Churchill Downs to use new starting gate

Churchill Downs will have a new Australian-made 20-gate starting stall for the Kentucky Derby

A new custom-made 20-stall starting gate made in Australia will be in place for this year's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs to ensure a uniform start for the largest field in American horse racing.

The gate, which is being designed and constructed by Australian-based Steriline Racing, will eliminate the wide gap between gate No. 14 in the standard gate and No. 15 in the auxiliary gate of six stalls.

"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," Mike Ziegler, executive director of racing for Churchill Downs, said,

The new gate, which is due to arrive in early April, will be utilised exclusively for the Kentucky Derby in May while the standard starting gate will continue to be used for all other races.

The Derby has a capacity for 20 runners. The Melbourne Cup is Australia's biggest field with a maximum of 24.

Steriline Racing's equipment is used by many major horse racing jurisdictions including the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Victoria Racing Club, Australian Turf Club, Meydan in Dubai and Royal Ascot in England.