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September 24, 2008 7:37 AM CDT

Restoring the 'Grand Dame' of Racing


Churchill Downs, the world's most legendary racetrack.
Churchill Downs, the world's most legendary racetrack.
Churchill Downs, the world's most legendary racetrack, has conducted thoroughbred racing and presented America's greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. As other state-of-the-art entertainment and sports attractions have cropped up throughout the region, it was in need of restoration and modernization to effectively compete and attract fans to the track.

Signature races, the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, have had an economic impact of approximately $217 million, and the renovation would help ensure that both events continue to grow and serve as significant drivers for the regional economy. Hosting 750,000 visitors each year, all caulking done on the terraces overlooking the racetrack had to withstand extensive movement as well as retain the stunning revitalized look, despite the high traffic.

The fast-track construction schedules on a project like Churchill Downs required that product be on hand when it is needed. Custom matching of colors adds time, cost and complications that slow the process. Spectrem 4-TS Field-Tintable Silicone Sealant from Tremco not only provided all the performance required, it offered a standard color, which would perfectly match the traffic coating being used on the job. Being field-tintable, it also gave the contractor, Martin & McDonald, the freedom to mix just the amount needed on-site and blend as necessary to meet the exacting requirements of the architect for the appearance of a mortar joint. In addition, its excellent adhesion and movement capabilities made it ideal for the suspended pre-cast panels in the suite section where terraces overlook the track.

With a variety of control joints between dissimilar materials, a product was needed that could provide superior adhesion between not only brick to brick, but brick to EIFS and EIFS to mortar. Spectrem 3 Silicone Sealant and Spectrem 4-TS, both formulated with Tremco's proprietary Advanced Silicone Technology (AST), are suited for the porous substrates as well as materials having a high coefficient of linear expansion such as EIFS, and they last for decades. The AST formulation also ensures that they are easy to work with, tooling joints is fast, the finish is superior, and the color is retained dirt-free for years to come.

Now, with the help of new advanced technology in sealants, Churchill Downs has been restored to the Winners Circle of racing venues with a look that's formulated to last for a long time.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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