The track and club owners got approval on Tuesday from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to operate a private-membership club at 209 E. Main St. The club will offer simulcasting and pari-mutuel wagering to members.
The building is owned by the real estate investors Gene McLean, Mike Schnell and Dave Steinbrecher, who founded the Thoroughbred Society. They originally announced plans for the club in 2017; it is slated to open later this year.
The more than a century-old building, originally known as the E.L. Hughes Building and more recently as the Fetzer Building, is being renovated and will be known as the Hughes Lofts when finished.
The second-floor club will feature state-of-the-art audio and video networking, as many as 12 self-service betting machines, as well as a cigar bar with a walk-in humidor, outdoor patio bar, rooftop terrace and dining area. There also will be meeting spaces and a library.
Louisville Thoroughbred Society, which according to a news release is “dedicated to promoting and enhancing the horse racing industry in Kentucky,” also will offer exclusive benefits for members, such as private bourbon and wine tastings, seminars on handicapping and other racing-related subjects, concierge service and valet parking.
Another aspect of the facility will be a media studio called The Pressbox, where podcasts and other racing-related content will be produced.
“Tuesday was a big day for us,” McLean said in the news release. “This is a tremendous step forward in all of our efforts to provide our members and guests with a premium, first-class and top-of-the-line private club that is dedicated to promoting the greatest industry and sport in the Commonwealth.”
In the release, Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said: “This is an exciting partnership with a team that is passionate about seeing horse racing thrive in Kentucky. We are pleased to provide additional opportunities for fans to wager and look forward to seeing how the product is embraced by the locals.”
The Racing Commission’s approval is contingent upon final approval of a background check on the Louisville Thoroughbred Society’s principal founders. Approval is expected in the next few weeks.