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The Top 5 Horse Racing Tracks and Venues in Kentucky

Kentucky Horse Track and Betting
Kentucky is a big name when it comes to horse racing. The history takes horse racing back hundreds of years. It continues to be a state where many visit to see horse racing. Many of the tracks are on the grounds of casino and resort venues. This provides visitors with a way to enjoy more than horse racing when visiting the area.

Horse racing is in states other than Kentucky, but there are states where horse racing is illegal. If you want to visit the state where the Kentucky Derby runs, then visit the first horse racing track on this list.

Kentucky is one of the oldest states throughout the US that continues to run horse races. Also they have many other offerings throughout the state. This is for all that wish to make this a great getaway for a weekend.

Enjoy all that comes from horse racing and what is being provided at each of these venues. You can plan and book your stay in one of the many hotels in the area. You can also get tickets for each one of the races happening. Do this online, or right when you show up to the venue. This provides visitors with a way to plan their stay ahead of time, while also ensuring that they have everything they need for the best time while visiting.

Horse racing continues to be a favorite pastime for many.

History of Horse Racing in Kentucky

When thinking of Kentucky, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the Kentucky Derby. Kentucky has one of the richest histories of horse racing in the US.
Horse racing started in Lexington in 1787 according to many historians. When horse racing began, there were no special race tracks for the horses to race on. Many horsemen would bring their horses to a common park to race them. Men would organize the events, take bets, and pay out the purses.

After a while, many of the visitors complained about where the horse races were being held. This led to the construction of a new horse racing track. A club for horsemen and visitors was also constructed. Shipping Island was the first track, though it’s now abandoned. The course became known as “Elm Tree Gardens” and took in a lot of visitors with the spectacle of horse racing.

Soon after, many private and public race tracks emerged. A lot of farmers would have private races on their lands. More public events started in new race tracks located around the state. Louisville was the next city to build an official track in 1820.

After a few years, horse racing began to die down throughout the state. This led many horsemen to speak with owners about bringing horses elsewhere to race. This was due to not having enough business within this one state. Many of the owners and horse race lovers went to one of the wealthiest men in the area – Meriwether Lewis Clark. They wanted his guidance and monetary support to build a large and impressive race track.
Clark decided to make it an even more spectacular event, much like the Olympics. It would start with a series of races but then finish off with one grand finale race. This race was of those horses that made it into the finals – the Kentucky Derby. To fulfill this, a more elaborate set of tracks needed built for the horses to race on. In 1875, Churchill Downs completed construction.

The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are the two oldest horse racing events in history. They both take place in the same exact area that they were first invented in. They continue to race every year. This provides spectators with a way to enjoy a long time favorite sport.

In 1986, Churchill Downs became a National Historic Landmark. This placed it in the book of landmarks, preserving its presence in the state of Kentucky. Every May, residents and tourists gather in the stands of this historic monument. They not only watch the Kentucky Derby, but also wear very fashionable hats and sing, “My Old Kentucky Home.”

1 – Churchill Downs Race Track

Churchill Downs

This is where the first Kentucky Derby started on May 17, 1875. The venue has pictures and other information posted for visitors to look at and read. They have a massive track. It provides enough seating for thousands of people to come out and see the races live.

With bankers at each of the windows before a race, you can put down your bet and try to win the largest purse. You can find horses’ stats posted at each of these areas. They provide those not familiar with the horses information on which ones they should bet on. This is an ideal way to find out which horses and horsemen are providing the winning streak. And also which underdogs are looking to make it to the top at the next races.
Churchill Downs continues to put on the Kentucky Derby every year. Their thoroughbred horse racing history continues to strive. This is even while other areas might be failing. Other horse racing venues provide extra amenities; Churchill Downs only does horse racing. But, they’re partnered with a few hotels in the area.

700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208 – (502) 636-4400

2 – Keeneland


Keeneland is less known than some of the other race tracks throughout Kentucky. They have a different type of mix of amenities within their venue. They also have a reference library and shopping complex within the same area. This provides visitors with a couple of more things to do while visiting.

