Churchill Downs Incorporated announced Thursday that Churchill Downs Racetrack will be celebrating its upcoming 150 Kentucky Derby “by highlighting the rich history of the iconic race” at the five-day Royal Ascot race meet that concludes Saturday. The 150 Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2024.
For the first time at Ascot Racecourse, racing enthusiasts have been able to experience the traditions of the Kentucky Derby through an experiential activation in the Queen Anne Enclosure. Guests were able to enjoy signature Mint Juleps, witness the Kentucky Derby trophy on display, and photograph themselves among a rose-filled backdrop.
“We are thrilled to highlight the Kentucky Derby internationally at Royal Ascot,” said Casey Ramage, Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships at Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Our storied history was inspired by English horse racing, so to begin celebrating our 150 anniversary at Ascot Racecourse is a meaningful honor.”
The Kentucky Derby’s history began in 1872 when Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark of the famed pair Lewis and Clark, attended the Epsom Derby in England. Inspired by his experiences, Clark returned determined to create a similar horse racing event in the United States. On May 17, 1875, the Louisville Jockey Club – now known as Churchill Downs – hosted the first Kentucky Derby with 15 horses, including winner Aristides, and more than 10,000 spectators.
Today, the Kentucky Derby is the longest continually-run annual sporting event in the United States enduring pivotal moments in history from World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, and global pandemics, notes CDI.