Churchill’s Downs After Dark is a wild success

by | 06.26.2011 | 1:04pm

Churchill Downs has a hit on its hands with its night racing programs, which have transformed previously lackluster summer racing into a prime social experience that Louisville and racing fans have embraced, according to Lexington Herald-Leader's Janet Patton.

Churchill did it by shifting Friday racing to nights and bringing in special food, drinks, music and atmosphere, more than tripling on-track attendance and doubling on-track betting compared to afternoon racing previously conducted on those dates. Downs After Dark events have averaged nearly 28,000 in attendance.

“The key for us is to resist the urge to do it more,” (track spokesman Darren) Rogers said. “Too much and it won't be special anymore, but they want to do everything they can to capitalize on the moment.”


  • Churchill now needs to seriously consider shifting the Stephen Foster program from Saturday to Friday night OR make the Foster a Saturday night program next year. That card sort of got lost this year squeezed in between Downs After Dark and Father’s Day weekend.

  • ziels

    It’s nice to see that they seem to understand that more is not necessarily better with this concept. I hope that mindset can last.

  • I like Walt Gekko’s idea!

  • Bob C

    If it’s bringing more people to the track then go for it.
    After Derby Week, Churchill should offer night racing every Friday.

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