|Churchill Downs is well known the
world over as the annual venue for the fiercely contested Kentucky
Derby. The National Historical Landmark opened in 1875 with the
inaugural Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks both run in that same year.
The racecourse is named after John and Henry Churchill who let
about 32 hectares of their land to family member, Colonel Meriwether
Lewis Clark, Jr. Two earlier courses in the region; the Oakland and
Woodlawn?s tracks, had closed down, so this huge tract of land of rented
land was ideal for the newly formed Churchill Downs racetrack. The
locale was perfect as it was situated along the Louisville and Nashville
Railroad which meant easy access for horses from across the state and
Clark favoured longer horses races over the more popular shorter ones
which over time led to a shortage of funds at the track. He sold the
racecourse to a consortium presided over by William Applegate in 1893.
The new owners introduced a number of changes some of which were the
shortening of the Kentucky Derby to 11/4 miles, decorating the winner of
the Derby with a swag of roses as well as the commission of the world
renowned twin spire grandstand the latter two which both occurred in
In June 1907, James Lee set an unbeaten record at the track when he won
the full 6-race card.
|Churchill Downs has grown over the
years and now covers 147 acres. Standing room capacity has been known to
reach up to 165 000 and seating capacity is 51 000. The track that the
Derby is run on is 1.6km.
A massive refurbishment project started in 2001, costing an estimated
$121 million. The clubhouse was revamped, 79 elite suites built and the
twin spires were restored to their former glory.
The Kentucky Derby Museum is also on site and is open to visitors the
whole year round.
Churchill Downs - Notable Races
Stephen Foster Handicap
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic
Fleur De Lis Handicap
Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes
Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap
Humana Distaff Handicap
Churchill Downs - Contact Details
Churchill Downs is located at 700 Central Avenue, Louisville,
For further detailed information or directions, contact Churchill
Downs directly on (502) 636 4400 or
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