Visiting Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby

A weekend trip to Louisville last year wasn’t going to be complete without stopping at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby.

Churchill Downs and Barbero

This year’s Derby is tomorrow, the 137th running, on the first Saturday in May. If you want to attend, infield tickets are always available for $40.

When my parents and I were at the track last year, it was a month before the race and game-day preparations were all ready happening. (Churchill Downs is home to races throughout the spring and summer, not just the Derby.)

Tours of the facilities are available through the Kentucky Derby Museum, and we chose the historic walking tour, a tour of the stadium and grounds, so we could learn more about Churchill Downs, because none of us has an obsession with horses or the Derby. Other tours include the Behind the Scenes Walking Tour and the Barn and Backside Tour.

While waiting for our tour to begin, we scoped out the food stands and grandstands and I took a break on a namesake bench.

Mint Juleps have their own special stands, but here you can order a double bologna and cheese

Our tour led us to the waiting area for the horses……and an area dedicated to jockey Pat Day (yes, this statue is life size) and one of the horses he rode, either Easy Goer or Menifee (I can’t remember). Day has won U.S. Triple Crown events nine times and is the all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs. Then we headed to the track.

Looking at the finish line

First straightaway

The grandstand

And then my mother asked if we could see the view from above, and our tour guide obliged, taking us up to Millionaire’s Row, where seats are sold for years to come and the ladies wear big hats.

View from Millionaire's Row

View from Millionaire's Row, with the winner's area and the barns in the background

While in Louisville, you could check out the locations of My Top 5 Moments from Louisville, or these sights, too:

Louisville Slugger factory

Me and the Colonel from KFC

And, of course, you could contemplate all the ways to pronounce “Louisville”:

This entry was posted in North America, Photos, Planning a trip, Travel Narrative, U.S. and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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