Churchill Downs History: A tradition of Epic Proportions

Churchill Downs History

What is the history of Churchill Downs Racetrack?

The Churchill Downs History and tradition has made it one of the globe’s most renowned racetracks and is the most legendary facility of its kind in the world. Furthermore, the track formally opened to the public in 1875. Initially, the facility showcased the breeding industry of Kentucky under the name the Louisville Jockey Club. Col. M. Lewis Clark founded it. They named the racetrack Churchill Downs after 15 years had elapsed.

Seems like that in 1875, a bunch of horses raced in the first the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Ever since its inception, it has grown to become the best venue for a number of renowned horse racing events including the Breeders’ Cup whose most recent hosting date was 3rd November, 2018. Other notable races that it has hosted include the Woodford Reserve, Clark Handicap, Stephen Foster, and Turf Classic. America recorded the track in the list of National History Landmarks in 1986.

Although the initial founder of the track was Col. M. Lewis Clark Jr., tribute has been given to his uncles John and Henry Churchill. The duo leased 32 acres of land to Lewis, who was the president of Louisville Jockey Club. Lewis’ grandfather, Richard Ten Broeck was a reputable horse breeder as well as trainer. He is the one who introduced his grandson to horse racing following their visit to London where they attended the English Derby; another iconic horse racing event. 

Churchill Downs history of ownership includes many different people, families and entities. The most notable one is William E. Applegate. He revolutionized the track and cemented its place in the history of horse racing both in the U.S. and the world.  

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