovation and officials are celebrating the completion just in time for Derby.

“I think this is going to be the hip new place to be on a big day at Churchill Downs,” track spokesperson Darren Rogers told WLKY.

At a price tag of $45 million, one of the oldest sections of the track has been transformed into an all-inclusive club. There is terraced dining, 2,600 stadium seats, more than 20 trackside horseshoe lounges and a 95-foot bar, believed to be the longest in Kentucky.

Demo work began in August but Calhoun Construction of Louisville said meeting the deadline was complicated by supply chain issues.

More from Churchill: Churchill Downs unveils massive plan to ‘transform’ racetrack, expand gaming facility

“We had to keep coming up with solutions, we’re not going to move Derby – the pandemic did it but they’re not going to move it back. It is the first Saturday in May and that’s when it’s going to be. So getting done was the only choice we had,” said Jeff Palmquist with Calhoun.

He said the project was among the hardest he’s done, but also one of the most rewarding. Crews replaced 5,000 bleacher seats with about 3,000 premium seats and dining areas.

“You get to see the winners as they’re approaching the finish line – fighting for that win, that is – I get goosebumps when I talk about it. That’s going to be a really cool feeling for people that get to experience this space,” Palmquist said.

Kentucky Derby season: Race day, festival and everything else you need to know

It costs $850 to join the club and about $2,700 for a 2-day pass to Oaks and Derby. While most tickets have been sold, some are still available online. Churchill Downs says they will not last long.

“I liken it to going to a VIP bottle service in a club. It’s floor seats for an NBA game, it’s absolutely amazing,” Rogers said.

Churchill Downs has other renovations in the works. Next year, the track will debut a permanent build out on the first turn, with similar hospitality to the Homestretch Club and in 2024, a complete redesign of the Paddock will be unveiled.