Louisville Thoroughbred Society finally opens despite pandemic and fire


It’s been a long time in the making for a private downtown club that caters to horse racing fans, businesses and travelers.

The Louisville Thoroughbred Society was finally going to open right before this year’s Kentucky Derby. Then the pandemic hit. The club has now opened, as operators are betting people are looking for what it has to offer. 

Louisville Thoroughbred Society
Despite a global health emergency, and a fire, the Louisville Thoroughbred Society is now open.

“Opening was a challenge throughout the year,” LTS General Manager Mary Painter said.

You wouldn’t know it with a quick look around the beautiful, members-only Louisville Thoroughbred Society on East Main Street. Painter said not being able to show it off because of the pandemic, right before Louisville’s biggest day of the year, was painful.

“We wanted to introduce Louisville to what we had to offer,” she said. “We wanted to sell memberships and we wanted to make connections for us. That momentum was really taken out from underneath us.”

These days, the four founders and 27 investors are starting to get momentum back. From multiple bars and lounge seating spots for premium cocktails, there’s a large dining room and on-site parimutuel wagering conducted in partnership with Churchill Downs. It features exposed beams and refurbished floors, and walls from the 1800s.

Besides live racing, you can also catch other live sporting events on big screens. There’s a terrace if you want to be outside, and a grand humidor ready to go with an outdoor smoking area still under construction. Another road block followed — a small fire a few months ago in a back elevator.

“It was in the back of the building,” Painter said. “The top two floors of this building and really no damage to the club level, thank goodness.”

Painter said they were up and ready to open last weekend, hoping to take advantage of the Breeders’ Cup. It worked. Masked members came ready to celebrate; some were able to grab grand opening membership specials for $500.

 “We’re all going to get through this,” Painter said. “And all of this will be behind us and we’ll celebrate.”

For now, the club is hosting small groups and events. Click here to learn more about membership.

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