100 days until Kentucky Derby: Churchill Downs construction, what to expect for Derby

It’s almost time for people to start figuring out their look for this year’s Kentucky Derby. Meanwhile Churchill Downs is getting a makeover of its own, a 200 m
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:16 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s almost time for people to start figuring out their look for this year’s Kentucky Derby. Meanwhile Churchill Downs is getting a makeover of its own, a 200 million dollar makeover.

We’re officially 100 days away from the 149th Kentucky Derby, and Churchill Downs will be sporting a different look this year.

Thousands of workers are in the process of completely renovating the paddock.

In just 14 weeks, thousands of people from all over the world will be here at Churchill Downs to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports. It may look different, but Churchill Downs says it’ll be the same old Derby.

Churchill Downs is the historic home of the Kentucky Derby. The famous twin spires are accustomed to seeing some of the most amazing moments in sports, and now they’re overlooking a busy construction site.

“We’re just kind of moving dirt right now,” Darren Rogers, a spokesman for Churchill Downs said. “A lot of dirt, demolition, some utility work, ground work, plumbing.”

The 200 million dollar paddock renovation is underway.

Churchill has seen plenty of inclement weather over the years, but a windy and rainy Wednesday make things a little muddy for the nearly 2000 workers.

However, the weather isn’t stopping them from getting things ready for the 149th Kentucky Derby.

“Nothing is slowing us down, typical hiccups along the way,” Rogers said. “Discovering old pipes, maybe busting a pipe or two.”

The view might not be very pretty right now, but Rogers says people shouldn’t worry about this year’s Derby.

“14 weeks from now when people get here on Derby day, you’re going to have probably the most wide open space for a paddock in Churchill Downs history,” Rogers said.

Derby Day is May 6th. Rogers said by then, the paddock will be paved with a walking ring and temporary stalls.

“Once we get passed this year’s Derby, in fact the following Thursday, we’ll shift to a temporary paddock and jockeys quarters that’ll be positioned near the first turn mile shoot,” Rogers said.

The paddock is the third and final phase of their three capital projects. They finished the home stretch club last year and this year they’ll be debuting the brand new first turn.

“The 200 million dollar paddock that will be ready just in time for the 150th Kentucky Derby,” Rogers said.