Turcotte: Treatment by Churchill Downs ‘Disheartening’

by | 04.30.2014 | 12:24pm
Secretariat, Eddie Sweat, and Ron Turcotte in the KY Derby winner's circle.

Hall of  Fame jockey Ron Turcotte, a two-time winner of the G1 Kentucky Derby aboard Secretariat in 1973 and Riva Ridge in 1972, issued a statement April 30 regarding his struggles with access to Churchill Downs.

Turcotte, who has been confined to a wheelchair since 1978, described recent experiences attempting to gain handicapped parking and other accommodations from the track.

After reading the recent post of Rick Porter on the Foxhill Farm website, it caused me great concern and sadness as I know only too well the frustration of facing the “facts” of Churchill Downs and the lack of hospitality it displays to those in the racing industry.

For the past several years, I have been attending the Kentucky Derby as one who loves the sport, and as a guest of the Kentucky Derby Museum to meet fans and sign autographs. As a two-time winning jockey who still holds the track record for the 1 1/4 mile distance, I take great pride in my accomplishments aboard Secretariat and Riva Ridge in their Derby triumphs. It also gives me great enjoyment talking to fans, sharing stories, and signing autographs as a way to promote the sport of racing and benefit many worthwhile charitable organizations such as the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

However, my most recent experiences at the track have tarnished my fond memories of Churchill Downs through the actions, or should I say inaction, of track management who has not provided me with either accommodation or parking access during Oaks and Derby days. Being confined to a wheelchair since my racing accident in 1978, it is no easy feat to maneuver through the crowds that attend the Derby festivities. It becomes a nearly impossible task when there is virtually no assistance from the track.

In 2012, despite being the subject of a National Film Board of Canada documentary being filmed at Churchill Downs, I was denied any parking assistance by the track. If not for the gracious actions of the film crew who had no other choice but to pay Churchill Downs $500 to allow me the “privilege” of on-site parking in a handicapped accessible spot, I am not sure what would have happened. In 2013, despite strong lobbying on my behalf by the Kentucky Derby Museum who hosted my appearance, I once again received no parking accommodation from Churchill Downs and ultimately was forced to park in an off-track neighborhood lot across Central Avenue. Making matters worse, I was then informed that Churchill Downs policy restricted my access to the Museum grounds only, preventing me from even being able to watch the race I had won twice.

In each of these instances, Churchill Downs management knew well in advance that I would be attending the Derby, yet never made an effort to offer one shred of hospitality or professional courtesy. After reading Mr. Porter's post, it has become painfully obvious that this lack of basic consideration also applies to many others who helped shape Churchill Downs' history or promote its welfare. More than anything it shows me exactly how the track values its precious bottom line above the sport and those who champion it.

I have been very blessed to have had so much success within the sport I love, and one of the greatest moments for me was being inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame. With that honor, I remember proudly receiving the golden Hall of Fame lapel pin, which at the time allowed complimentary access to every major racetrack across the nation. It is disheartening to me that the present business culture and management at Churchill Downs now treats my treasured pin as an obsolete relic. Unfortunately, I suspect that they view me and many of my fellow riders (as well as trainers and owners who support the racing industry) the same way.

Ron Turcotte

  • c bea

    What would be more shocking at this point is someone having something positive to say about Churchill. They may feel they’re riding high with their stock price up. Only a matter of time before their ill treatment of people starts to negatively impact their brand, income and stock price. I’ll be passing any viewing or wagering on the Derby this year. First time in 25+ years. Churchill makes me want to vomit….oops I did a little right there thinking about them….

  • Richard C

    The casino company cares about one thing — shoveling massive amounts of cash into the beast, while using anyone available to feed the monster…..and discarding them when they no longer benefit the business.

    • nu-fan

      What also amazes me is that The Kentucky Derby is a U.S. tradition. Wouldn’t the track realize that, along with the current field of horses, that those who have been part of that tradition (and, I’m not speaking about the management of the track) are also part of this event?

    • Elaine Summerhill

      Another casino company running down racing. No big surprise there.

      • Vudu

        They are never the same thing.

  • Annie

    Its almost impossible to get tickets to the derby without breaking the bank. Been to the track many times and don’t think the fans are treated all that great either. Been to two Breeders Cups there.

    • ginger2000

      It is all about money. Admission is certainly not cheap. And unlike most tracks, you cannot even get to the rail along the best part of the stetch, as that too is for those with money to pay.

    • nu-fan

      From what I heard, it is expected that 250,000 fans that will be attending the races that day at CD. That’s a lot of people. One statistic that I have read is that for every disgruntled customer, they will tell seven others about that bad experience. From there, it ripples out even further. This is basis Business 101. Shame that Neanderthals seem to making the decisions at CD. Bet some undergrad student might be able to help out improve their business operations.

      • Kathy Agel

        Churchill couldn’t accommodate that many people — maybe half that.

        • ginger2000

          The record was 165K in 2012. I believe they’ve added new seating since then.

          • nu-fan

            Thank you, ginger2000. I knew I heard 250,000 and was surprised by that as well. But, with additional seating, that number may be not that far off from its accuracy.

          • C. Reid McLellan

            You probably read that figure (or heard it) regarding attendance on the two days of Oaks-Derby weekend as THAT number IS around 250,000. And, that is a reason CDI is able to get away with the poor service and don’t care attitude. It is now an “event” and people will go and put up with the high prices and bad service so they can say they were there!

  • Boknows

    This is very troubling! Ron Turcotte of all people should be given free access to anything at Churchill Downs, including parking! They should be thrilled that he comes to the race as all fans would love to meet him and talk with him about his rides in the Kentucky Derby and the Icon of Racing Secretariat and Riva Ridge! Does this Corp not know what PR is all about? I hate it for all involved in the sport the Fans, Trainers, Owners, Jockeys and all of the support teams! This is Disgraceful not only for the Track, but for the Host state of Kentucky!!!

    • nu-fan

      Agree with you but will go one step beyond. Whether a truly legendary jockey, such as Ron Turcotte, or a $2 bettor, Churchill Downs needs to get with the 21st century. The American Disability Act needs to be enforced and not just on a “minimal” basis. A long-time friend of mine is bound to a wheelchair and, because of this, I have become familiar with the difficulties that these individuals face. Simple things that most of us can easily do become overwhelming obstacles to those who have physical disabilities. But, unfortunately, these others are not well-known names. I trust that Ron Turcotte’s situation will bring to the forefront of what needs to be improved upon—NOW! To those in authority at Churchill Downs, I suggest that you offer a huge public apology to Mr. Turcotte and give him the best seat in the house and offer valet parking. Then, rethink how negative publicity regarding this track affects the perception of fans, nationwide, including some of us in California, of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs.

