Churchill Downs Racetrack announced July 30 plans to enhance the patron experience for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), the Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), and other on-track events through the creation of the Grandstand Terrace, a venue that will offer nearly 2,400 new seats on the second and third floors and significantly expand and update restrooms, wagering windows, and food and beverage offerings available to grandstand patrons.
The Grandstand Terrace project also features the addition of the Rooftop Garden, a hospitality lounge area for VIP guests.
The Grandstand Terrace project was approved by the board of directors of Churchill Downs Incorporated on July 29. The venue and its amenities will be available for the 140th Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby to be held May 2-3, 2014.
The new seating is part of a $14.5 million renovation which includes 51,000 square feet of completely new space located behind and adjacent to the track's current grandstand seats that overlook the Kentucky Derby starting gate at the head of the homestretch.
The number of restrooms, wagering windows, and food and beverage stations will be significantly increased in that area of the grandstand. An additional 14,000 square feet in the grandstand is being renovated as part of this project.
Churchill Downs has invested more than $150 million in renovations and improvements to its facility since late 2001, but there have not yet been any major improvement projects in that area of the grandstand.
The improved facilities and amenities will be easily accessible to patrons in more than 20,000 seats--approximately 37 percent of the track's reserved seating--on Derby and Oaks Days.
"The Grandstand Terrace and Rooftop Garden offer a rare opportunity to create new seating for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, but it's even more exciting because the new and updated amenities will significantly improve the experience for a large percentage of fans that join us in the grandstand," said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack.
"The new and renovated concessions, restrooms, and wagering locations will be conveniently accessible for all of our grandstand patrons. The result will be improved service and a more enjoyable experience.
"We surveyed our grandstand patrons during the 2013 Kentucky Derby and Oaks and the improvement and expansion of concessions, wagering, and restroom facilities were at the top of their list of recommendations. Along with enhancing our Kentucky Derby and Oaks experience, we believe the unique Grandstand Terrace and Rooftop Garden will be popular venues for family celebrations and other social gatherings and present another entertainment option," added Flanery.
The new seats created by the project will lift Churchill Downs' overall seating capacity to 55,638 permanent seats for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. The addition to grandstand seating will be the first since the introduction of the Jockey Club Suites on three new floors of grandstand space that opened in September 2003. The addition of new seating on the grandstand's second and third floors is the first since 1953.
For more details on the project follow this link to the Churchill Downs' website.
Most of the new seats in the Grandstand Terrace will be available for purchase during Churchill Downs' online sale of tickets to the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Oaks in November.