Saturday, October 9, 2004

Track upgrade ahead of plan

Churchill Downs beating schedule

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Renovation work at Churchill Downs is just ahead of schedule, so officials are planning to open much of the track's new clubhouse for the fall meet.

Racing will begin Oct. 31 with features of the $121 million renovation on display. The Silks lounge, the first-floor clubhouse restaurant that disappeared during the renovation, now will be on the clubhouse's second floor.

Outside, the popular Paddock Grill is returning to its home near the Aristides statue. Fans will again be allowed to sit in general admission boxes on the finish line and enter Gate 10 near the Longfield Avenue parking lot, skipping the shuttle buses to the track's main entrance - one of the project's many disruptions.

Some of those areas were previewed briefly during the spring before being shut down as construction resumed after the Kentucky Derby.

For the first time, fans will be able to grab ice cream, pizza and sandwiches at a second-floor food court in two adjoining lounges overlooking the paddock. Each holds about 240 people.

Overall, the track's new clubhouse will have seating for 800 people and feature nearly 200 TVs on the second floor. The Trackside off-track betting parlor, which Churchill officials have operated during the last two live racing meets, will remain open during the fall.

"We wanted to make sure we're accommodating every customer we can, particularly this fall," Churchill President Steve Sexton said. "So we just made the decision to keep it open."

Churchill blamed the work partly for a 13 percent drop in average daily attendance and a nearly 9 percent reduction in average daily wagering on track and at the off-track parlor during the spring meet.

Sexton said the project is on track to be finished in April.

County will wall off Powers' courtroom
Drug case proceeds; judge had testified
West Nile became man's Twilight Zone
Four arrested in teen's death

Bush, Kerry clash in heated rematch
In their own words
Clooney called '60s liberal
Senate races rake in bucks
Greenhills voters can beef up home fund
Partner benefits could be curtailed
Wording of Ohio's gay-marriage ban called sweeping
Same goals but different paths
Election board vote tied on registration residency

Withrow remembered
Cincinnati's 'brownouts' coming to an end Sunday
U.S. citizenship grows by 70
Drake Center flier called 'outrageous'
Findlay Market to be open Sundays in '05
Frailey may get 3.9% raise
Schools cope with crowds
Local news briefs
3 more Mason students charged in stolen gun
Bond $600K in Miami rape case
Neighborhood briefs
State sues over fitness funds
Big weekend may boost science museum
Public safety briefs
Eighth-graders in Madeira gather items for troops

CSO program luminous
Ballet opens exuberantly

Good Things Happening
It's Saturday evening, time to go to church

Bernard Roeckers, XU athlete

Police seek assailant in store robbery
Trial date reset in abuse suit against diocese
Track upgrade ahead of plan
Family battles Bellevue for a handicapped spot
Lawmakers examine two health options
Keeneland dares to mix history, hi tech
N. Ky. news briefs
Federal legislation would aid speedway
Covington man died before fire at his apartment