      • Bellwether

        Two wonderful post above!!!…ty…I knew where Bob Evans was coming from many moons ago…I have a brother just like him that’s a golf tycoon…These types would remove the pennies from a dead mans eyes…Book it!!!…

      • Fan

        Bless you for your words in defense of the Disability act. People need to be more aware of the needs of many. I too think their consideration of Mr. Turcotte is a disgrace.

    • C Hogan

      I’ll bet many of those so called stars that don’t bet a dime or do nothing for horse racing NEVER PAY for anything. I’m done with YUM BRANDS and Pepsi for life.

  • junoblack

    Move the dang race to Keeneland once dirt returns.

    • C Hogan

      Keeneland is the best race track in America.

  • NotaFanofCDI

    How could CDI treat a disabled rider…and such a well-loved and distinguished one…with so much contempt?

    Which is the most despised entity in sports at the moment? Donald Sterling or Churchill Down Inc.? Kind of a toss-up for me.

    • IrishMick

      Sounds like Mr. Turcotte may possibly have legal standing to bring an action against CDI under the American with Disabilities Act.

      • Beach

        Exactly. And callous, CD, if you ask me. Mr. Turcotte, I am so sorry.

        • Mimi Hunter

          go read the article in Ray’s 5/23 report about CD’s sound system killing a horse……

          • Sierra

            Technically, the sound system didn’t kill the horse. The horse spooked and fell, and had to be euthanized. As I was getting ready to go on the track one morning, I saw a two-year-old who, while line-driving, reared up and fell over backwards. It broke his neck and killed him instantly. Freak things happen.

            Disclaimer: I don’t condone loud noises at race tracks, but it’s something we don’t have any control over. Go race at a county fair track and see what happens.

      • Mimi Hunter

        Except that Mr. Turcotte is Canadian. A legal loophole that Churchill will probably use. How they are treating the people who made CD an important place is really disgraceful.

        • Sierra

          They can use that excuse all they want. I’m sure there are a number of disabled people in this country that would take up the banner. They just need to be aware of it. I, for one, will start spreading the word immediately.

          • Mimi Hunter

            There is only one Ron Turcotte, the rider of Secretariat, who was paralyzed in a spill on a track [not sure which one]. They refused him a parking spot. The man should be treated a lot better than that. I wonder just where CD would be if Secretariat and Mr. Turcotte hadn’t won the Derby that year – racing in the early 70’s was in a really bad slump. From what I’ve been seeing lately CD is getting really good at biting the hand that feeds it.

          • Sierra

            I know there’s only one Ron Turcotte, and that he was the rider of Secretariat. He was injured at Belmont park. You said they’d use him being a Canadian as a loophole and I said there are plenty of Americans that can take up the cause. CD has a winning horse and jockey every year, so I’m really not sure what point you’re trying to make.

            Although not caused by a riding accident, but by drunk driving instead, Willie Shoemaker was left paralyzed from the neck down. I don’t remember ever hearing about him being dissed like Ron was.

  • Herman’s Kennel

    Ron Turcotte NOT ONLY IS THE DERBY WINNER but a 3x winner….what is wrong with them? And to treat Chad Brown like a second class citizen ??? Not giving him tickets to see His own horse run a race??? Or Rick , who owns Normandy?? Not even a seat to see his horse run?? Are they supposed to climb the rafters or watch from the barn?

  • Jersey Josh

    Mr Turcotte, one call to the federal government department of justice. ADA laws are your protection here and cdi can not hide from them.

  • Danny Gonzalez

    I think we are missing the point on this. while i agree ron turcotte should be treated a certain way. He wasnt being hosted by churchill downs. So they really dont have a responsibility to his needs, You can argue that professional courtesy should have been given. Fact is more and more racetracks are becoming like this. While I totally disagree with Rick Porter being given any special treatment . Rick Porter is the same in his business as churchill downs is . Every one trying to make a Dollar. This is part of the problem in racing People feel entitled like they own the track like cause they have one good horse everyone should bow down and kiss there butts This is what has been wrong with racing for years its why all the things in racing are happening today. IF i was churchill downs management i would make some allowances for ron turcotte. RICK PORTER CAN GO SIT IN THE PoRTO JOHNS he has nothing to special to offer racing

    • its post time

      you are so off base here its rediculas!!! Every owner running on either day does have a right to be there!! And as a former employee of Rick Porters I can tell with absolutely no hesitation that he is a very nice man and is good to his employees!

      • Danny Gonzalez

        Well we know why your a former Employee Your obvious lack of knowledge is clearly evident. He never complained of a right to be there He wanted it all Free. He didnt want to pay for anything. And in the end he pulled the same stunt others do. While i would agree he has a right to be there He should pay for his guest and not be a freeloader

        • Danny Gonzalez

          I am an owner breeder trainer exercise rider just so you know that and rick is a free loader expecting special treatment he is a nobody he is not Ron turcotte

          • its post time

            Daniel R. Gonzalez trainer with 11 starts and never hit the board?? Sorry but you have no clue.

          • Danny Gonzalez

            Oh i am so happy you think that. Since i broke my back at that time and decided instead of whining about the fact that i was hurt i instead took up equine law and investigation so that when yahoo trainers get accused of doping horses i make sure they they have a fighting chance to keep there license. And get paid Extremely large amounts to handle it. And i guess since i spent the years i was hurt learning more than you can ever about how racetracks and commissions treat people i am clueless. Maybe i should call churchill and throw my weight around to get freebies cause some of the horses i am partners with are not being given so much free stuff. Maybe i should become a complainer instead of a game changer.

          • its post time

            oh… so you are an attorney now??

          • Danny Gonzalez

            You should learn how to read honestly

          • CCO

            Public access & accommodation are relevant issues… Not whether everyone should be like you or be penalized. But to your focus on the Almighty$$ – the bad publicity CD continues to receive will be more than what they gain thru their arrogant ways. It reflects badly on CD and a community when both want to be known for hospitality. The quality of service, food, and hospitable environment have deteriorated over the years. It’s not an ROI model to defend. There are other places and races people can and will spend their $$.

          • I see that as a jockey, you’d never have trouble making the weights, seeing as how you were born without a brain in your head.

            That’s good for at less three pounds on the scale.

          • Danny Gonzalez

            Was never a jockey but we know how smart you are now pea brain

          • Yawn.

  • It is gratifying to see that all of us are being treated equally poorly:

    The Established (through no fault of his own, Rick Porter);

    The great athletes (Ron, above) – and remember how jockey Ronny Franklin & an associate of his got the brush off, not too long ago?;

    And credited in advance as The Lock of The Day: All the remaining members of the non-Brahmin Casino Caste, from all walks of life, who will once again do their annual wandering into Louisville this week, bulls-eyes painted on their back.

