, 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 six occasions, most recently in 2010, and is scheduled to host the event again November 4–5, 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 m²) 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 introduced Clark to horse racing
, attending the English Derby
at Epsom Downs
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... Read More