Churchill Downs revisits last few months, looks ahead to Derby as more changes are made

Churchill Downs revisits last few months, looks ahead to Derby as more changes are made

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Churchill Downs is taking a look back at the last few months, as their second quarter comes to an end.

The third quarter will be an important one. That’s when the 146th Kentucky Derby is supposed to fall.

As Churchill Downs tries to deal with restrictions from the governor’s office and social unrest in the streets of Louisville, they’re having to constantly revisit their plans for the Derby. Some members of the community are even pushing for a boycott of the event.

Churchill Downs officials are well aware of the current state of the city.

“With all that is going on, it just cannot be the same celebration that it normally is,” Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said. “However, when we run it for 146th consecutive year this September, we hope the event will serve as an inspiration and a unifying force.”

Despite hurdles created by a global health crisis, Carstanjen believes the company is in good shape.

He said 80-85% of furloughed workers have been brought back at several Churchill-owned locations across the country.

They’ve also seen a strong showing in online wagering through their TwinSpires platform. The performance of that platform is only expected to be stronger in quarter three if the Preakness and Kentucky Derby go off as scheduled.

And despite the fact less people are allowed into the gates at the Derby and general admission tickets are no longer being sold, those in charge believe the Derby is in a good place.

“The Derby long-term has not been damaged in any way,” Carstanjen said. “Folks have asked for refunds. It’s been humbling to go through the process with them, as many have rolled the money forward to the next year. Here’s the thing: we are going to do what’s right by our customers and our sponsors.”

More announcements are expected in the coming days and weeks.

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