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Kentucky Derby: Churchill upgrades on track for spring opening

The construction of the World's Largest outdoor video board that measures 90-feet by 171-feet is underway at Churchill Downs Racetrack. Other additions to the racetrack include the construction and renovation of the new Grandstand Terrace and Rooftop Garden section at Churchill Downs. The projects total more than $26.5 million. March 26, 2014  (Photo: Angela Shoemaker/Special to The Courier-Journal)

Churchill Downs will have a new look this Derby: A monster-sized high-definition video board, 2,400 new seats and — apparently, most important — nine new restroom areas.

"In presenting this around the community, I can tell you that every time we've mentioned" the restrooms, "I've had spontaneous applause," track President Kevin Flanery said Wednesday as Churchill officials showcased the renovations for the media.

Despite one of the worst Louisville winters in recent memory, the improvements are set to be finished in time for Opening Night on April 26.

The $12 million video board, which will have a 15,224-square-foot screen, already towers over the backstretch even though it is a couple of weeks away from completion. It is being constructed 80 feet over the ground and will be as much as 170 feet off the ground at its peak, even higher than the iconic Twin Spires, which are 120 feet above the ground.

The board is clearly visible from the new, $14.5 million Grandstand Terrace seating area, which Churchill officials say represents the first major upgrade to the part of the track closest to Central Avenue — and overlooking the Kentucky Derby starting gate — since the 1950s. Read More

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