Churchill Issues Security Plan for Derby, Oaks
Date Posted: 3/26/2002 1:31:27 PM
Last Updated: 4/23/2002 8:32:01 PM

All 100,000-plus fans at this year's Kentucky Derby will be screened with magnetic wands when they enter Churchill Downs under beefed-up security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Track and law enforcement officials also announced Tuesday that there will be more restrictions on what the fans can bring into the track for the May 4 race.

The Derby will not receive the same special federal status given the Super Bowl and the Salt Lake City Olympics, which were designated National Security Special Events.

"We think we've got a strong plan," said John Asher, Churchill's vice president of communications. "The Derby will be just as safe as it would've been had the special events status been granted."

All weapons and most food containers, alcohol, backpacks, duffel bags, strollers, and umbrellas will be barred, even on the infield, where thousands set up makeshift picnic areas, track officials said.

Food in clear plastic bags, cell phones, cameras, binoculars and purses are among items that will be allowed. Fans can also bring in chairs, blankets and tarps, but only at certain gates.

The track will reduce prices on food and beverages on the day of the races, officials said.

An increased number of local police will be joined by members of the FBI, Secret Service, the Kentucky National Guard and other agencies to watch the gates and areas around the track.

Concrete barricades will be set up as far as 22.5 meters (75 feet) outside gates where vehicles can enter. Every vehicle will be subject to a search.

"We've put together a plan we think will maximize security, while also welcoming people to our facility in a new way," track president Alex Waldrop said. "The safety of those attending the event, those working at the event are a top priority for us."

FBI spokesman Sal Hernandez said Tuesday the agency has received no threats related to this year's race.

The Louisville Police Dept., Louisville Fire Dept., Jefferson County Police Dept., Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept., Jefferson County Corrections, Kentucky State Police, Kentucky National Guard, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Secret Service worked with Churchill Downs in the development of the security plan.

The security procedures include:

--Magnetic wand searches of all patrons at all entrance gates;

--Limits on items that may be brought to the track by patrons and employees;

--More security personnel;

--Higher visibility of uniformed security personnel;

--Placement of barriers outside the admission gates;

--Security sweeps of all vehicles that enter the grounds; and

--Vehicles parked in all lots will be subject to search.

Items patrons may carry into the track are:

--Food items in clear plastic bags (maximum size 18 inches by 18 inches);

--Box lunches if they are packaged in clear plastic bags;

--Cellular telephones, cameras, and camcorders (patrons will be required to turn electronic items on before they enter;

--Small personal music systems, radios, and televisions, but no "boom boxes";

--Binoculars;

--Purses and baby bags, which will be subject to search;

--Chairs (Gate 3 only);

--Blankets (Gates 1 and 3 for infield use only); and

--Tarpaulins (Gates 1 and 3 for infield use only).

Banned items are:

--Weapons of any kind (includes all knives and scissors);

--Bottles and cans of any kind (includes all beverage and lotion containers);

--Thermoses;

--Coolers;

--Grills;

--Backpacks, luggage, and duffel bags;

--Strollers and wagons; and

--Umbrellas.

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