Kentucky Derby Museum gallops into the future with $1 million Riders Up! exhibit upgrade

Kentucky Derby Museum gallops into the future with $1 million Riders Up! exhibit upgrade

Kentucky Derby Museum gallops into the future with $1 million Riders Up! exhibit upgrade

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (February 20, 2024) – The Kentucky Derby Museum is gearing up for an exhilarating ride as it announces the launch of a $1 million upgrade to its iconic exhibit, Riders Up! Construction started in February, and the new exhibit is set to debut on April 12, 2024, just in time for the 150th Kentucky Derby®.

The Museum originally built the Riders Up! exhibit in 2000 as a way to immerse visitors in the Derby and race day experience from the viewpoint of a jockey and Thoroughbred race horse. The game was last updated in 2010 during a previous Museum expansion project. With significant changes in virtual and augmented reality since then, the new version promises to captivate visitors with state-of-the-art technology that brings the thrill of horse racing into the 21st century.

"This exhibit has been a fan favorite for guests of all ages ever since the original debuted in 2000," said Chris Goodlett, Kentucky Derby Museum Senior Director of Curatorial and Educational Affairs. "With Riders Up!, we're not just entertaining; we're bringing the Derby's rich history to life. This exhibit drives home our mission of engaging everyone with the excitement of Derby every single day."

Some of the upgraded Riders Up! features will include:

Five Horse Frenzy: With such high demand on the exhibit, the new field will expand to five horses, one of which will be wheelchair accessible. The previous version had three horses.

Breathtaking Tech : The new game delivers a virtual reality experience with five screens showing individual jockey viewpoints and one massive screen providing a full track view. The game will also include an optional tournament mode.

Personalize Your Derby : For the first time, players will be able to choose their horse and jockey avatar. The new selection process highlights the Museum's commitment to diversity and inclusion with the intentional design of the avatars.

Time-Travel Track : Experience Derby through the decades. Visitors will race in different eras circa 1875, 1915, 1945, 1986, or the current day, all while navigating unpredictable weather conditions for a wild, thrilling ride. The eras and weather will be randomized, providing an educational journey through the history of the Kentucky Derby.

Catalyst, an Australian-based production studio dedicated to virtual and augmented reality, is crafting the visually stunning game, and The Laboratory Creative, a design company based in Southern Indiana, is building the immersive exhibit.

"We're not just upgrading a game; we're revolutionizing the way you experience the magic of the Derby," said Patrick Armstrong, Kentucky Derby Museum President and CEO. "Every day, we're committed to sharing the exhilaration and history of Derby with all our guests. Bigger and bolder with cutting-edge technology, the new Riders Up! is the epitome of that commitment."

The exhibit, located on the first floor of the Museum, will reopen to the public on April 12, 2024. Riders Up! will continue to be included in the price of general admission.

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Renderings of the new Riders Up! exhibit

Media Note: Click here to download photos of the old exhibit, renderings of the new exhibit, and a vertical slice of the new video game. All media assets require a courtesy for Kentucky Derby Museum. For media inquiries, please contact Katrina Helmer, KDM's Director of Communication at [email protected] or 502-814-3027.