Kentucky Horse Racing, Sports Betting and Casinos

States > Kentucky


Kentucky has long stood as the mecca of Thoroughbred horse racing in the United States. As the sport developed towards its current state, Kentucky became the center of the Thoroughbred industry following World War II. The Blue Grass has maintained its standing as the focal point of sport for both Thoroughbred racing and breeding.

Antigambling sentiments were quite fervent in the early part of the 1900’s, but the state of Kentucky introduced pari-mutuel betting on the Kentucky Derby in 1908. The arrival of pari-mutuel wagering is credited with saving a dying industry by breathing life into the financial lifeline, which extended the sport outwards.

With the new monetary flow and historical prestige, the Kentucky Derby remained the most popular and illustrious event in American Thoroughbred racing. The Run for the Roses is conducted at Churchill Downs, which is esteemed as one of the most prestigious courses in the sport. Located in Louisville Kentucky, this track hosts many notable races, but prides it’s continual running of the Kentucky Derby since 1875. Churchill Downs has also hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships 8 times, and will do so for a 9th occasion in 2018.

Kentucky is also home to Keeneland, the largest Thoroughbred auction house in the world and a central anchor to bloodstock within the United States. Keeneland is home to the Ashland Stakes, Breeders’ Futurity, Blue Grass Stakes, First Lady Stakes, Jenny Wiley Stakes, the Makers’ 46 Mile, Shadwell Turf MIle and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. Keeneland hosted the 2015 Breeders’ Cup.

Ellis Park Racing, Turfway Park and Kentucky Downs are also Throgouhbred tracks located in Kentucky.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Thoroughbred Jockey Club, official registry of Thoroughbreds, and Breeders’ Cup are all based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Kentucky is unquestionably the biggest breeder of Thoroughbreds in the country. Claiborne Farms, Gainesway Farm, Lane’s End Farm, Calumet Farm, Ashford Stud, Juddmonte Farm, Taylor Made Farm, WinStar Farm, Elmendorf Farm, Darley Stud and Spendthrift Farms are among the most notable breeding operations in the state.

Churchill Downs | Ellis Park | Keeneland | Kentucky Downs | The Red Mile | Turfway Park |