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Derby City Classic to Move to New Digs in 2009
Aug 7, 2008, 1:56 PM

The Executive West has seen its last Derby tournament.
Say goodbye to the waitresses in the Golden Targe Tearoom, karaoke in the Boozseller, and the equestrian-themed portraits in the Derbyshire Dining Room.

The Derby City Classic has found a new home.

Pool’s nine-day, around-the-clock, multidivision pro-amateur-action jamboree will move to the Horseshoe Casino Hotel in Southern Indiana in 2009, according to founder Greg Sullivan.

The dates of the 2009 Classic are set for Jan. 23-31. The Horseshoe is located in Elizabeth, Ind., directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky.

“The food will be better, and I think that the whole environment will be better at [Horseshoe],” said Sullivan, president and co-owner of Diamond Billiard Products, which produces the event. “I’m hoping. It’s a learning experience anyway.”

For the last decade, the event has been based at the Executive West Hotel in Louisville. The homey and hospitable property became an institution in the pool world, a good fit for the no-holds-barred tournament and after-hours action that virtually took over the 611-room hotel.

But several factors prodded Sullivan to search for a new home for 2009. The hotel’s owners have planned an extensive renovation that will limit the amount of space available for the Classic. The neighboring Executive Inn Hotel, which housed satellite Derby events, is slated for demolition.

Sullivan filtered through several options — many prohibitively expensive — before inking a deal with the Horseshoe, a large complex owned by Harrah’s Entertainment that includes a riverboat casino, a 503-room hotel, spacious convention facilities and on-site amenities including seven dining options.

Sullivan was able to secure discounted rates for 300 hotel rooms per night. The nightly rate will be $105 on weekdays and $130 on weekends.

Sullivan currently is in the process of arranging for discounted rates at nearby hotels.

The Horseshoe’s 20,000 square feet of convention space will allow Sullivan to increase the number of pool tables from 53 to 63, he said. The Classic’s main tournament offerings will remain the same, including the three major divisions of bank pool, one-pocket and 9-ball. Plenty of space will be allotted for action matches.

The Web address for the hotel is: www.harrahs.com/casinos/caesars-indiana/hotel-casino/property-home.shtml