History of Churchill Downs Race Track
Churchill Downs was built in 1875 by Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., who was a prominent member of Louisville society. A gambler by nature, Clark built the track to attract high-stakes gamblers who would come to Louisville to wager on thoroughbred racing. Clark had the track built on land that was once home to the Kentucky State Fair. The track was named after the first two finishers in the 1875 Kentucky Derby, Churchill and the 11th-place finisher, Dover. The first Kentucky Derby was run on May 17, 1875, and saw 15 horses compete for a $10,000 purse. The race was won by a 2-1 long-shot, Aristides, and helped put Churchill Downs on the map.
Notable Horses, Jockeys, and Trainers
Churchill Downs is famous for hosting the first running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875. The track has also hosted several other notable races, including the Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, the Breeders’ Cup, and the Stephen Foster Handicap. Some notable horses that competed at Churchill Downs include Secretariat, Citation, Native Dancer, Swaps, Bill Shoemaker, and D. Wayne Lukas. Some notable jockeys that have competed at Churchill Downs include Bill Shoemaker, Pat Day, Eddie Arcaro, and Angel Cordero, Jr. Some notable trainers that have competed at Churchill Downs include D. Wayne Lukas, P.G. Johnson, and Bob Baffert.
Famous Races Hosted at Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs is best known for hosting the first running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875. Since then, it has become one of the most famous horse racing events in the United States. Churchill Downs has also hosted the Oaks, the Breeders’ Cup, and the Stephen Foster Handicap.
- The Kentucky Derby: The Kentucky Derby is the most famous race at Churchill Downs and one of the most famous races in American sports. It is held annually on the first Saturday in May. The first running of the Kentucky Derby was held in 1875, and since then it has become one of the most iconic events in the United States.
- The Kentucky Oaks: The Kentucky Oaks is the first leg of the annual “Spring Triple Crown.” It is held annually on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. The race is open to fillies three years old and up.
- The Breeders’ Cup: The Breeders’ Cup is an annual event that is held at a different track each year. It is hosted by the Breeders’ Cup, a nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in Thoroughbred breeding and racing. - The Stephen Foster Handicap: The Stephen Foster Handicap is the last race in Churchill Downs’ annual “Spring Triple Crown.” It is held annually on the Saturday after the Kentucky Oaks.
Churchill Downs Traditions and Culture
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most iconic horse races in the United States. It is held annually on the first Saturday in May and is the last leg of the “Spring Triple Crown.” The first running of the Kentucky Derby was held in 1875, making it one of the oldest horse races in the country. The track also hosts the Kentucky Oaks, which is the first leg of the “Spring Triple Crown.” The track’s most famous traditions include the mint julep, the bow sequence made famous by Churchill Downs’ announcer, Pat Patterson, and the “running of the roses.” The most well-known tradition at Churchill Downs is the renowned mint julep. The drink is a popular beverage that is served at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. It is made with bourbon, mint, and crushed ice and is garnished with a sprig of mint. The mint julep is such a famous part of the Kentucky Derby that it can be seen on the hat of the Derby’s official logo. Traditionally, the julep is served in a silver or pewter cup, but at Churchill Downs, it is more often served in a souvenir Derby mug. The mint julep is not the only drink that is served at Churchill Downs. There is also a plethora of other alcoholic beverages available to be consumed. There are multiple bars in the infield area where people can enjoy alcoholic beverages, as well as a full-service restaurant that serves various drinks and food.
There are a variety of behind-the-scenes tours that are offered at Churchill Downs. Tours range in price and include a behind-the-scenes look at the track, the jockeys’ room, the owners’ room, and more. Some experiences also include the chance for guests to ride in the track’s carriages with the jockeys. For more information, you can visit Churchill Downs’ website at Churchill Downs.com
Churchill Downs Betting Guide
Horse racing fans can also partake in a fun bet called “wagering.” Wagering is the practice of betting money on the outcome of a race between two horses. The more money bet on the race, the more money is awarded to the winners. Churchill Downs has a sportsbook that is open year round and offers a variety of betting options. For more information on betting at Churchill Downs, you can visit their website at Churchill Downs.com.