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Churchill Downs

700 Central Avenue
Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, 40208

Churchill Downs
Photo: Richard Hunt License: 1
Famous for hosting the annual Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs filled a void in Louisville left by the closing of Oakland and Woodlawn, two earlier race courses. The twin spires atop the grandstands are used as a symbol of the track and the Derby.
In addition to the track, clubhouse and stables, Churchill Downs also contains the Kentucky Derby Museum which focuses on the history of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs.

The dirt oval main track, on which the Derby is run, is one mile (1.6 km) in circumference and is 79 to 80 feet (24 m) wide, with a 120-foot (36.5-meter) wide section for the starting gate.

The track is named for John and Henry Churchill, who leased 80 acres of land to their nephew, Colonel M. Lewis Clark (grandson of explorer William Clark).

The founder of the racetrack was Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark of Louis and Clark fame.

The first Kentucky Derby took place here on May 17, 1875.

The Kentucky Derby was inspired by the Epsom Derby, witnessed in England by M. Lewis Clark in 1872.

The twin spires atop the grandstands are the most recognizable architectural feature of Churchill Downs and are used as a symbol of the track and the Derby.

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Map of the Area Around
Churchill Downs

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