Churchill Downs Racetrack will be closed for live racing, training and simulcast-wagering operations on Thursday, June 23, following severe storms that damaged nine barns in the historic venue’s barnyard, along with a number of stable area structures, including some living accommodations for backstretch workers. No injuries to workers or horses on site were reported. Additionally, no damage has been reported at Trackside Louisville, Churchill Downs’ training facility on Poplar Level Road. Training will take place at Trackside Louisville as normal on Thursday, June 23.
Nine barns suffered significant damage as a result of the storm, which reportedly produced tornados in the Metro Louisville area. Churchill Downs officials—in conjunction with Churchill Downs horsemen and Louisville-area emergency responders—have arranged for the possible evacuation of approximately 150 horses to the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, located on Crittenden Drive, in close proximity to the racetrack. Churchill Downs officials will assess the need for potential relocation of horses on Thursday morning when they can better assess damage to the stable area. Churchill Downs is also coordinating with the American Red Cross and local emergency management officials to provide temporary shelter for approximately 100 stable-area workers whose accommodations were damaged or compromised by the strong winds.
"We want to credit the fast response and cool heads of the emergency responders from the Louisville Fire Department, Louisville Metro Police Department, Louisville Gas and Electric Company (“LGE&E”) and our Churchill Downs personnel on site for helping us quickly see to the needs of our horsemen and their livestock and the stable-area workers who required assistance,” Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery said. “It was an amazing team effort under very difficult circumstances, including the continued threat of severe weather in the Louisville region. We are extremely grateful to these individuals for truly helping us weather the storm.”
Flanery added that the management team is still assessing damage to the entire Churchill Downs facility and will provide updates as soon as possible regarding the track’s racing schedule for the remainder of the week, including the scheduled Downs After Dark program set for Friday, June 24.