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Churchill Downs: A Legacy

Any horse racing lover worth his or her weight knows about Churchill Downs. This legendary track is rich with memorable horse racing moments. The track was and is home to top horses from all over the country�even the world. To say that the horse racing action at Churchill Downs is loved by all would be a grave understatement. In the world of horse racing, Churchill Downs is a masterpiece.

Churchill Downs has a slow beginning. The famed Kentucky Jockey Club was formed in 1809. However, some 70 years would pass before the first glorious race at Churchill Downs would actually take place. Even the most casual of horse racing fans are familiar with the Triple Crown. One of the Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby, is held each year at Churchill Downs. At a time when race relations in the USA were not the best, it was a bit ironic that jockey Oliver Lewis who was an African American won the very first Kentucky Derby.

Back in 1883, the name "Churchill Downs" first appeared in a newspaper article. However, it would take until 1937 for the track to officially incorporate the soon to be legendary name. To raise fund for the track, Clark�who decided on the final spot for the track�sold 320 memberships to Churchill Downs. These memberships we sold at the whopping cost of $100 each. At the time, $100 was a good deal of money.

Today, the Churchill Downs is owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI). They run many horse racing tracks around the country, including: Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Ellis Park, Fair Grounds Race Course and Hoosier Park. All of these tracks have one thing in common�they are great horse racing tracks.

Did you know that the Kentucky Derby was first televised in 1952? That's when the famous race really got a boost. It was the 77th running of the Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby has always been a solid race, and today it's one of the biggest. Each year the purse is normally $1,000,000 to $2,000,000. Popular and legendary horse, Smarty Jones, won the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs back in 2004. It was special in that the purse, some $6,000,000, was double the amount in 2005. It just shows you what an exciting horse can do for the sport.

The Churchill Downs is rich in history. If you have never visiting Churchill Downs, try and make it some day. Betting on the races at Churchill Downs are exciting whether you are there in person or not.

Submitted by:

Sebastien Veilleux

The author is a professional horse wagering editor at Betting on Horse. He also writes a daily blog on horse betting


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