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Churchill Downs

Racing information plus notable races at Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs > Thoroughbred Betting

RaceTrack Info:
Live Racing Calendar:
April - June
September - November

Course Type:
Flat

Main Track:
1 mile, oval

Last Turn to Finish Line:
1,234 ½ feet

Turf course:
7/8th mile oval

Horse racing in Kentucky dates back to 1789 when the first race course officially opened its doors in Lexington. Almost 100 years later, Churchill Downs began its tradition as home of the renowned Kentucky Derby.

The track named for John and Henry Churchill, was founded in 1875 by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of explorer William Clark and president of the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association.

Churchill Down's inaugural race meet featured three major stakes races: the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks and Clark Handicap. The three events were created and inspired upon England's three premier races: the Epsom Derby, Epsom Oaks and St. Leger Stakes. Since their debut in 1875, the three events have been held continuously at the track. In 1953, the Clark Handicap was switched from the spring to the fall meet. The Falls City was also offered during the inaugural meet and after four interruptions, the race continues to be held nowadays. In addition to the annual Kentucky Derby race, the track has also served as home of the renowned Breeders' Cup on eight occasions, most recently in 2011.

Notable Races on Churchill Downs:
GI Races
Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Oaks
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic
Stephen Foster Handicap
Clark Handicap

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