Churchill Downs’ Newest Addition — “Derby City Gaming” — To Open in Louisville On Friday

(Derby City Gaming entrance gives every patron a quick glimpse of the history of famed Churchill Downs / Photo by Gene McLean)

Oh, what a night. If you want to know how to put on a show, just ask Churchill Downs.

On Monday night, Churchill Downs opened up its’ brand new, glitzy addition called Derby City Gaming for a “VIP Party” at the old, former site of Louisville Downs, located off Popular Level Road and just a few miles from the track itself.

There were lights, music, cameras, and, of course plenty of action in the new facility, which housed 900 Historical Racing terminals. But there was plenty more for the eye to see; the ears to hear; and the person to fully engage.

There is a state-of-the-art audio-video system.

There is a beautifully-situated round bar with all the amenities, including some of the liquid kind.

(A friendly bartender mixes one of the many drink options, while massive, high definition TVs populate the area / Photo by Gene McLean)

There is an ample splash of history and tradition mixed right into the entire concoction, with each support column handsomely decorated with pictures from the historic racetrack just down the road. Each column sporting a different theme. One with photos of some of the world’s most famous riders, who have competed in the Kentucky Derby. Another with pictures of some of the world most expensive hats, that decorate each Derby week. Another with images of people wearing some of the most outrageous outfits that you have come to expect on Derby Day.

But one of the most innovative features is the men’s bathroom. Over each urinal, there is a number just like the official Starting Gate. Had to chuckle at that one, and the imagination that came up with the idea. (For the record, I don’t know what wall decorations spruce up the “Ladies” room. Didn’t go in there.)

All in all?

As one might expect.

The night was glamourous. And, so too, is the new facility.

(Historical Racing terminals are located throughout the facility / Photo by Gene McLean)

Just a few months ago, on a cold, bitter winter’s day, Churchill Downs and some of the city’s most noted officials took beautiful shovels in hand and tried to break through the ice and frozen crust to signify that construction would soon begin on a new facility.

Now, coming this Friday — Sept. 14, 2018 — the new wagering facility will be opened to the public in an official ceremony that will kick start another page in Louisville horse racing history. The doors will open at 10 a.m. ET, and the general public is welcomed and encouraged to come take a look at Churchill Downs’ newest addition.

Monday night, though, was a night to celebrate the accomplishment.

“This place is amazing,” said Steve Tribble, Christian County Judge Executive, who traveled all the way from Hopkinsville for the event Monday night. “This is exactly what we would like to see in Oak Grove, KY. (A city in Southwest Kentucky where Churchill Downs has proposed to build a racetrack and Historical Racing venue similar to the one at Derby City Gaming.)

“My gosh, it is a beautiful destination. Amazing.”

According to Churchill Downs officials, the track has hired over 200 people to fill the new jobs associated with the facility. New asphalt drives have been constructed from Popular Level to the new facility. Valet parking and other parking areas have already been lined. And, then there are the lights. There are plenty of lights, bells, and whistles.

And, the newest form of racing and pari-mutuel wagering is fully on display. The new machines are expected to attract hundreds and thousands of fans over the next few months, pumping money into the purse accounts for live racing at Churchill Downs.

Those added monies will help Churchill Downs maintain one of the strongest, most vibrant, and lucrative race meetings in the world.

Stay tuned. The future has just begun.




The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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