The Churchill Downs Spring Meet begins Saturday. The meet will feature the track’s first-ever night races and new safety measures.
Earlier this month, Churchill Downs received accreditation from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance. The track has also hired outside parties to inspect the racing surface and to test horses for illegal substances.
Churchill Downs will host its first ever night races this meet. Spokesperson Darren Rogers says the three night dates could attract a new demographic at time when other tracks in the state are struggling. He says the country’s financial downturn hasn’t hit Churchill Downs as hard.
“Churchill Downs will continue to operate the Kentucky Derby,” he says. “The Kentucky Derby is here for 134 years. We’ll have to make economic business decisions based on whatever the market trend is.”
Rogers says Churchill Downs will continue to support expanded gaming such as slot machines as a way to save struggling tracks. Legislation to that effect has failed to clear the Kentucky General Assembly.