Christ Chapel, located in stable area at Churchill Downs.

Christ Chapel, located in stable area at Churchill Downs.

Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs

Ribbon-Cutting Set for Churchill Backside Chapel

Edited news release
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies for a new non-denominational chapel located in the Churchill Downs stable area will be held today, Monday, June 19, at 7 p.m.

The chapel will provide space for religious services and other programs that cater to the needs of backside workers and others associated with the horse industry at Churchill Downs and the surrounding area.

Christ Chapel was constructed with $630,000 raised by the Kentucky chapter of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America in a campaign co-chaired by retired Hall of Fame jockey and Kentucky Derby winner Pat Day and former trainer Elliott Walden, who now serves as racing manager for WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky.

The new chapel offers seating for approximately 320 people. The structure also includes a pair of classrooms, a food service area, a clothing distribution area, and two offices. Churchill Downs Chaplain Ken Boehm will occupy one of those offices and Assistant Chaplain Yurian Santiesteban will work out of the other.

"The ribbon-cutting for Christ Chapel is a marvelous occasion for the workers and residents of the Churchill Downs stable area, as well as all involved in the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy," said Boehm. "We are deeply thankful to the many people, both inside and outside of the racing community, who gave so generously to make this wonderful chapel a reality. The Chaplaincy greatly appreciates the continued support of Churchill Downs for the chapel and other programs designed to improve the lives of all residents of the backside community."

Churchill Downs provided the land for the backside chapel, as well as the landscaping for the structure. Charlie Keyes and Associates of Louisville designed the new building. Coupe Construction of Louisville constructed the chapel.

The offices of the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy and other ministry activities had previously operated out of the track's backside recreation center. The Chaplaincy offers ministry and programs to the racing community at Churchill Downs when the track is opened for training from mid-March through December, and year-round at the Trackside Louisville training center on Poplar Level Road.