    I can’t wait until Dinny gets his Derby (“Hospitality Event”) tablecloth short-sheeted.

    Ms. Livingston: Photos, please!

    • Peyton Charles Lasiter

      I smile out loud. Very good.

      • What a wonderful variation on the (always welcome), “I burst out…”

        Now. What to do about the zillions of people saying “Actually…
        actually… actually… actually… actually…”?

        Vegas O/U line on “Actually” being said by various people on NBC on
        May 3rd,. 2014:

        +/- “1,699. “

    • Beach

      I recently saw “50 to 1” and the last half-hour of the movie is amazing with all the high-def racing footage. But the Churchill crowd is BY NO MEANS portrayed in a positive light. And now I guess I see why.

      • ginger2000

        If you have ever been to the Derby, it is basically a circus. I will never go again, it’s far better watched on TV. I watched a show on the history of Churchill Downs the other day and when they were bankrupt and about to close they were saved by a man who began marketing it as a social event. It IS a social event for everyone but the handful of people who race horses in it. You couldn’t pay me to go to another Derby,

      • The casting director went to Aqueduct on a February day and all 2,000 assorted miscreants were hired as extras.

        And they still looked better than the CDI thugs.

        Speaking of which, did anyone else notice that yesterday (04/30/14), they trotted out Blond Boy (the only presentable CDI executive, sitting on the right of your screen) for the pill drawing?

        Also: Why is it the annual fate of Mr. Asher to have to clean up (face the public and apologize) for MISTAKES THAT HE HIMSELF DID NOT MAKE?

        (Hi, John. I know you can’t comment. Good luck on Saturday, I hope you have a great time!)

  • John D

    We need a major racing force, (like Stronach Group), to begin to nick away at the mistique of CDI’s KY Derby. Suggestion: A bonus of $15,000,000 for the winner of the “Super Horse Championship” series. Three races – three weeks apart. A $5,000,000 3yo race at 10 f run on the last Sat in April to draw away from CDI’s derby – The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. I would think that the Stronach Group would be interested – in fact, benefit in more than one way. Remember, KY Derby winner Spend A Buck was successfully lured away from the 1985 Preakness. It was the troubles at GS, not the concept, why the $2,000,000 Jersey Derby did not continue. If it had continued, it would have excelerated the wave of diminishing the Preakness to “another race”, which is now Stronach’s “middle jewel”, Also, there are calls, now, to provide more than 2 weeks from Derby to Preakness. This plan accomplishes 2 things at once – CDI out of racing and a stronger Preakness.

  • Lee Ellis

    This is not only heart breaking, but shocking! Shame on Churchill Downs for treating Ronnie this way! I do hope that Someone from the management team and owners would not allow this to happen again going forward. It is not too late to fix this mess. Ronnie you are not a relic but you are a treasure to be treated as one. Sad but it is a commentary on how the disabled are treated so poorly across America. Let alone racing legends. Offer a driver/car to Ronnie, and a Customer service agent from Churchill to aid him getting around on race day… it is not difficult nor of great cost considering the $$$ made on Derby day alonel!

  • Wilma Jean

    This is pathetic!!! Everyone who thinks that Churchill Downs is so great, needs to think again!!! They are the enemy of the horse racing industry. They would not have a Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks if the Owners, Trainers and fans didn’t show up to empty their pockets on this BIG weekend!!! They have forgotten who brings the show to town and the people that show up, pay outrageous admission prices and are there to bet, drink and purchase their merchandise. Since CDI became corporate, it is only about the almighty dollar

  • Tonro

    Until the 1970’s racing was a sport – then it became an “industry’ with the businessmen becoming interested in what was the the most popular sporting event (by paid attendance) in the country.. A recent Undercover Boss on TV showed the CEO of Churchill Downs making his first ever visit to the stable area “GEE they have horses here!” i have tried many times to explain to the new bunch what racing was not what it has become . I have been a breeder, trainer, owner and exhibitor (hunter, jumper and stock horse) , and judge of Thoroughbreds for 65 years – so sad to see the horses in the hands of the Bafferts and their kind, the tracks run by Stronic not Bill Kyne Even sadder to see the treatment of a great former rider who did so much for the sport in pardners with a great horse

  • Héctor Lebrón

    No bueno for CD. Should be ashamed of themselves!

  • Needles

    I have made the decision to not wager on ther Derby this year based solely on this news. While my $500 may not affect Churchill’s bottom line, I hope everyone follows suit.

    • c bea

      I’m with you Needles. I won’t be wagering Derby or any CDI content for the foreseeable future.

  • guest

    All the more reason why it makes me cringe that so much attention is focused on the KY Derby, so that most people are not even aware of the races that happen at other great tracks in the rest of the country. I’ve been to CD and Keeneland & I prefer Keeneland any day. I used to think I’d love to go to the derby, but I realize now it’s just one big cluster#### and no longer have any interest in ever attending live.

  • Jil McIntosh

    Do the red-carpet celebrities who preen for the TV cameras, and who can barely tell the front end of a horse from its rear end, have to park off-site and come in with the crowds through the front gate? It’s because of people like Mr. Turcotte that the Derby is the big deal that it is today.

    • its post time

      no… they are actually paid to be there…. they get really nice gift bags and all… sickening!!!

    • steve

      I was just reading at Track Bandits website that there might be a backlash against Mr. Turcotte’s for his refusal to sign a photo for a cancer victim without receiving renumeration. I had never seen or heard this before. Does anyone know anything about this?

  • Matthew Martini

    CDI has to fix this right away. Derby week is a time when many fans, even casual fans, reflect on this great sport and the history of its equine and human participants. Turcotte is a legend who is an inspiration to many. You don’t treat such individuals poorly, especially when they are great with the fans and have worked for admirable causes along the way.

    CDI should be rolling out the red carpet to everyone who makes Derby week special, and that includes current owners and heroes from the past.

    Ron Turcotte should be welcomed every year on Derby week, and should be allowed to park anywhere he wants.

    I’m glad that CDI is not involved in football or baseball. They would probably charge Hank Aaron to see his stuff in Cooperstown, or Jim Brown to see his stuff in Canton, without caring that it is those types of individuals who helped to make those sports memorable–and the reason why their feats still capture our imagination decades later. I’m not sure if this makes any sense, but whoa, this is upsetting.

  • c bea

    If only the Industry could be united enough to organize and run an alternate event the first Saturday in May. Or create a bonus scheme around horses competing at all non-CDI events. Breeders Cup Juvenile, Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass, Wood Memorial, Preakness, Travers, Breeders Cup Classic…examples of events that could be tied together somehow. Leave CDI out on the cliff.

