Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

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Churchill Downs

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Description:
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 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.

History

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 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...
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