LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Horses running in the Kentucky Derby will break from a new custom-made 20-stall starting gate for the 146th edition in May.
Churchill Downs said Monday the new contiguous gate will eliminate the wide gap between post position No. 14 in the standard gate and No. 15 in the auxiliary gate. The six-stall auxiliary gate, which was attached to the 14-horse starting gate, was first used in 1942 and has been used each of the last 22 years.
The new gate will be used only for the Derby on May 2. The track's standard starting gate will still be used for all other races.
"We believe that a new custom-made, 20-stall starting gate will deliver a clean start for all horses and enhance safety for horses and riders in the Kentucky Derby," said Mike Ziegler, executive director of racing for Churchill Downs Inc.
The new gate is set to arrive at the track in early April. It is 65-feet wide and will fit comfortably within the 120-foot space on the track at the quarter-mile pole for the start of the Derby.
Churchill Downs has a deal with Australia-based Steriline Racing for design and construction of the gate.