Churchill Downs Cleaning Up After Tornado

June 23, 2011

Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Ky., said it will resume live horse racing the night of Friday, June 24, after a day off to survey tornado damage to barns and other structures.

The racing facility was forced to close for live racing, training and simulcast-wagering operations on June 23 after a tornado touched down in the facility’s barnyard. National Weather Service personnel were unable to determine the size or strength of the tornado at press time. However, Churchill Downs said the twister damaged seven barns and the track’s backstretch chapel. No injuries to human beings or horses were reported at the track, although facility officials are surveying all structures to ensure their safety for both humans and the animals.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have survived last night’s tornado without injury to our backstretch human or equine population,” Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said. “We have a lot to clean up and are coordinating with horsemen whose barns were affected on relocation arrangements for horses that may need to be moved off site — and returned to the track for live racing — for the remainder of our 2011 Spring Meet. We met with horsemen for an update on cleanup efforts and have their support to resume live racing tomorrow with our Downs After Dark program. We will be prepared to receive horses shipping into Churchill Downs for tomorrow’s race card.

Flanery said the track would use its “Pony Up for Charity” fundraiser, which was already scheduled for the June 24 night racing event, to raise money for backstretch storm victims.

“Some horsemen lost equipment and feed and many backstretch workers’ living accommodations were damaged or compromised by the storm. We are hoping our guests will give generously to help those in our extended racing family that have immediate needs due to the storm,” he said. “We were very lucky to come through this difficult time with no injuries or damage to our clubhouse and grandstand areas of the racetrack.”

Churchill Downs, Kentucky’s legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Inc. also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.