The Jockeys' Guild, in the wake of the ejection of 15 riders by Churchill Downs, has targeted the racetrack and the state of Kentucky in a rapidly developing conflict over what the Guild believes is inadequate medical insurance in many racing states.
Advance wagering and the two-tiered post position draw format are the only impediments to Churchill Downs employing an also-eligible procedure for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), according to a track spokesman.
Construction crews at Churchill Downs are working double shifts in an effort to complete the steel skeleton of the racetrack's new six-story clubhouse before the start of the fall meet Oct. 26.
The second phase of Churchill Downs' $121 million renovation project took another step forward on July 11 as the demolition of a large section of the historic track's clubhouse began.
Churchill Downs, as part of its massive $121-million renovation project, is pondering the concept of personal seat licenses for at least part of its clubhouse box area.
Churchill Downs and local law enforcement officials expect the new security measures in place for the Kentucky Oaks and Derby May 3-4 to actually help, not hinder, patrons gain access to the facility.
Churchill Downs has changed the conditions of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) to give preference to 3-year-old fillies with the highest lifetime earnings in graded stakes. Previously, when the race was oversubscribed, preference was given to fillies with the highest career earnings regardless of whether races were graded.
While finding no state ethics laws were violated, the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission was harsh in its criticism of Churchill Downs for contributions to lawmakers just a few days before the start of last month's legislative session.
The chances of alternative gaming at Kentucky racetracks will lie in the hands of lawmakers, but as of mid-January, racetrack officials and horsemen's groups were said to be close to agreement on revenue splits, a crucial component of any legislation that may be introduced.
Churchill Downs and officials with the city of Louisville, Ky. have requested help from the federal government in dealing with security for the May 4 Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and the Pegasus Parade that is staged Derby week.
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