Anne M. Eberhardt

Churchill Could Drop $50 Derby Ticket Fee

Churchill Downs requires $50 non-refundable fee on Kentucky Derby ticket requests.

Two executives with Churchill Downs indicated June 14 there is a good possibility the track will drop a controversial policy requiring a non-refundable $50 fee for those wanting tickets to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Facing strong negative feedback over the fee, implemented for this year’s Derby, CDI chairman Bob Evans said the track was reviewing whether to continue requiring it of those making ticket requests. The fee was not refundable, even for those who did not obtain Derby tickets.

Following CDI’s annual shareholders’ meeting June 14, Evans said the company was in the process of planning its ticket procedures and pricing for the 2013 Derby on May 4.

Asked whether the fee would be dropped, Evans responded, “I just don’t know but the answer is probably yes.”

Later, Churchill Downs Racetrack president Kevin Flanery also declined to declare the fee dead, but said the track has a policy of listening and responding to fans in its decision-making. He reiterated that rather than generating revenue for the track, the goal of the fee was to better track who was requesting and receiving Derby tickets and to cut down on the number being purchased by ticket brokers.

“On every issue we get both positive and negative feedback and we also look at what the goals are,” he said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is make sure that tickets end up in the hands of the fans and not brokers. But I think it’s safe to say that we listen very closely to our fans and always try and see if there are new ways to accomplish the goals that we have.”

Flanery said the fee did help Churchill in its attempt to better track Derby ticket purchasers. Based on that information track executives are considering other ways to achieve that goal in the future.