  • nu-fan

    An extra thought I had was this: It has been 36 years without a Triple Crown winner. Shouldn’t all three tracks have, as special guests, Ron Turcotte as well as the immediate connections of those three horses (Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed) from the 70s cheering on the current horses–in front row seats? Shouldn’t these individuals be there to congratulate the next horse that might be the one to break this ever-so-long drought? CD is acting as if they are just one race. No, this is an important part of a three race event, not just an isolated one. Good grief. I am so ready for this year to be the one that finally gets us a TC winner!

  • Joey M

    CD is all about money. Greed is destroying the country and CD is not an exception. Terrible, disgraceful and embarrassing. Handicap folks have always had it tough…but this to happen to a racing legend at CD is unacceptable! No excuse. They should be ashamed of themselves!

  • Tinky

    Have I mentioned previously that racing is a microcosm of broader American society?

    • Tromper

      Tinky – How come you always “get it”?. Amen.

  • its post time

    I have all the emails between CDI and myself during the Afleet Alex/Alex’s Lemonade campaign… It took months and months of emails and phone calls to get the Lemonade Stand there. And when they did allow it, they turned it into some gracious invitation within the media. They care for no one or horse…. its all about the money! The next year we did the PR for Brother Derek… fortunately for us Doug Bredar was racing secretary and helped us out with a riser so that Dan Hendricks could be interviewed by the media. I used to work for Rick Porter.. very nice man, my husband trained for him and we consider Ron Turcotte a friend. CDI is a money mongering piece of crap!!! I’ve known it for years and it doesn’t bother me one bit not to be at Churchill! Total disgrace! Look at what they’ve done to Fairgrounds and Calder… both rat invested backstretches! Now once you get to the Preakness… its as sweet as it could get… we were welcomed with open arms and people went way out of their way to help us! They even made a special Alex’s Lemonade Stall guard! Churchill would not allow us to but a lemon on the saddle towel or anything else… I secretly sat in the jocks room and hand stitched a lemon on Jeremy’s collar. I could go on and on about Churchill stuck up, we don’t give a crap attitude… Samm (Alex’s Samm)

    • Tromper

      Whew. Think you and Ron T. said it all.

      • its post time

        should we talk about the Derby field size now? Another disgrace! The Queens Plate only allows 14 for safety reasons and their track is wider than Churchill. How many talented 3 year olds are never heard from again…. also why we haven’t had a triple crown winner… in the KY Derby.. its not usually the best horse that wins… It’s the best trip in the huge field!

        • ginger2000

          I agree, there are far too many horses and it just creates a very bad situation. It is more luck than talent oftentimes.

        • Vudu

          Meat market.

  • SusieQ

    To Don Reed, I am in agreement with most of your posts, and especially your views of Churchill’s poor treatment of Ron Turcotte. But it sounds as if if you are comparing and elevating Jockey Ronnie Franklin and his friend, whom I believe was George Delp, (son of trainer Bud Delp), to an honored status similar to that of Turcotte. Neither Franklin nor Delp, who were both arrested at Keeneland in the 1980’s on drug charges, when Franklin was pulled out of the Jockey’s room, are even close to the same league and deserving of the honor and prestige RonTurcotte should be afforded by CDI or any other racing entity.

    • Thank you for taking the time to inform me of this, a quite valid reason to think twice about the way they were treated recently.

      I had a conversation with a family relative last Sunday who told me a nice story about how he gave an employee who had stolen money from him a second chance and in doing so, did get his money back, eventually.

      It is in the spirit of that conversation that I posted the above, and in doing so, I assumed that Franklin and Delp have not been repeat visitors to the courtrooms.

  • MyBigRed

    It has always been my dream to attend the Derby ever since I first watched it on TV, back in 1972 ~ Riva Ridge & 1973 ~ Secretariat. I have lost that desire after reading about the lack of accessibility for Ron and others who have difficulty getting around.
    Churchill Downs should be ashamed !! I’m proud of Ron & Rick Porter for taking up this cause. They are the True Hero’s, of the fans, the jockeys and the horses !!

  • Nona Kaenel

    NBC should do a segment on this rather than those two idiot ice skaters commentating on fashion.

    • Vudu

      How much bad feeling does this generate against Churchill Downs?
      Well deserved ire.

      How often are we going to see footage of Secretariat, and remember they are dissing the guy in the saddle.

      Does he go to sign autographs on his own, or is he invited?

    • Beach

      Yes–they had a place at the Olympics because they were/are both skaters. If NBC miscalculated and this looks like a tacky circus, well, then they get what they get.

  • flahorsedentist

    Ah the slumlords of North American racing. They hold fans, horsemen, even state regulators in contempt. Nothing shames the shameless.

    • Vudu

      SlumLord – there’s a name.

  • pn112

    Question – What is the best way (in your opinion) to make it known to Churchill Downs that we, the paying public, are outraged by their behavior?

    • ginger2000

      Media. Call a major newspaper or TV station and tell them what happened.

    • Matt D.

      That’s kind of like screaming for quiet, is it not?

    • gus stewart

      lets all keep calling there marketing dept 3 times a day until it gets back to the idiots that decide things there, they just cant hang up on everyone how’ is that

    • nu-fan

      I don’t think we need to do much of anything at this time. The Associated Press covered it and their article was prominently placed in my paper this morning here in California. If my paper ran it, I will bet that the majority of papers, throughout the country, did as well. I’m sure that CD is on a hot seat right now–as they deserve to be.

  • mullenhap

    Casino Customer Service is not suitable for the racing community. Signing people up for awards points is not customer service. Neither is customer service selling programs or collecting overnights. You cannot teach customer service. Customer Service is a specialized field especially in the racing community. Knowledgeable representatives know racing history and its players. They need to be aware of its owners and trainers from every jurisdiction in North America. Having connections to European racing is an asset. If you treat people with respect they can forgive almost anything. Churchill should immediately extend an apology to Ron.

  • Downtonian

    As a lifelong horse racing fan, a particular fan of Secretariat and his connections, AND a PR practitioner, this news absolutely disgusts me. What on EARTH is CDI thinking??? I guarantee you that if on race day, Mr. Turcotte was being escorted through the mass of people in a manner befitting his status, the crowd would most certainly part and let him through. “Make way for Secretariat’s rider!” would do the job quite nicely, I believe!

    I have had the privilege of meeting Ron myself and I know him to be a gentleman and a tireless advocate for TB racing. He is treasured by literally millions of fans, along with Mrs. Chenery, as a link to our beloved Big Red. As a PR person I can scarcely believe that CDI management would shoot themselves in the foot so thoroughly by treating Ron in such a shabby fashion, when they could instead HIGHLIGHT his participation in race day – as the Museum is so wisely doing! Instead I hope this news is widely shared and they suffer from negative publicity. It would serve them right!

