Racing on Market Street in downtown Louisville, Ky., reportedly began as early as 1783. The road to the famous Churchill Downs was paved by a multitude of tracks that work their way through Louisville’s downtown area, but the famous track people still flock to today truly got its start when 26-year-old Col. M. Lewis Clark thought up the Louisville Jockey Club while traveling through England and France in 1872.
After much work, the track officially opened on May 17, 1875 with three major stakes races: the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, and Clark Handicap, all of which have each been held continuously at Churchill since that first inaugural event.
Since then, the Kentucky Derby has evolved into a sports spectacle draped in high fashion and doused in tradition. While not everyone can get down to Kentucky to witness the event in person, there is no reason you can’t bring this little piece of American sports history to your own home for everyone to enjoy.
With a derby viewing party, you can bring the splendor of derby traditions like the garland of roses, the tasty mint julep, and high-hatted fashion to your own home with simple adaptations and inspirations. The best part? No one will have to find a babysitter for this event. Creating a kids area for the little ones will keep them entertained while the adults can focus on the race and revel in idle chat. Follow these simple tips and tricks and you can easily saddle everyone up for a great time.