LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Construction crews worked nearly around the clock to build the Homestretch Club in time for the 148th Derby.
The Homestretch Club entrance is located on the first floor and sits between the Derby start and finish line, hence its namesake, it is on the home stretch.
Jeff Palmquist of Calhoun Construction is the project executive who oversees the $45 million membership club.
Palmquist said as a horse racing fan, it’s a great viewing spot.
“You can see the winners as they approach the finish line and fight for that victory. So it’s going to be – I get goosebumps when I talk about it. I mean it’s going to be a really cool feeling for people,” he said.
The Palmquist team, along with some sub-contracting partners, all worked “insane hours” as the structure needed delicate demolition, he said.
“A lot of the demo itself had to be very meticulous and almost surgical and from what it was, what it turned into was jaw-dropping,” Palmquist said.
Darren Rogers of Churchill Downs said preserving the track’s history is always considered with any new additions.
“It’s a fine line that we always try to walk while respecting the history of our, you know, what is now 148 years at Churchill Downs, and yet bringing in modern amenities and providing customer experiences different,” Rogers said.
An eye-catching part of the club is 23 horseshoe-shaped lounges by the side of the track.
“I liken it to going to VIP bottle service and at a club, encountering floor seating on NBA soil. It’s absolutely amazing,” Rogers said.
On the terrace, you will find covered tables available for reservation as well as five private club lounges.
The club is open for memberships and costs $850 for 17 days of racing, but membership does not include Oaks or Derby day. Fans can also buy tickets for a seat on certain race days.
The refurbishment began in August last year and with a tight deadline to complete Derby week… plus managing pandemic supply chain issues Palmquist said it was all about flexibility.
“The pressure has been there for a while. You almost put your life on hold to do everything,” Palmquist said.
The club could also make history with its 95-foot bar, likely the longest in the entire state.
“I think people are going to be amazed at this space. I really am,” Palmquist said.