  • Mike OToole

    This is the way corporate America is run today.Some incompetent buffoons who command a high salary and do nothing but sit in there ivory towers while this horse racing legend is treated like this?Does not surprise me one bit.Just utter low class and lack of respect for Mr Turcotte.

  • Unreal. Shame on CD. I saw Ron and Big Red win as a kid, the only Derby I’ve attended.

  • kj2419 .

    It keeps going and going…
    Churchill’s only concern is casino’s and derby week. They’ve single handily raped FG and Calder of its resources, taking everything and putting nothing back in to the tracks. They have completely turned their backs on the horsemen & the race bettors. Churchill is a cancer to racing, slowly killing an already dying industry. If it was up to Kevin Flanery they would only run a derby week meet, he is a disgrace and a poison to the racing industry.

  • gus stewart

    wow I’m always the first person to want the industry to move ahead in putting entertainment with racing. Being around celebrities and athletics for 30 years I can tell you inviting 90% of them and paying them is a joke. Century City Cal homeless charity events, celebrities donate a minimum amount of money just to get it on their resume, same as many sports figures one recently getting banned!!!! You don’t need them on this day clueless, you already have coverage do it on other days during the year. I have spoke to power people in the Stronach group who get it!!! Who is not allowing a handicapped Jock of the most famous horse eve,r not to continue to get celebrity status on this day!! Quoting Jim Healy who goofed I gotta know!!!!

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Doubt it would happen, as I am sure the storyline is already set…but would be nice to see NBC do a nice little story on this Derby Day…heck..maybe even lure the President of CDI into a live interview and then ask him about it.

  • Danny Gonzalez

    Its a shames Ron Turcottes deal got tied with Rick Porters deal . Racing is different You pay to run in a stakes race well the bigger ones nomination fee entry fee and starting fee Last time i checked those have nothing to do with racetrack. Racetracks have to make money while they should make allowances to many people in the past have been taking advantage of the racetracks requesting tickets then selling them to others. While owners have the right to be there They cannot have the racetrack foot the bill for them entertaining clients or whomever They should be alloted 2 tickets grandstand seating if they want better let them upgrade. BUT FREEBIES HAVE TO STOP this era of entitlements has to stop. That is what is bringing racing down from the freebies at the racetrack to the guy on the commision looking out for his buddy who has 8 violation in a year IT has to stop

    • its post time

      again… no clue! Rick Porter is in a Grade 2 on Oaks Day… not even Derby day. A GRADE 2! Please stop with this “no freebie” crap… there are no freebies in horseracing! We pay our way handsomely!

      • Danny Gonzalez

        I pay my way also but doesnt mean they have to bend over to kiss my butt cause i have a horse in a grade 2 He got 8 seats cause he went and complained did he say he paid for them no. He got them free. so should every person out there get 8 seats for free in a premium area so that we can essentially continue the behavior that has taken racing to its doom. a horse in a 300 k race had to pay his way in nomination fee entry fee starting fee i dont see churchill getting a piece of that. While i am not defending churchill action this behaviour of entitlements has to stop We keep this up we will bankrupt racing or as is happening because people are to blind to see what they actually want to happen is the downsizing of racing to a point where normal people will not participate in racing it will be segregated to the super rich and the little guys wont have a chance to get into the business so all that casino money will be going toward what the future of racing will be 30 million dollar races. the pool of trainers will be so small that nobody has a chance to invest in the business

        • its post time

          you are just plain out of your mind….

          • Danny Gonzalez

            Lol this coming from an idiot lol you make me laugh

  • ginger2000

    Love it!

  • Valerie

    It is so sad that it is about the money to the organizers of Churchill Downs, not the horses nor the horsemen who have paved the way to support this racetrack for many years.

    • Danny Gonzalez

      In maryland the tracks are receiving money from the slots to operate. racetracks dont make money as people think they do. while churchill is just flat out disrespectful to Ron we also have to look at the other side of the coin when a business cant make money there will be no more racing.

      • Valerie

        Well, I live 12 miles from Charles Town and they don’t put any money into their stabling, or Grandstand for the horse people. They would rather pay their fines each month than put the money into the racetrack. I am from four generations of horsemen and grew up at the tracks around New York and Kentucky. In the past, trainers and owners had special passes to attend the races with their entry fees. I attended the Derby in 2011 to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of my grandfather’s win on Meridian in 1911. For seats in the bleacher section with no cover, it cost me $10,000 to bring my two sons and myself down to Lexington for the Oaks and the Derby. That did not include parking. Guaranteed, it was something we will treasure and will never forget. The museum staff had pulled newspaper clippings for us of the 1911 race. But at that expense, it will not be something that we will be able to repeat anytime soon.

        • Danny Gonzalez

          There you go you said a million dollars worth They had the passes with there entry fees What happen to that. Its a breakdown in the system not an issue that people should get all whinny about. I only been to one derby will never go again unless i have a horse running in the race. But in this day and age it cost a fortune to do everything. Charlestown went from bad to worse when the money got there. They dont put money into the racing but into the slots cause the slots are the money maker.

          • spanky

            You just don’t get it. Without racing they cant have the slots. There is a reason they were allowed to add slots and it wasn’t to ignore racing. It was to help racing.

          • Danny Gonzalez

            They been trying to get rid of racing in all the racino states and just leave the slots.old news racing is not profitable

      • spanky

        it’s not just about what happens at the track. it’s about all the jobs it creates in each state with the farms, breeding, feed stores and all the support activities. That’s why states allow tracks to operate with slots or other activities to help offset the cost of racing. This is the only reason states allow this and they have an exclusivity. You and I cant open a slot parlor on or own, but they can.

  • Mark F.

    CDI’s business model is nothing more than that of an inter city land development company. Their properties bring in casinos and gaming to pay the debt load down until the land value rises to make the property valuable as a commercial development. Then they dump it. Just look at the land that the mother ship sits on, or Fairgrounds or where Hollywood Park was located as a case in point.

  • forestwildcat

    Those idiots just keep leading them over, things are great. – That’s an exact quote from an ex Churchill executive that is currently residing over a major thoroughbred organization. It had been years since I had seen him and at the time he did not know that I had become involved with the industry, seems like they are exposing themselves more everyday

    • Danny Gonzalez

      They are exposing themselves, But we as the future leaders of this industry need to come with sound and fair judgements and make plans to make things better than to have our hand stuck out asking for freebies cause we have a horse in a race. We should show that we want to improve the business not keep bleeding it, Churchill downs has done so things that will turn your stomach but we can force change through and educated approach not bleeding whats left of the blood in this industry

  • Joel

    Shame on DRF for ignoring this topic all together! People should know the truth about CDI. The foremost horse racing publication in the US (no offense), DRF, has thus far turned a blind eye to this issue. Can anybody, with accurate knowledge, share what the affiliation between DRF & CDI is (assuming there is some affiliation).?

