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Churchill Downs, dignitaries celebrate construction milestone for new Turfway Park $145m project

Churchill Downs Incorporated celebrated the topping off of Turfway Park Racing & Gaming Friday as part of the Company’s $145 million investment in state-of-the-art live Thoroughbred and Historical Horse Racing in Florence.

The project is part of CDI’s ongoing efforts to strengthen and bring innovation to Kentucky’s signature horse racing industry.

Speakers at the ceremony included Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear; State Senator John Schickel; Florence Mayor Diane Whalen; Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore; Senior Project Manager for Wilhelm Construction Christopher Daley; CEO of CDI Bill Carstanjen; and General Manager of Turfway Chip Bach.

Dignitaries at the topping-off ceremony at Turfway Park Racing & Gaming facility

“My administration has made it a priority to bring new jobs to Kentucky – and it’s exciting to see our own hometown companies like Churchill Downs take a leading role,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “This expansion helps the entire region and will strengthen the industry that defines our commonwealth. Congratulations to Churchill Downs and Turfway on the wonderful progress that has been made and to all the stakeholders who have come together to make this a reality.”

“This project will revitalize the Kentucky winter Thoroughbred racing circuit as well as fuel the health of the Commonwealth’s entire signature horse industry,” said Bill Carstanjen. “Despite challenges over the past year, we are still on schedule to open Turfway Racing & Gaming next year and I couldn’t be more proud of our team for persevering to accomplish this milestone. We couldn’t celebrate a day like this without thanking all the people who helped make this possible including many in the Florence community, our state leaders in the legislature and, of course, Governor Beshear who remains a staunch supporter of this industry.”

CDI acquired Turfway Park in October 2019 and immediately commenced demolition of the existing grandstand following the close of the 2019-2020 race meet. In March 2020, Turfway’s existing Polytrack was replaced with a new $5.6 million Tapeta synthetic track, one of the world’s leading surfaces for racing and training.

In March, the Company broke ground on the final phase of development and construction which will include a new grandstand, a pari-mutuel gaming entertainment floor featuring up to 1,500 historical racing machines, a state-of-the-art clubhouse, the largest simulcast wagering area in the state with VIP player amenities, an 18,500 sq. ft. event center, as well as several food and beverage venues.

The redevelopment of Turfway is anticipated to support up to 400 direct full and part-time positions and create an estimated 800 direct construction jobs. More information regarding job fairs and hiring will be released in the coming months. Turfway will continue to host live Thoroughbred racing for the Holiday Meet in December followed by their Winter/ Spring in January through March 2022. The grand opening for Historical Horse Racing at Turfway is expected in the summer of 2022.

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