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Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs via Google Earth


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 country.

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 1895.

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

Kentucky Oaks

Kentucky Derby

Stephen Foster Handicap

Woodford Reserve Turf Classic

Clark Handicap

Fleur De Lis Handicap

Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes

Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap

Humana Distaff Handicap

Louisville Stakes

Churchill Downs - Contact Details

Churchill Downs is located at 700 Central Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky.

For further detailed information or directions, contact Churchill Downs directly on (502) 636 4400 or customerservice@kyderby.com

Churchill Downs - Betting

Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

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  • 2014/02/16 01:08:30 AM
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