    • Steve

      The DRF is on life support

      • C Hogan

        They won’t be in business in three years. They have ruined their print addition.

    • Vudu

      The DRF should not ignore it, but then perhaps you need to be telling people.
      Most people have no clue what is going on.

      A little chum in the water before the big race has everyone giddy & forgetting this is bait.

      CDI will survive nicely with a cheap whitewash – $2 Million over 2 years to ignore they spent $12 Million on a TV set while running down some of their properties.

  • Southwest Dude

    Well, that clinches it for me.I wont be going to the derby again until a new management team is in place that appreciates those who make up the history in racing.I wont even bet on the race.

  • Ed, thanks for reminding us that David Skorton was a One & Out useless political appointee who made a nice dime off his appointment.

    The Post will stink this year, without you and the gang doing the picks. May you cash every single race.

    Say, whatever happened to the tradition of the Gallagher’s KD seminar? Didn’t get an email about it from them. Is their PR campaign designed to alienate the people who would otherwise enjoy having dinner there? Especially after they spent a fortune renovating the place?

    Oh no… Did CDI end up as the owners?

  • Ginna Lazar

    No surprise to me. I recently learned the hard way re the hose people in Lexington and Varsailles. The are State laws re providing access for the Handicapped let alone one of their own.

    No longer a fan of that whole scene

  • Tori Belpedio-Verderosa

    While I too am angry about his treatment by Churchill Downs. Any track that doesn’t acommodate the handicapped is just wrong. As far as Turcotte’s wins, Charles Wittingham said it better than anyone else. “A good jockey doesn’t need instructions, a bad one can’t follow them”. I worked with both horses during their campaigns and exercised “Something Fabulous” (Big Red’s brother). Riva Ridge and Secretariat were push button. I guess that is why Secretariat was on the cover of Sports Illustrated (not Ron Turcotte).

  • Robert A. McLaughlin

    So let’s see. CD gets in trouble at FG for cutting costs to assist the bottom line, raises takeout at CD to the max allowed (could have raised it without going to the max allowed) and then treats the owners, trainers and jocks who by their sweat, blood and tears have put CD in the enviable financial postion they are in today like crap. This makes it clear that the bean counters and not horseman are running the show.

    Welcome to the Walmartzation of horseracing – damn everyone else only our bottom line matters.

  • Ida Lee

    Now that I’ve calmed down, let me say this. Last year I toured CD because guess what? it’s where Secretariat raced with Ron leading him. Most of the tourist were asking about guess what? Secretariat and Ron, and their connections and what they were doing now. He and Ron will always be together, come hell or high water. Ron was not only one of the greatest jockeys of all time but is one of the best ambassadors this sport has ever had. He has worked all these years keeping the legacy of the greatest racehorse ever and his thrilling career not just with him but with the great Riva Ridge. He gave his all to this sport. That he was treated and hurt this way is absolutely appalling. CD can never thank this man enough for what he’s done for them and the sport. I’m thoroughly disgusted with this whole incident. P.S. Oh and what a heart warming story just before the KD…way to go idiots…

  • D.C.W.

    Some things never change. I have worked as a groom , run horses as a trainer and owner,attended the Derby and the breeders cup and treated badly every time.1974 onward it took until the 90s to just not go back.

  • Craig

    I have been saying this for years about CDI…they are just another reason that is wrong with this game…they think they are superior then everyone else & are living blindfolded by the truth…they put in a new video board and spend millions of dollars on it yet they can’t fix the broken one at the Fairgrounds…they turn Calder into a dump and sell off Hollywood Park to real estate investors…they block their signal to other outlets and turned youbet into a shame site…I will love the day when people wake up and stop contributing to their bottom line and boycott betting ALL their tracks like I currently do…enough is enough!

  • kmarker

    and yet, Churchill alliwed kill buyer/racing owner/trainer/breeder jaron gold (under the name of jaroslav gold) to claim horses there (in June 2013). they need to rethink their priorities.

  • Carmel Spaulding

    Shame on CHURCHILL DOWNS— remember your history of the greatest sports moments!!!!! Secretariat and Turcotte is one, good grief if I find out Belmont does the same I will really be depressed………

  • Mable Roberts

    So awful. Screw Churchill and who is at the top these days. Are you KIDDING ME???

  • Mark F

    So the rich and famous that attend are treated like royalty; and yet this poor distinguished man that gave his body for the sport that built this track had to pay $500 to park in handicapped.

    Could the CDI executives that read this please forward this issue to the top level for an appropriate action. If you cannot comply, I would rather donate to pay for Mr. Turcotte to park than gamble with you self fulfilling profit maximizing swines.

  • Lisa

    I’ve met Ron Turcotte and he is a gracious and classy man. He is also an icon to those of us who love this Sport of Kings. His essay is one of the saddest things I’ve ever read.
    Shame on Churchill Downs.

  • Patricia Jones

    this is unacceptable fix the problem now/i am a stockholder

    • Garrett Redmond

      I WAS a Churchill stockholder. I sold out when I realized the CDI Executive did not give a damn for stockholders, horseowners (I’m one of those), patrons, gamblers or anyone else EXCEPT it’s executives.

      • jo

        Uh you forgot to mention the horses too.

  • Japan8Ferdinand

    The fact that CDI has shat upon the connections of the greatest race horse of all time, makes me feel a little better about my own experience of being shat upon by Churchill Downs. If everyone who’s been trod upon by CDI in recent years could gather together in one place, not even Churchill Downs could accommodate us all! This is just another example of how CDI epitomizes all that is wrong with racing – squeezing every penny they can into their pockets while giving NOTHING back.

  • Maurice Colpron

    Today, I’m at the Hilton for the pick the ponies contest, which is 2 days before the derby and it’s funny to hear the peoples taking about the raise on the take out, but when you mention to boycott the derby, they don’t want to but are willing to do so after the derby and willing not to bet a single dollar on the remaining meet. I must be an idiot to try to let them know that as a horse player it would be better to boycott the derby because that is where Churchill gonna be hurt the most. If you look in society why they have big and where it hurt you the most, your wallet so if peoples don’t opened up there wallet to bet, what is going to happened, figure it out yourself

  • Disappointed

    I could reply with treatment by Turcotte disheartening! I couldn’t wait to meet him at Mohegan Sun in Wilkes Barre the other year when he was signing. After waiting in line to meet him he didn’t even look up to acknowledge that I was there. He just signed the picture and shoved it aside. It was a very disappointing experience for me.