Keeneland is big on their broadcasting that they put online. This provides spectators with a chance to see right from their own homes. You can also get tickets from the web site. You can enjoy your time at the races whenever you want with special events throughout the year.

You can also plan an event at the race tracks through the use of their event rooms. Enjoy the races, gather together and get more out of the time you spend in Kentucky. Keeneland’s regarded as one of the best places to spend a weekend away from home, as well as enjoy a little fun.

4201 Versailles Rd, Lexington, KY 40510 – (859) 254-3412

3 – Turfway Park

Turfway Park

With many events held at the race tracks throughout the year, you can come out and enjoy a themed event. Or you can see the races. See live races happen right from the desktop of your computer. This provides you with an experience that you’re sure to love. Located 10 miles south of the Ohio River, there’s plenty in the area for visitors to enjoy.

Learn more about the race schedule, horsemen, and horses that are racing in each of the races online. Their web site provides more information, as well as a way to buy your tickets. You can contact the raceway for further clarification. Club Turfway is a great way to receive promotions and offers through the venue. Join so that you can enjoy discounts during each visit. Speak with the front desk upon your visit about details of how you can become a member of this exclusive club.

Casual dining, as well as a full bar are right on the site. Enjoy a meal or two and delicious cocktails served during races and throughout the day. They don’t provide accommodations inside the raceway. But they work with hotels in the area. for visitors to plan their visits.

7500 Turfway Rd, Florence, KY 41042 – (859) 371-0200

4 – Ellis Park

Ellis Park Horse Park

Racing thoroughbred horses for years, this track provides excitement for one and all. Stay and play in this one racetrack that has it all. They offer many different opportunities to win cash. You can spend a whole weekend watching races and playing both slots and table games. With a play area aimed towards adults, this can be an ideal vacation getaway.

They don’t provide a hotel or a resort within their race track. But they do offer recommended hotels for the area that welcome one and all. They offer live racing on the tracks and broadcasts on the internet. And special events happen throughout the month, so you can make sure to be a part of all the racing action.

With three different dining options you can enjoy your time while you eat. Banquets and catering are provided through the venue. This allows guests that want to bring a party to the area to enjoy all that the race track has to offer.

3300 US-41, Henderson, KY 42420 – (812) 425-1456

5 – The Red Mile

Red Mile Race

The Red Mile located in Lexington is a spectacle for visitors to enjoy throughout the year. With harness racing provided in the venue, you can expect to find a lot of exciting races to enjoy. What makes The Red Mile stand out from all others is that you can enjoy great events during your visits. Plus you can enjoy the horse racing. Live shows run throughout the year.

Buy tickets for the races, as well as the shows right online. Come play instant play games or go with placing your bets on some of the best horses that race around the tracks. You can see how large the purse gets as more people place their bets. You can also check the stats on each of the horses to make a more informed betting decision.

With four dining areas there’s plenty to enjoy while visiting for a horse race. You can also become a part of the club and enjoy the private clubhouse area. This represents many perks to those that are a part of it. Speak with the front desk about entry into the club to get more information on joining. Come out to see the races or visit one of the events and have a good time while in the area.

1200 Red Mile Rd, Lexington, KY 40504 – 859) 255-0752


Horse racing in Kentucky is exciting. It’s recommended that you visit the horse racing venues live to get the maxim that come with the tracks. With this in mind, you can then plan your stay with one of these venues open for horse racing throughout the year.

Check the venues online before booking a stay. This will help you plan everything. Also when getting a room, check out dining options and buy tickets for the races. Many famous horses come to race at these tracks, allowing you to take part in some of the best races in history. Many of the horses also live and get raised in the area, allowing you to meet and greet them when the time comes.
Many of the venues provide clubs and other offers throughout the year.

So it’s important to look into these if you’re an avid horse race fan. When you visit the races throughout the years, you can continue to save money and make use of many other offers. Enjoy more out of the races that you visit with a way to join a more private group of individuals.

Each track is different from the next. This is what makes horse racing venues exciting. You can have a full vacation planned with all that each of them provides to their visitors. Grab some friends and head to Kentucky for some of the best horse races, as well as casino games available.