Louisville Thoroughbred Society: Building a Dream Is Taking Shapes

(The South Tower of the new Louisville Thoroughbred Society and Hughes Building is nearing completion. Bricks will be added over the next two to three weeks. Then work will turn to the North Tower, near Washington Street / Photo by Mike Schnell)

This coming Spring, around Kentucky Derby time, it will be two years since Mike Schnell and I stood outside the track kitchen along the Churchill Downs backside and announced our plans to build a new, state-of-the-art, private membership club in downtown Louisville that would cater to those persons invested in, interested in and fans of the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

We talked about providing a first class venue for our members and guests to come and watch, and, possibly, wager on horse races.

We talked about renovating an old, mostly forgotten and ignored historic structure into a vibrant, new space with lush accommodations and private meeting and dining areas.

We talked about adding a premium “Cigar Bar,” where our members and their guests could sit and enjoy a fine blend of leaf and flavor.

We talked about adding a much-needed parking facility, whose ceiling would provide the city’s largest open-air, roof-top entertainment area for our members and guests, and allow our patrons views of both Main Street, on one end, and Washington Street, on the other.

We did a lot of talking.

But, then again, Mike will tell you and anyone else that will stand still long enough to listen that I am really good at talking.

Yet, we are now proud to say:

It may have taken us awhile, but the words are not the only things that are starting to add up at 209 East Main Street and the soon-to-be home for the Louisville Thoroughbred Society.

Despite the cold and the wet, construction crews are building our new home and a brighter future for both downtown and the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

If you have not noticed lately, one of two new elevator and staircase towers that will service both the new parking garage and the newly proposed Hughes Lofts is nearing completion. The “South Tower” — close to Main Street — will be covered with decorative brick over the next two to three weeks, and begin to “dress up” the historic structure.

(A look the project from Washington Street. Next week, work will shift to the North and construction on the second elevator shaft and staircase will begin / Photo by Mike Schnell)

Next week, the construction crew will move their sled to the “North Tower” and begin installing an identical tower that will provide both elevator and stair access near Washington Street. The second tower will take about the same, four-week timeline to produce — weather permitting.

After that, the “bones” of the parking garage will begin to be inserted, constructed, poured and filled.

All the while, work on the interior space of the Louisville Thoroughbred Society will begin in earnest in February. Infrastructure work will begin. Refurbishing and refinishing the beautiful, decorative subway tile brick in the front room will continue. Restoring an old bar that will be inserted in the indoor “Cigar Area” will commence.

New fire prevention systems soon will be installed. New electrical service will start to be implemented. New heating and air duct work will soon be added. Work on new plumbing for bathrooms and kitchen equipment will start.

And, by the end of March? The building may be ready for walls to be studded up and aligned.

The project will begin to take shape.

The words will begin to have more meaning.

To learn more about our project, and how you can become a member of this exciting opportunity, go to www.thelouisvillethoroughbredsociety.com and click on the link to “membership application.” You can begin building toward a better tomorrow, too.


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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