Churchill Downs, located in Central Avenue in south Louisville, Kentucky, United States, is a Thoroughbred racetrack most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby annually. It officially opened in 1875, and held the first Kentucky Derby and the first Kentucky Oaks in the same year. Churchill Downs has also hosted the renowned Breeders' Cup on seven occasions, most recently in 2011. Churchill Downs Incorporated owns and operates the racetrack.
In 2009, the Horseplayers Association of North America introduced a rating system for 65 Thoroughbred racetracks in North America. Churchill Downs was ranked number 5 on this list.
The track is named for John and Henry Churchill, who leased 80 acres (320,000 m≤) of land to their nephew, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. (grandson of explorer William Clark). Clark was president of the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association, which formed in 1874. His father-in-law, Richard Ten Broeck, was an accomplished horse breeder and trainer, and introduced Clark to horse racing, attending the English Derby at Epsom Downs outside London.
Churchill Downs filled a void in Louisville left by the closing of Oakland and Woodlawn, two earlier race courses. The then-rural location was located along Louisville and Nashville Railroad tracks, allowing for easy transport of horses. Clark, who preferred longer races to the relatively short ones that had become popular by the 1890s, was running short of funds, and in 1893 sold the track to a syndicate led by William Applegate. The new ownership would soon institute many changes, such as shortening the length of the signature race to its modern 1 1/4 mile (2 km), commissioning the famous twin spire grandstand in 1895, and adorning the winner of the Derby with a garland of roses, a tradition that also began in 1895.
preparing the track
In early 1902, Applegate turned over operation of the track to Charles F.
Grainger, then the mayor of Louisville, in an effort to move Churchill Downs
away from being primarily known for gambling. A new clubhouse was built in order
to promote social interaction, and new events such as steeplechases, automobile
races and band concerts were held at the track. The State Fair was held on the
grounds, featuring the odd spectacle of two locomotives being intentionally
crashed head-on in the infield.
Churchill Downsówith the University of Louisville Marching Band in the foregroundóduring the 2006 Kentucky Derby.
On June 5, 1907, African American jockey James Lee set a record that has never been beaten when he won the entire six-race card at Churchill Downs.
In 1908, parimutuel betting machines were introduced as gambling began to be less controversial again, and the wagering portion of the track's business became more profitable.
Churchill Downs was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Text from Wikipedia
wagering windows - now closed
looking over the horse
Perfect Drift - retired race horse
call for the race
during the race
the roses for the winner of the Derby
your chance to be a Jockey
what the tourist Jockey sees
People and Places