The city of Louisville, Ky., has made a pitch to the federal government for special security status for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, but the matter remains up in the air. Mayor Dave Armstrong met with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge last week.
According to a transcript of the Washington, D.C., meeting, Ridge said he would help event organizers with planning, but the government "can't designate every major event as a national security event." He did mention horse racing along with NASCAR and the NFL.
Armstrong told the Associated Press he believes the Bush administration is still defining the role the government should play in such matters.
On Jan. 28, John Asher, vice president of communications for Churchill Downs, said no movement has been reported on the issue. In recent years, Churchill alone has lured more almost 250,000 people for Derby Day and the Friday before it.