LOUISVILLE, Ky., June 23, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Churchill Downs Racetrack will be closed for live racing, training and simulcast-wagering operations on Thursday, June 23, following severe storms that damaged nine barns in the historic venue's barnyard, along with a number of stable area structures, including some living accommodations for backstretch workers. No injuries to workers or horses on site were reported. Additionally, no damage has been reported at Trackside Louisville, Churchill Downs' training facility on Poplar Level Road. Training will take place at Trackside Louisville as normal on Thursday, June 23.
Nine barns suffered significant damage as a result of the storm, which reportedly produced tornadoes in the Metro Louisville area. Churchill Downs officials—in conjunction with Churchill Downs horsemen and Louisville-area emergency responders—have arranged for the possible evacuation of approximately 150 horses to the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, located on Crittenden Drive, in close proximity to the racetrack. Churchill Downs officials will assess the need for potential relocation of horses on Thursday morning when they can better assess damage to the stable area. Churchill Downs is also coordinating with the American Red Cross and local emergency management officials to provide temporary shelter for approximately 100 stable-area workers whose accommodations were damaged or compromised by the strong winds.
"We want to credit the fast response and cool heads of the emergency responders from the Louisville Fire Department, Louisville Metro Police Department, Louisville Gas and Electric Company ("LGE&E") and our Churchill Downs personnel on site for helping us quickly see to the needs of our horsemen and their livestock and the stable-area workers who required assistance," Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said. "It was an amazing team effort under very difficult circumstances, including the continued threat of severe weather in the Louisville region. We are extremely grateful to these individuals for truly helping us weather the storm."
Flanery added that the management team is still assessing damage to the entire Churchill Downs facility and will provide updates as soon as possible regarding the track's racing schedule for the remainder of the week, including the scheduled Downs After Dark program set for Friday, June 24.
NOTE: The Churchill Downs Racing Office will take entries for the Sunday, June 26, racing program tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. EDT. The Churchill Downs Communications Staff will provide an update for media representatives Thursday, June 23, at 8 a.m. EDT in the Churchill Downs Racing Office, located on 4th Street, across from the Gate 5 Stable Entrance.
Churchill Downs, the world's most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America's greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq:CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012. The track's 2011 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 30 through July 4. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders' Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5, 2011. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at .
CONTACT: John Asher Vice President, Racing Communications (502) 494-3626 (mobile) John.Asher@kyderby.com Darren Rogers Senior Director of Communications & Media Services (502) 345-1030 (mobile) Darren.Rogers@kyderby.com