In 1874, Colonel M. Lewis Clark, Jr. and other prominent Louisville businessmen envisioned the creation of a jockey club and a racetrack on the Churchill farm near downtown Louisville that would showcase Kentucky’s breeding industry. Over the next year, the track was built on land leased from John and Henry Churchill. And, on May 17, 1875 – in front of a crowd of 10,000 – the first Kentucky Derby was won by a horse named Aristides. Today, a life-sized bronze statue of Aristides stands in the Clubhouse Gardens of Churchill Downs. Like the Epsom Derby in England that it was modeled after, the Kentucky Derby originally featured a distance of a mile and a half. In 1896, the distance was shortened to a mile and a quarter – where it remains to this day. Often referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the legendary race is traditionally run at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May and attracts over 150,000 fans from all over the world. It’s the first leg of thoroughbred racing’s annual Triple Crown. For more information about the Kentucky Derby, click here.
Sponsors: Churchill Downs and Red7e Advertising