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Kentucky Horse Racing History

Louisville’s Horse Racing History

Unlike most other sporting events in America, Kentucky’s horse racing legacy is marked by rich traditions and a storied history.

Kentucky Derby
Annually, since May of 1875, all eyes turn to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Women wear extravagant hats, men dress in bespoke outfits, and everyone sips the customary mint julep. An estimated 120,000 mint juleps (a specialty cocktail with mint, crushed ice, simple syrup, and of course, bourbon) are consumed at Churchill Downs every year.

The 2018 Kentucky Derby Week kicks-off on Saturday, April 28. Celebrate in style at Churchill Downs. The opening night event is a “Dress to Impress” occasion.

Churchill Downs History
Founded by the grandson of the explorer William Clark, Churchill Downs is best known for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby. After his attendance to the Epsom Derby in England, Clark set out to develop a racetrack fit for a spectacular event showcasing Kentucky’s impressive breeding industry.

Breeders Cup
Dating back to 1984, the first Breeders Cup World Championship ended in a spectacular three-way finish. The race features the world’s finest Grade 1 Thoroughbred horses. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup will be held at Churchill Downs on November 2 and 3.

Plan Your Derby Experience with one of these three options:

The 144th Running of the Derby will be one for the books as Thoroughbreds from around the world compete in the “Run for the Roses.”

Guests at The Louisville Marriott Downtown will receive VIP treatment including:

  • Welcome reception with butler passed appetizers and Mint Juleps
  • Daily delivered newspapers as well as Oaks and Derby programs
  • Complimentary refreshments in the lobby before departing for the track on Friday and Saturday morning
  • Turndown service with amenities each night of the three day package
  • Complimentary photo taken for each guest in the lobby on Saturday morning
  • Access to upgraded in-house amenities: Hat shop, Men’s and Women’s Apparel, Shoe shine, Salon, etc.

Be sure that promotional code ER3 appears in the Corporate/Promotional code box when making your online reservation, or call 1-800-228-9290 in the US and ask for promotional code ER3.

Book Package

Valid Thursday (5/3/18) – Sunday (5/6/18). Rate must be fully pre-paid and is non-refundable at the time of booking. Guest must sign cancellation agreement to retain reservation, please ensure valid email and phone are on reservation so hotel can contact guest with agreement. If this is a surprise, please note on the reservation, and how we may contact guest. Limited number of rooms are available for this promotion.  Tax is additional.  Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms.  Offer cannot be combined with any other promotions.  Blackout dates may apply.  Advance reservations required.  Other restrictions apply.  Rates are per room, per night and based on availability at the time of reservations.

Marriott Rewards Members get access to all of the VIP amenities during Derby weekend AND save 20%. Don’t miss out on this member-only deal.

Be sure that promotional code M12 appears in the Corporate/Promotional code box when making your online reservation, or call 1-800-228-9290 in the US and ask for promotional code M12.

Book Package

Valid Thursday (5/3/18) – Sunday (5/6/18). Rate must be fully pre-paid and is non-refundable at the time of booking. Guest must sign cancellation agreement to retain reservation, please ensure valid email and phone are on reservation so hotel can contact guest with agreement. If this is a surprise, please note on the reservation, and how we may contact guest. Limited number of rooms are available for this promotion.  Tax is additional.  Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms.  Offer cannot be combined with any other promotions.  Blackout dates may apply.  Advance reservations required.  Other restrictions apply.  Rates are per room, per night and based on availability at the time of reservations.

Search May 5-6 to find one of the rare Saturday-only deals in Derby City!

Get on the fast track to the best of Derby.

Be sure that promotional code ER5 appears in the Corporate/Promotional code box when making your online reservation, or call 1-800-228-9290 in the US and ask for promotional code ER5.

Book Package

Valid Saturday (5/5/18) – Sunday (5/6/18). Rate must be fully pre-paid and is non-refundable at the time of booking. Guest must sign cancellation agreement to retain reservation, please ensure valid email and phone are on reservation so hotel can contact guest with agreement. If this is a surprise, please note on the reservation, and how we may contact guest. Limited number of rooms are available for this promotion.  Tax is additional.  Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms.  Offer cannot be combined with any other promotions.  Blackout dates may apply.  Advance reservations required.  Other restrictions apply.  Rates are per room, per night and based on availability at the time of reservations.

Ideal Hotel Near Churchill Downs

The Kentucky Derby is the longest running sporting event in the United States. More than 150,000 visitors attend “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” so it comes as no surprise that hotels near Churchill Downs fill up very quickly.

Louisville Marriott Downtown offers Derby-goers the best of both worlds—top notch downtown accommodations located only a short drive from the track.

Transportation
Getting to-and-from the track is no problem. The city’s bus system is designed to accommodate downtown hotels near Churchill Downs. Numerous other alternative transportation options are also available.

Check out our VIP Derby Experience Package for your weekend escape to Louisville.