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'It's unfortunate': Events at Churchill Downs up in the air after Spring Meet moved to Ellis Park

Instead of crowds watching and cheering on the horses, wedding parties and even class reunions are scrambling to find something else to do in Louisville.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs is known for hosting several events from wedding parties to even class reunions. However, after the Spring Meet was suddenly moved, visiting groups and tourists with big plans suddenly had to look elsewhere.

Flaget High School classmates are all still coming to Louisville, but their plans for Saturday are now up in the air. Live racing for their group has been moved to Henderson, Kentucky.

"We were supposed to have the ability to go down to the winner's circle for one of the races. You really can't recreate that," Milton Dehoney Jr. said. 

Dehoney is a Louisville native and former city official who has been looking forward to returning home for the 50th annual reunion of his class at Flaget.

"The fact that it's our 50th reunion -- we were going to also recognize 13 of our classmates who have passed away," Dehoney said.  

They were planning to meet Saturday on the 4th floor of Churchill Downs.

Inside the Kentucky Derby Museum, tourists are still stopping by just in time to see the new banner honoring Kentucky Derby winner, Mage.

"While racing has been moved to Ellis Park and we have lots of tourists that are planning their summer trips and coming through," Katrina Helmer, director of communications at Kentucky Derby Museum, said.

Although disappointed about Churchill plans now cancelled, Dohoney said he understands the track's decision to temporarily suspend racing.


"I was told this afternoon there really is no other option," he said. "We're going to be given a refund, so we will just have to figure something else out for Saturday."

However, Kentucky Derby Museum remains open welcoming tourists daily despite live racing being moved to Ellis Park.

"We're still having our everyday tours that take you down to the track and then we also still have our specialty tours that get you through the backside," Helmer said.

No matter what Dohoney says he still looks forward to being with his fellow Flaget Braves, who attended the school one year before it closed.

"It's unfortunate," he said. "It's nobody's fault, but it really thrown a creek into what our planning has been."

Churchill Downs is still open for simulcast racing; that includes the Belmont Stakes in New York this Saturday, which is the final leg of the Triple Crown. 

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