John Asher, director of communications at Churchill Downs, announced today that the racetrack will be strengthening security and hospitality policies and expand screenings for patrons, employees and vendors who will enter the track for the 139th runnings of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 3.
Churchill Downs officials are asking fans to participate in making the 2013 Derby and Oaks racing and entertainment celebrations safe and enjoyable by being aware of their surroundings during their visits to the historic track. Should any patron see an activity that might be unusual or suspicious, they’re urged to notify a member of the racetrack team or security personnel working in and around the track. Derby and Oaks fans are urged to keep a simple phrase in mind: “See Something, Say Something.”
Following consultation with many of the dozens of federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies that work annually with Churchill Downs to ensure safe and enjoyable patron experiences at the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, track officials have released a revised list of Derby and Oaks “Dos and Don’ts” – items permitted for patron carry-in to the track on those days and items that are banned. The track had issued its 2013 policies and procedures April 12, but Churchill Downs and its law enforcement and safety partners launched a further review of those practices following Monday’s bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon.
Additions to the list of items banned for carry-in to Churchill Downs in the revised Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks security and hospitality polices include:
- Coolers – Removed from the list on banned items in 2009, coolers will no longer be permitted for carry-in to the infield. Styrofoam coolers and ice will be available at infield purchase points;
- Camcorders, tripods and video equipment;
- Cameras with detachable lenses, cameras equipped with lenses more than six inches in length, and tripods of any kind.
- Purses must be 12 inches or less in any dimension;
- Cans of any kind and size;
- Fireworks, laser lights and pointers and mace/pepper spray;
- Noisemakers and air horns.
Additionally, all patrons who enter Churchill Downs on those days will be subject to an electronic wand search at admission gates (1, 3, 10 and 17) and employee, vendor and media entrances. All items carried into the track by persons passing through those gates are subject to search by officers from Churchill Downs security and its law enforcement partners. Searches could occur outside or inside the track’s admission gates. Prohibited items removed during the admissions process will not be held for retrieval at the conclusion of those racing programs.