Churchill Downs Wins Approval To Open “Racetrack Extension” at New Louisville Thoroughbred Society

The new Louisville Thoroughbred Society — a private membership club dedicated to promoting and enhancing the horse industry in Kentucky and set to open in downtown Louisville in the next few months — got a giant victory on Tuesday afternoon.

A giant victory.

On Tuesday, the Kentucky Racing Commission voted unanimously to approve Churchill Downs’ official request to lease, own and operate a “racetrack extension” at the new facility. The approval is contingent upon a final approval of an on-going background check on the three principal “Founders” of the new club. That process is expected to be completed in the new few weeks.

Once that due diligence is completed by the Racing Commission and staff, and final approval granted, Churchill Downs will have the ability to operate pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast racing from around the country, and the globe, for that matter, at the new facility to be located at 209 East Main Street in downtown Louisville. Churchill Downs and the LTS have entered into a lease agreement to allow for the operation.

According to the official request to the Kentucky Racing Commission, Churchill Downs may be able to own, and operate up to 12 pari-mutuel devices on the location, where members, customers, and guests will have the ability to enjoy all the amenities of horse racing and wagering — on site.

“This is a tremendous step forward in all of our efforts to provide our members and guests with a premium, first-class, top-of-the-line, premium private club that is dedicated to promoting the greatest industry and sport in the Commonwealth,” said Gene McLean, one of the three Founding Members of the LTS. The others are Mike Schnell and Dave Steinbrecher, who own and are restoring the historic property to be known as the Hughes Lofts.

“From Day 1, we have communicated and worked diligently with Churchill Downs about this project. And, without any question at all, we would not be in the position we are today without the considerable help, support, and confidence of the world’s most renown and historic horse racing venue,” said McLean. “They have been amazing partners in this project. Amazing. In fact, I cannot imagine anyone being more helpful, cooperative and encouraging. This is just another example of their commitment to make this the finest horse club in the world.”

An official announcement from both Churchill Downs and the Louisville Thoroughbred Society is expected to be released in the next couple of days.

The Louisville Thoroughbred Society — which will have a state-of-the-art audio and video network at the new facility, in addition to many other amenities, including a premium Cigar Bar, outdoor patio bar and entertainment area, an indoor “library” and meeting spaces — is now expected to open for full business early in 2020.

A new parking garage, currently being constructed next to the historic building, will marry up with the LTS facility. The rooftop of the garage will be the home of an innovate “green roof,” and will provide ample room and space for the “Cigar Smoking Pavilion,” and other luxurious outdoor accommodations.

The club is accepting membership applications, at this time, and is expecting to be fully operational within the next few months and the first part of 2020.




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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