WKU Public Radio News Staff
Mon October 7, 2013
Home of Kentucky Derby Adding Giant Video Board
The home of the Kentucky Derby wants to make sure every fan attending the famous race actually sees the horses running.
Churchill Downs said Monday it will install a video board bigger than three basketball courts to give fans a giant-size view of the thoroughbreds stampeding along the track.
The track is teaming with Panasonic for the $12 million project expected to be done early next year _ well ahead of the Run for Roses on the first Saturday in May.
"It's going to present coverage of the race unlike anything we've ever been able to do before," said Ryan Jordan, the track's general manager.
Track officials said the 15,224-square-foot, high-definition LED video board will be installed about midway along the backstretch and outside the dirt course.
The video board's position will maximize the viewing angle for fans in the 55,638 clubhouse and grandstand seats and the tens of thousands of fans packed in the track's 26-acre infield for the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. The Oaks is a race for 3-year-old fillies run the day before the Derby.
The two days of racing are a revenue bonanza for the track's parent company, Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc.
Attendance at this year's Derby _ the first leg of the Triple Crown _ was 151,616, down slightly because of rain. Last year's attendance was 165,307. The Kentucky Oaks drew 113,820 spectators this year.
The new giant screen is meant to accommodate some infield fans lucky to get a glimpse of the horses, and those in the grandstands who see only parts of the track.
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