Homeracing

Churchill Downs by the numbers

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

April 19th, 2021

Every sport has its mecca. Basketball has Madison Square Garden, baseball has Fenway Park, football has Lambeau Field, and horse racing has Churchill Downs. 

Established in 1875, this venerable institution has been at the center of the racing universe for nearly a century and a half, and has attracted millions of fans who have made the pilgrimage to Louisville to enjoy "the most exciting two minutes in sports."

Get ready for the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1 with this collection of scintillating stats and facts about Churchill Downs.

2: Number of spires in Churchill Down’s iconic twin spire grandstand. The classic architectural feature was added to the facility in 1895.

9: Number of times Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championship. The last time occurred on Nov. 2 and 3, 2018.

28: Number of years after its founding that Churchill Downs posted its first profitable year.

90: Percentage of the turf that is composed of fescue. The remaining 10% is composed of bluegrass.

147: Number of acres Churchill Downs is situated on. The world-class facility includes a one-mile dirt oval racetrack and a seven-furlong turf race course.

700: Churchill Downs' address on Central Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky.

1,234.5: The length, in feet, from the last turn to the finish line.

1,500: Number of horses that live on the Churchill Downs grounds each year.

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Churchill Downs Paddock Schooling. (Photo by Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

1986: Year in which Churchill Downs was designated a National Historic Landmark. Other famous National Historic Landmarks include Central Park, Yosemite National Park, and the Grand Canyon.  

5,000: Number of horses housed annually in Churchill Downs’ backside barns.

10,000: Number of spectators who saw the inaugural Kentucky Derby on May 17, 1875.

27,000: Number of spectators at Churchill Downs’ inaugural night race on June 19, 2009.

32,000: Amount raised, in dollars, by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark to build a clubhouse, grandstand, Porter’s Lodge, and six stables in 1875.

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A Kentucky Derby fan shows off their Mint Julep. (Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/Icon Sportswire)

120,000: Number of mint juleps consumed at Churchill Downs annually.

142,000: Number of hot dogs consumed annually at the Kentucky Derby. You can’t drink on an empty stomach, after all.

170,513: Number of fans who packed the stands at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2015 to see American Pharoah win the Kentucky Derby. It remains the biggest turnout in Derby history.

300,000: The price, in dollars, of the automatic sprinkler system installed in the grandstand and clubhouse in 1955.

1,200,000: Weight, in pounds, of the "Big Board" video screen along the backstretch of the dirt course. It was installed in 2014 and was, at the time, the largest 4K video screen ever constructed.

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