So apparently this weekend they are gonna run the Kentucky Derby, again, for like the 140th time. The signature event of the American horse racing calendar will be held, as it has since it opened in 1875, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
To commemorate the event, we feature this gem of a card we picked up recently at Big Don’s Collectibles in Strasburg, PA. The hand fan/postcard rolled into one features a full-bleed image of the grandstand that hugs the north and west sides of the 1-1/4 mile track. As the fan unfolds, the extent of Churchill Downs magically unfolds with it. The iconic towers designed by architect Joseph Dominic Baldez in 1895 anchor the frantic action on the track and in the stands. Between 2001 – 2005 Churchill Downs underwent a $121 million renovation which added 79 new luxury suites. The new suites dwarf the twin spires, as can be seen in the image below.
The distinguished horse track continues to evolve with attempts to provide an optimum viewing experience to all spectators, including the majority gathered in the infield, inside the oval track. From the infield seats it was famously difficult to actually see the race, but they receive an upgrade at this year’s Derby with the unveiling of a new 15,000 sq. ft. high-definition video board, larger than three basketball courts. The massive, flat screen sits opposite the grandstand and towers over the twin spires across the track. Joseph Dominic Baldez probably would not approve but it does the job and at least they haven’t topped the screen with twin spires. History has been good to Churchill Downs since it opened 135 years ago. One of sport’s great venues continues to evolve and modernize into its third century. Enjoy race day everyone and stay cool.
As always click on the images to see them in all their glory.