Wildwood Casino debuts new Turf Club

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Rick Langenberg

It’s off to the races at the new Wildwood Turf Club.

And while tens of thousands of thoroughbred fans may have gotten the chance to see the action live at Churchill Downs, cast a hopeful wager on favorite and eventual winner American Pharoah and sip a few mint juleps in the process, Kentucky Derby fever exploded in Cripple Creek, with the official debut of the Wildwood casino’s new off-track betting area, called the Wildwood Turf Club.

“There is something very traditional about horse racing. People can really relate to it,” said Kevin Werner, general manager of the Wildwood, who has held this post since the casino opened its doors in 2008.

“We are in the business of entertaining people. This all about bringing more people up here to Cripple Creek,” added Werner, in describing the impetus behind the new off-betting track area, located near its table games area. He doesn’t know if the Turf Club will amount to a huge winner for the casino, but believes it will provide a definite draw for the Cripple Creek gambling experience. “We are very proud of what we have done here.”

The new center is the only off-betting arena offered at a casino in Colorado. It includes room for 40 guests with two huge 70-inch high definition television displays, two 60-inch displays, and 10, 50-inch displays. The track also features self-serve betting terminals, personal tellers, free open seating and complimentary cocktail service.

And participants have a wide variety of options to choose from with 16 daily tracks around the country, featuring the full gamut of horse, dog and harness racing. Bettors can view detailed programs and they can try their luck at placing wagers for their favorite horse and greyhound. Bettors can cast wagers for a first place win, place, show, quinella, daily double, exacta and trifecta finishes and more. Plus, there are no limits on betting.

The Wildwood Turf Club also provides fans with an informative wagering guide and detailed schedule of races.

“There has been nothing like this in Cripple Creek,” said Mike Chaput, Wildwood’s director of planning and analysis. He conceded that previous attempts were done at Colorado casinos, but nothing of this grandeur. “This is tremendous fun,” added Chaput, a Cripple Creek casino managerial veteran since 1991.

The official debut of the Wildwood Turf Club occurred during the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby last Saturday. Wildwood employees were garbed in Derby outfits, with one amazing hat, displayed by group sales manager Erika Crawford, specially made by the Butte Theater.

“Our timing is great,” said Wildwood manager Andy Shawcroft. “This has been a real team effort.”