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Churchill Downs to debut new 20-stall starting gate for 2020 Kentucky Derby

The starting gate will be utilized exclusively for the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs announced Monday an agreement with Australian-based Steriline Racing to design and construct a new custom-made, 20-stall starting gate that will be used for the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2.

The starting gate will be utilized exclusively for the Kentucky Derby and will replace Churchill Downs’ standard starting gate, which will continue to be used for all other races.

Starting gates have been in use for racing at Churchill Downs since 1930, with the first closed electronically-operated 14-stall starting gate introduced in 1941. 

“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 Incorporated. “We’re thrilled to partner with Australia’s Steriline Racing to supply this new starting gate at Churchill Downs.”

The origination of a 20-stall starting gate eliminates the wide gap between post position No. 14 in the standard gate and No. 15 in the auxiliary gate.

“It has been great to working with the Churchill Downs team.” said Steriline Racing CEO John Fargher. “They wanted to see one of our larger gates in action, so we travelled to the UK, where every single starting gate in that country has been manufactured by Steriline. York Racecourse has a 22-stall Steriline gate so this was the obvious location to demonstrate their dependability and reliability. We are excited to be a part of the most famous race in all of America.”

The starting gate, which is due to arrive in early April, is 65-feet wide and will fit comfortably within the 120-foot space on the racetrack at the quarter-mile pole for the start of the Kentucky Derby.

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