R.I.P.: Churchill to Close Trackside Simulcasting Facility
Simulcast wagering operations at Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) will shift from their home in the track’s new “Parlay” venue back to their former location on the second floor of the track’s Clubhouse on Wednesday, March 27. Simulcast wagering will continue in that location through the conclusion of the April 27-June 30 Spring Meet.
“The Parlay”, which is located near Churchill Downs’ Gate 1 entrance, has hosted simulcast betting patrons since the venue opened Jan. 16. “The Parlay” will begin its conversion into a modern media center for journalists who will converge on Churchill Downs for the 139th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), Kentucky Oaks (GI) and the track’s Spring Meet.
For the first time in several years, simulcast operations will remain on-site at Churchill Downs during the weeks leading up to and through the running of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. No off-site simulcast wagering in Metro Louisville will be offered this year by Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Days.
Since 2006, simulcast wagering operations at Churchill Downs had moved in early-or-mid April from the track to the old Trackside Louisville facility on Poplar Level Road. The move allowed track teams and vendors to focus on pre-Kentucky Derby Week and Spring Meet preparations and Trackside remained open for simulcast wagering during the Churchill Downs racing programs on both Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Days.
The annual pre-Derby move from Churchill Downs-to-Trackside has become more difficult over the past two years because of an overall deterioration of the rarely-used Poplar Level Road simulcast facility. Because of the ongoing decline of that building, no simulcast wagering or other use of the old Trackside structure is planned in 2013 or beyond.
The decision to end limited simulcasting at the Poplar Level Road venue will have no impact on training and stabling there. The Trackside training center, which has stalls for 508 horses and a six-furlong sandy loam training surface, will continue its normal operations.
“The Trackside simulcast facility on Poplar Level Road has suffered significant deterioration, and an acceleration of that decline means it no longer is feasible to attempt the major repairs that would be required to open it for a few days each year,” said Ryan Jordan, general manager of Churchill Downs. “While there will be no off-site simulcast location in the Louisville area for Kentucky Derby Weekend, more customer space is available at Churchill Downs with the opening of the new Plaza adjacent to the Paddock, and there is an online wagering option for Derby and Oaks fans at TwinSpires.com. The Poplar Level Road facility has served us well through the years, but we can no longer adequately serve crowds of patrons at the old Trackside.”
With the switch of CDRT simulcasting from The Parlay back to the second-floor Clubhouse location on Wednesday, patrons will enter that venue through the Gate 17, with ample parking located adjacent to that entrance. Admission gates will open on Wednesday, March 27 at 11:30 a.m. EDT.