Line 1 Adventures: Churchill Downs – Louisville
Caption: Found Churchill Downs while out on a walk …
Caption: The Saddling Paddock
Caption: The Famous Twin Spires of Churchill Downs
This famous racetrack is easily visited while attending MATS as it is just down the street within walking distance on Central Ave. The track is hard to miss as it covers 115 acres and has the capacity to seat 50,000 people.
There is a museum and gift shop on the ground that is open seven days a week. While searching online I found that they have several tours and a group of us booked two. Our two tours were the Behind the Scenes Walking Tour and the Barn and Backside Van Tour. Both tours covered different areas of the track with the Behind the Scenes Tour showing the audience side of the track and the Barn and Backside Tour showing the barns, jockey areas, starting gates, and the living facilities of many of the barn workers.
I remember as a child witnessing Secretariat win the Triple Crown and I was in awe to stand where he had stood, been saddled, and won the first race in the Triple Crown series. We also toured the Jockeys changing rooms and that is a bleak place with a lot of history and traditions. We toured the barns, the grandstands, where the announcer sits, and learned lots of background facts about the track, horses, owners, trainers, and jockeys.
This was an afternoon well spent on the day before MATS started.
For more info about Churchill Downs, go to http://www.derbymuseum.org/tours.html