    • MyBigRed

      Perhaps he wasn’t feeling well that day. He also has other medical problems that he does not discuss or complain about. Have a heart dude, how would you like to live the rest of your life confined to a chair ?? I’ve met him many times, & he has always been very polite & patient with the large crowds.

  • Barbara Bowen

    The mea culpa from CDI today was the height of insincerity. They have been difficult to deal with for as long as I can remember, and anyone could write a thick book of all the stories of rudeness, arrogance, price gouging, and pettiness. The only thing I can say for them is that they might be the most unifying force in racing, in that EVERYONE hates them and how they treat owners, trainers, fans, media, and icons. Equal opportunity Grinch.

  • racing fan

    Isn’t there a federal law that requires businesses to provide up close handicapped parking? CD should have granted Ron Turcotte his parking wishes. CD should also provide grandstand seating passes, whether it be 2, 3 or 4, for owners and trainers who have a horse entered on oaks/derby day. But they should not have to provide free seating in the clubhouse or in the private rooms. Not providing Ron Turcotte with parking and free admission is like the PGA Tour telling Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer to park a half mile away and ride the shuttle to the course like everyone else and pay your way in. What kind of mind thinks like this???? CD should have provided Ron Turcotte, owners and trainers with BASIC requests. CD knows that gamblers will still come and bet money on their races. The few that holdout will not have any effect on CD’s bottom line.

  • Dan Camoro

    Can you imagine…Mickey Mantle shows up in the Bronx and gets this kind of treatment. CHD
    your management should jump off the roof in shame. You guys are disgusting!!!

  • Lara

    SHAME ON ALL those who Run CHURCHILL DOWNS and all who love the sport should make this FRONT PAGE NEWS~! It should be LOUD!!! How dare they do this to THE one and only RON TURCOTT! Churchill Downs should be EMBRACING each one of those left from that legacy because it is in their best interest to do so.. People come to the race to see those legends that still grace our sport! Those running CD must be NOVICES not to know a great thing if it hit em in the face. The fans aint there for them they are there for the history! STUPID STUPID numbskulls! They really look like idiots now!~

  • riskybuisness

    This is a sickening to hear,as Ron Turcotte is a legend in racing .!! The management of Churchill downs should have Handicapped parking like most other Race tracks.I can only state in Canada we have hadicapped parking for all patrons and back side personnal as needed…Churchill downs should be ashamed of themselves..They need to apologise to Mr Turcotte and any other persons with a Disability should have the rights as any other patron to be able to access all area’s allowed to them .Time to come into the real world -Churchill Management,and also you should be thrilled Ron Turcotte is at your beloved race track promoting it just with him being there..If he came to any of the tracks here in Canada he would be treated like the Legend he is and they would promote him being here..!!!! Would love to meet him in person at our track here in Winnipeg .Mb Canada..Sad state of affairs Churchill downs !!!..Surprised people don’t boycott your track for the lack of concern over this matter …Money talks ..Loose money..Maybe you’d listen…

  • Bellwether

    Would Ms. Penny have to pay too???…

    • Tommy

      i would hope so

  • KFitz

    Oh my word Kentucky, GET IT TOGETHER. Why am I not surprised?? Completely disgusting.

  • Rillan MacDhai-Anthony

    Seriously? What about other handicapped people who might also want to view the races? Ron Turcotte was told he was limited to the Museum grounds only? Is Churchill Downs afraid people would be put off going to the track if they saw someone who was injured while racing? Don’t they think handicapped people have money to spend? This is wrong on so many levels.

  • harry leonard jr

    The only way to get their attention is to contact the sponsors and demand they stop giving money to a company that cares little about the handicapped.Mr Asher will say anything now but all he is trying to do is get past 6;24 ON mAY 3 THEN HE COULD CARE LESS THEY THEN HAVE ANOTHER YEAR TO PUT PEOPLE OFF. I will not be dining at any YUM brand stores ever again and hopefully more will follow

  • Susan Salk

    This is a depressing allegation and one that I hope will be addressed by Churchill Downs, and corrected. Ron, you are a hero of the sport. I should think the red carpet would be rolled out for you, and a dinner or lunch held in your honor. The last thing I would expect at such an auspicious event would be what you describe in this column. Just, wow.

  • This is disgraceful. Has there been any response from CDI? It would be such a joy for me to meet Ron Turcotte.

    • MyBigRed

      Ron is a VERY kind, sweet & generous man. It breaks my heart to see him treated this way. I have attended several of the Secretariat Festivals in Paris, Kentucky & had the honor of meeting him. I was amazed at how he takes the time to talk with the fans & support disabled jockeys as well. He is a TRUE HERO for Horse racing :)

  • Teresa Bossow

    This is walking a thin line of violation federal laws against handicap patrons. Maybe Ron should get a good a good lawyer and take them on. How can they have no handicap parking near the entrance? I am no longer going to Churchill and will boycott their events. Ron should reach out to current jockeys and maybe get their support. They will be retired someday too.

  • Lance S. Procter Sr.

    This Sad Story of Ron Turcotte is just another Nail in the Coffin that Churchill Downs is building, to bury the Sport of King’s. You can see it at all the Churchill Down’s Holding’s across the Country. They could care less about the Betting Public, Jockey’s, and Owners and Trainers. They almost lost their right to operate Fair-Grounds because they have let that facility fall apart. And they should lose Calder Race Course because of the way Management has turned their back’s not only on the Building but have let down the Owners and Trainers as well. It just proves the point that all they care about is the Casino’s that they are allowed to run, because they have the Horse Racing Track’s. Let them not forget that without Horse Racing, the Fan’s, Trainers, and Owners, not only does the Sport of King’s disappear, so do the Casino’s that Horse Racing Support’s. It is sinful what they have done to Ron Turcotte but he is not alone. They do not discriminate, They Treat Everyone the same. Without any regard

  • Name

    Isn’t wheelchair access, etc. required by any facility/business? Ridiculous that someone has to write this to get someone’s attention at Churchill Downs, but nothing will happen. With all the money in CD’s hands, come on and accommodate people like Ron!!!

  • Kyle Stasierowski

    Dear Mr. Paulick,

    As a person who also uses a wheelchair to get around I agree with

    Ron Turcotte how it’s an outrage that Churchill Downs would do that to

    someone who uses a wheelchair. If you ask me if they keep this up Ron

    and anyone else who is disabled should take his complaint to the Americans with

    Disabilities Act or ADA.


