..a race track..

On May 5th of this year, the Kentucky Derby will make it's 127th running. It will take place as usual, in Louisville, Kentucky, at what many consider to be the premier horse racing venue, Churchill Downs.

Developed in 1874 by Col. M. Lewis Clark, the Downs was funded by selling 320 memberships at $100 each. Eighty acres of land , approximately three miles south of downtown Louisville were leased from Clark's uncles, John and Henry Churchill. Churchill Downs had it's inaugural race meet on May 17, 1875, with four races scheduled. The winner of the first event was Bonaventure, but the winner of the featured race that day, the Kentucky Derby, was a three-year-old chestnut colt, Aristides. In the fall of 1894 and the spring of 1895, a new grandstand was constructed and complemented by two spires atop the roof. The twin spires would become the symbol of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

It wasn't until 1903, 28 years after it's founding , that the track finally showed a profit. Many track presidents have come and gone, with renovations and additions a constant thread throughout. Recent renovations have ranged from the installation of 1,000 seats on the north end of the grandstand, construction of a museum, and the addition of the fourth and fifth floors of the Skye Terrace "Millionaire's Row".

So, once again, for the 127th time, on Saturday, May 5th, 2001, with a 6:04 p.m. post time, we'll be off to the races for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

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