An overview of the seating arrangements at the Kentucky Derby suggests some spectators will be treated to a McMansion-like setting:
For those who may wonder what sorts of seating arrangements (and pecking orders) have been established in the 138 years of this aggressively social event, here’s a breakdown: Industry types settle into third-floor boxes at the finish line. Hot-shot corporate leaders plant their flags in fifth-floor suites. The celebrity headliners for Friday night’s charity fundraisers can usually be seen on the fourth-floor Skye Terrace or the Turf Club.
Prime stalking ground this year is “The Mansion,” a new luxury hideaway with a dedicated elevator and private wine cellar designed to feel like a McMansion.
Major sponsors such as Yum! Brands (Taco Bell, KFC) and Brown-Forman (the spirits company behind Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve), have fifth-floor “Finish Line” suites. Prominent Louisville figures buy seats at large tables within the dining areas on “Millionaire’s Row,” which some dismiss as “Thousandaire’s row.”
Horse-industry insiders lock in seats, tables or boxes with personal seat licenses, the best of which can cost up to $75,000 for multiple years or $46,000 for one year. The heart of the industry is in the third-floor numbered boxes: sections 316 to 318 are closest to the finish line. Owners with runners in the Derby are given an assigned box here.
Sounds like there is plenty of money thrown around. But, I wonder what exactly makes “The Mansion” similar to a McMansion: just the elevator and wine cellar? Is there something about the flashiness of the space? Its poor design or architecture? Its appeal to the nouveau riche? Here is an inside look at the newly opened space:
And while the name inspires thoughts of Gone With the Wind’s Tara, or maybe PBS’ Downton Abbey, The Mansion decor better resembles a high-rise suite in a Las Vegas hotel for high rollers, with oversized couches and striking chandeliers…
“This is an experience that’s unlike anything else in sports,” track spokesman Darren Rogers said. Where someone at the Super Bowl or World Series is constantly watching a game, horse racing has periods of 30 minutes or more between races for Mansion customers to be pampered in “the finest amenities that these exclusive customers are used to.”
Churchill’s paddock can be seen from a balcony that also has a prime view of the almost 120-year-old Twin Spires. Mansion patrons who want to watch the races can walk out onto another three-tier balcony that, from the lower rows, affords some of the best views of the track.
“When we started with the design process, we started with a theme. And really the theme of this venue is ‘past meets present,’ ” Churchill track General Manager Ryan Jordan said. “So you’ve got a great historical venue here, and we wanted to bring it up to the modern times with this (Mansion) venue specifically.”
I’m seeing why it is labeled “The Mansion” but still not seeing the McMansion piece which implies some negative aspects…