    Kyle Stasierowski

    29-year-old loyal TVG viewer, HRTV Live Feed viewer, and your twitter

    follower from Alden, New York

  • Margaret

    Thank you Ray for bringing Ron’s plight to light. As someone who from time to time is pretty disabled I know some of Ron deals with. It isn’t fun. Knees go bad, shin splints send bolting lights of pain down my leg. Weight baring is agony. When my neck goes bad–it hurts. Headaches worse than migraines. Just keeping your head upright is agony. Aspirin is worthless. Narcotics can be worthless.

    Ron can’t walk. Something that I’m grateful for when I can get around without too much pain. And running as slow as my run is slow is a joy. So what it’s slow–I’m not out to win an Olympic race. There’s a hitch in my giddyup!

    Why can’t a jock who works harder than I do for the fans, to help other disabled jocks. To tell people what Secretariat was like–that is PROMOTING ALL THE GOOD aspects of racing–why are you treating him lower than a snakes belly?

    I guess ever since Life at Ten CD’s has been on a road to implode. I think you should fire current management and start again WITH FOLKS WHO HAVE AN INKLING OF WHAT THIS BUSINESS IS.

  • Thoroughbred racing is in enough trouble with legalized gambling competition. They should be smart enough to avoid PR disasters like this.

  • Mimi Hunter

    And to make things worse – It was just stated on HRTV ‘Grandstand’ that Tony Danza will be coming to watch his namesake run in the Derby. He called Churchill Downs to make arrangements, and had no problem. That is really wrong.

  • comedyflyer

    Yikes…I guess common decency is not a tradition at Churchill Downs….just mint drinks & frilly hats.

  • Linda Parker-Fedak

    Shame on Churchill Downs management! To treat an ICON of the sport that way is incredibly evil! How dare you treat Ron Turcotte this way!!!! And make his handicap even more difficult to deal with by denying him parking. My God, where has the heart of the sport gone??? I never EVER would have expected someone of this man’s importance to be treated that way! What’s next, having a kick the dog contest? I don’t know what is going on here, but you had all better wake up and get back to what racing used to mean and honor the people who made it great, be they trainers, jockeys or owners! Shame on all of you! Ron Turcotte earned the right to attend races at ALL tracks. He paid a terrible price for his love of the sport. Who are you to deny him all access to the grounds be it the museum or the track? Who do you people think you are??? I am outraged and sickened…

    • MyBigRed

      I couldn’t say it any better !! AMEN !!
      They should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Darcy Scudero

    And I thought it was cheap of them to not offer owners a free PROGRAM when their horse was running !??! I am beyond sad for the industry which seems to be going the wrong way every day. Shameful.

  • SplatCatToo

    Shame on Churchill Downs! They should bend over backwards for any physically challenged person, whether famous or not and make easy accommodations for anybody and everybody. They’re people just like anyone else. My opinion of Churchill Downs just went down to about zero! Personally, I think that after the way they’ve treated Mr Turcotte, they should more than bend over backwards with apologies and make sure he and anyone else can easily get around and enjoy themselves to the fullest. What happened to the ADA? Does Churchill Downs think they’re above it and not have/need or want to make accommodations?

  • Charles weis

    Frank Stronach has disgraced a fellow Canadian and it’s racing fans, how disheartening:(

  • racing fan

    Where is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ?

  • disqus_EB36Ful1So

    Exactly 8 years ago I became a paraplegic. I can attest to all the complaints mentioned. Having been a patron for 40 years at CD I can say with out a doubt CD has changed into a money hungry corporation. 500 dollars to park in a handicap spot. Their one example of greed. A million more to follow.

  • Tommy

    SOUR GRAPES. Ron wanted special treatment over other disabled patrons. he forgets who pays the bills

  • Tommy

    Wheelchairs and Accessible Seating


    Wheelchair assistance to and from seating locations is available. Upon arrival, guests may coordinate assistance by contacting a Guest Services Representative positioned at all entry gates. Please be advised, wheelchairs are limited and guests requiring assistance may have to wait for a wheelchair to become available. Due to a limited number of wheelchairs, guests are encouraged to bring their own.

    Accessible Seating

    Directions to First Floor Accessible Seating (Available with General Admission on a first-come-first-served basis)

    From the ground level, Row B in sections 113-117 and Row D in sections 115-117 are wheelchair accessible. Enter through the ramps at sections 112-113, 114-115, 116-117 or 117-118.

    Directions to Second Floor Accessible Seating (Available with General Admission on a first-come-first-served basis)

    From the ground level, utilize the wheelchair accessible elevator (located near the Skye Terrace Elevator Lobby) to the second floor. Exit the elevator, turn left, and proceed through the double doors. The following boxes are designated accessible: Section 115: K08, K15, K17, L02-L04; Section 116: K03, K09. From these seat locations, there is a wheelchair accessible ramp that connects these seats in sections 115 and 116 to the clubhouse and the food court.

    Directions to Third Floor Accessible Seating (Reserved Seating-ticket required)

    Section 315: H02-H04; Section 316: C15-C19; and Section 317: C01; C03-C05; C12 are accessible and if available, may be purchased from the reserved seating booths inside Gates 10 and 17 or by calling (502) 636-4400. From the ground level, use the Skye Terrace Elevator to the 3rd Floor or utilize the lift located in Section 220/320 for the 3rd floor boxes.

  • Tommy

    CD treats its players better than any track ive been to. maybe they got it right, treat the PAYING customer special not the employees or others that make their living off of the sweat of the bettors

  • Sierra

    How sad and sickening that one of the all-time greats would be treated so badly. Any chance of going there has just gone by the wayside. Since the only thing these people understand is money, I won’t be spending mine there.

  • Pam Harris

    We felt like they were not very hospitable when we were visiting but to treat Ron Turcotte in this way is shocking and sad. The only reason we were visiting Churchill Downs was because we had been to the Secretariat Festival to see Ron and Penny and decided to visit Churchill Downs since we were in the vicinity. They obviously need new management.

  • 5oethier

    Isn’t there a law against that?

  • AOK

    Did Mr. Turcotte receive any apologies or accommodations for 2015? It is absolutely appalling. A request for access to handicap parking should have been swiftly and graciously accommodated. Sad and pathetic CDI.

  • babshill

    I agree, troubling indeed. Ron Turcotte, I have envied you and admired you for so very long. You know, in the end, it’s people with hardened hearts who conduct themselves in such a way. You, sir, rode the greatest horse in the history of the world into the record books. I am sorry that they try and keep you from your greatest joy. Nothing they can prevent you from having today can ever take that away from you. Just keep on smiling that huge smile, a champion in your own right, and let the little petty people be just that: little and petty. Your victory brings tears to my eyes each and every time. So perfectly paired: horse and rider. God bless you, Ronnie! <3

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