Cigar Aficionado

Churchill Downs to Go Smoke-Free Inside

Next year's Kentucky Derby attendees will not be permitted to light up anywhere inside the historic Churchill Downs racetrack.

On Tuesday, racetrack officials announced that the Champions Lounge, the only remaining indoor smoke-friendly venue at the Downs since 2005, will prohibit puffing starting November 25. The second-floor club is complying with a Jefferson Circuit Court order issued on Monday. Outdoor seating sections, balconies and paddock areas will be the only places where smoking is allowed.

In July, Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky, home of Churchill Downs, where the famed Kentucky Derby is held annually, instituted a comprehensive smoking ban, which included restaurants and bars. The only exemptions applied to the Downs racetrack and buildings housing tobacco manufacturers and/or wholesalers. According to Louisville's Courier-Journal newspaper, the racetrack's exemption was overturned when Judge Denise Clayton ruled that it violated the equal protection clause in the state constitution.

Churchill Downs is planning to post signs in the Champions Lounge to alert patrons to the change in policy.