Churchill Downs is best known as the host track for the Kentucky Derby but the corporate entity owns a number of horse racing related properties. Today they announced that one of them–New Orleans’ Fair Grounds Park–will be getting upgraded video boards
Churchill Downs owns not only the iconic Louisville race track but a number of other racing and gaming properties as well as the Twin Spires online betting platform. They’re frequently criticized for devoting the majority of their resources to the Kentucky Derby and treating the other race tracks under their care as second class citizens. Churchill Downs may have decided to invest in the video boards at Fair Grounds as a refutation of these complaints but in reality it took the complaints of Louisiana horsemen and government officials to get anything done. The old video board at the track is no longer functional and has been so for a number of years.
Fair Grounds president Tim Bryant tried to accentuate the positive by noting: “These two video screens will further enhance the live racing experience here for years to come”. Churchill Downs has selected Coogan and Coogan, Inc. to install the new video boards which will be in place and completely operational by the time the Fair Grounds thoroughbred meet begins on November 21. The mock ups of the new boards showed a large board in the infield–that displayed an image of the 2014 Kentucky Derby. The other video screen will be installed in the paddock area. The infield screen will be installed on top of the tote board and measures just over 23 feet long and a little less than 16 feet high. The paddock board is 9 feet and 5 inches square.
There will be other as of yet unspecified upgrades to the Fair Grounds physical plant in response to legislators’ request that more of Fair Grounds slot machine profits be devoted to the racing side of the business. Earlier this year the state legislature threatened to not approve Fair Grounds’ license to host live racing and run off track betting due to substandard conditions at the race track. One upgrade that is known will be improvements to the Fair Grounds turf course that has been a source of complaints for several years.