Churchill Downs | Senior Director, Safety & Security | Louisville, KY


Horse racing in Kentucky dates back to 1789 when the first race course was constructed in Lexington. Nearly 100 years later, in 1875, Churchill Downs officially opened its gates in Louisville and began its tradition as the “Home of the Kentucky Derby,” the longest continually-running sporting event in America. The Founding of Churchill Downs began in 1872, when Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark traveled to England and France in 1872. Clark attended the Epsom Derby in England, which sparked his ambition to create a spectacle horse racing event in America. Upon his return to the states, Clark began the development of the racetrack, with intentions to showcase the Kentucky breeding industry that eventually became known as "Churchill Downs." Today, Churchill Downs spans 200 acres with its most significant structure being the Twin Spires, an architectural feature which sits atop the grandstand and has become the universally recognized symbol for Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

Known as the home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, Churchill Downs Racetrack conducts Thoroughbred horse racing in Louisville, Kentucky during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. The venue occupies 200 acres, featuring a one-mile dirt, oval racetrack and a seven-furlong turf race course.  The clubhouse and grandstand include 1.7 million square feet of hospitality space that spans the track’s ¼ mile front stretch.  The stable area includes 1,500 stalls at Churchill Downs and 500 stalls at a satellite training center that house the horses that train at the racetrack every morning.  Thoroughbred racing, the Kentucky Derby, and the Kentucky Oaks have run continuously at Churchill Downs Racetrack since 1875. In addition, Churchill Downs Racetrack has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships nine times.

Over the course of three centuries, the track has completed several massive renovation projects to modernize its venerable grandstand and clubhouse and to accommodate its more than 165,000 guests on Kentucky Derby Day. Modernization projects have included the construction of private luxury suites, premium hospitality areas, permanent lights to operate night-time race programs, and building The Big Board – the world’s largest 4k video screen. The Twin Spires that sit atop the grandstands remain the most recognizable architectural feature of Churchill Downs and serve as a symbol of the racetrack. The spires were designed by architect Joseph Dominic Baldez and were built in 1895 – they shine across the world’s most legendary racetrack each night.

Churchill Downs is the flagship property of Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, KY. CDI is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company. CDI operates the largest legal online account wagering platform for horseracing in the U.S., through its ownership of CDI also is a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 8,000 gaming positions in six states. CDI recently launched its BetAmerica Sportsbook at its two Mississippi casino properties and has announced plans to enter additional U.S. real money online gaming and sports betting markets. Derby City Gaming, the first historical racing machine (“HRM”) facility in Louisville, was opened in September 2018 with 900 HRM machines. Additional information about CDI can be found online at

Any interested candidates should contact Turnkey Search directly. Contacting Churchill Downs will only delay consideration of your qualifications.

Position Summary

The Senior Director, Safety & Security will serve as the primary driver of the development and execution of all safety and security plans and programs for Churchill Downs Racetrack. The Senior Director will plan, establish, implement and provide coordinated leadership and direction in all aspects of safety and security procedures and policies to protect the team members, guests, vendors, reputation, facility and other assets of Churchill Downs Racetrack. This position will evaluate current procedures and set forth a vision and programming to effectively and efficiently drive nimble security procedures that properly serve the uniqueness of the facility and the variance in security needs throughout the year and for marquee events. 

The Senior Director will develop relationships and partner collaboratively with external groups including federal, state, local law enforcement and emergency services to create a safety and security plan for Churchill Downs. Additionally, the Senior Director will work internally with the Churchill Downs management, events, sales, finance, human resources and legal departments as well as collaborating with operations and their team on safety and security matters regarding the events at Churchill Downs.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop, administer, oversee and interpret procedures to promote a safe and secure environment for team members, guests, and vendors; ensure all full-time, part-time and event day staff are knowledgeable, fully trained and at the ready to execute list safety management plans.

  • Develop and implement strategic loss prevention and safety awareness programs designed to progressively pursue a safe and secure environment.

  • Provide management for all services and activities involved in event and building security, emergency preparedness, and risk management using independent judgment and personal initiative.

  • Oversee and monitor the safety and security systems at all Churchill Downs Racetrack locations, including CCTV, access control and radio communications.

  • Provide effective direction to staff in emergency response situations; update and manage facility Emergency Response Plans with regular updates and exercises.

  • Implement regulatory programs to include: HAZCOM, Bloodborne Pathogens and Lock-Out/Tag-Out, training programs; Implement employee safety training programs from initial orientation through departmental safety training.

  • Analyze loss data to determine what areas need special attention and inform management of the results to include appropriate recommendations.

  • Coordinate the establishment of and maintain active role in the safety committee.

  • Keep management fully apprised of all Risk Control System developments/results through attendance at management meetings and issuance of reports.

  • Liaison with representatives of federal, state and local government officials to ensure cooperation and coordination of activities with law enforcement and firefighting agencies.

  • Create and manage traffic and security deployments in coordination with private security and local law enforcement.

  • Oversee property medical services including ambulance services during training hours. Monitor work habits and response procedures and make recommendations, as appropriate.

  • Monitor all entry and exit gates located on the property, at the Greenhouse location, and at the Trackside location (Poplar Level Road). Maintain efficient staffing and ensure that guards are checking for proper entry and exit credentials, driving credentials, and as considered necessary are inspecting vehicle contents. Effectively monitor all horse entries and exits with procedures approved by the Director of Racing/Racing Secretary.

  • Work closely with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed including, but not limited to, licensing, drug policies and other racing issues. Attend and participate (as appropriate) in all Racing Committee meetings. Respond to and resolve horsemen problems or issues.

  • Monitor all agencies conducting business at Churchill Downs including, but not limited to, the Lifestyle Program, Backside Chaplaincy, Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (“HBPA”), Kentucky Thoroughbred Association “(KTA”), and the Backside Learning Center. Ensures that all organization activities and operations are carried out in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and laws governing business operations.

Qualifications, Skills and Education Requirements

  • Education/License Requirements: 4-year accredited college degree, preferably in Engineering, Operations, Environmental Health & Safety, Business Administration/Management, Emergency Management or Criminal Justice OR ten (10) years of safety and security leadership experience in a large institutional or governmental environment.

  • 5-7+ years of managerial and policy making experience in emergency management, security and/or large event field. Experience managing the security efforts for a large assembly or sporting venue is preferred.

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, as well as demonstrated professionalism and diplomacy.

  • Exceptional organizational and project management skills with an ability to handle multiple assignments in a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines.

  • Current and valid driver’s license required. CPR and First Aid Instructor preferred.

  • Must demonstrate a team player spirit with an exceptional customer service attitude.