13 Weeks to Derby: Churchill Downs update on Oaks, Derby preparations

Darren Rogers, Senior Director of Communications at Churchill Downs, talks Paddock construction updates, the new first turn and more.
Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 4:52 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Derby is only 13 weeks away, and Churchill Downs is providing weekly updates ahead of the first Saturday in May.

Construction is ongoing within the Paddock area, part of a $200 million redesign that Churchill Downs said will enhance fan experience at the racetrack.

Darren Rogers, Senior Director of Communications at Churchill Downs, said it’s one of the most transformational projects in Churchill Downs history.

“This year, we’re going to have the walking ring for the horses complete, and then right around the early part of April we’ll lay down asphalt around the paddock area so there’ll be a vast, wide-open plaza,” Rogers said.

The temporary paddock will be near the first turn for this year’s Derby, then construction will begin again for completion in 2024.

Rogers said the first turn project will be completed by this year’s Derby and will open to the public on Thurby.

“There’s about 7,000 seats and it’s covered,” Rogers said. “Which we hear a lot from our guests, they want covered seats.”

To view live camera feeds of construction on The Paddock Experience, click or tap here. For a live camera feed of the new first turn, click or tap here.