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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.

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.

Ask about our Parking Package for your weekend escape to Louisville.