Today in History: Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby, racehorses racing to the finish line in the first race, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
Today in History–May 17–the Library of Congress features the Kentucky Derby, first run on this day in 1875. The oldest thoroughbred horse race in the United States, this famous event held at Churchill Downs in Kentucky was begun by Meriwether Lewis Clark, child of William Clark who named his son after his exploration partner Meriwether Lewis. Learn more about the race and and the state of Kentucky by visiting the Today in History section, then follow the links below to access more primary source treasures.

Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby images

Newspaper article describing first Kentucky Derby Nashville Union and American, May 19, 1875

More Kentucky Derby historical newspaper coverage

History of the Kentucky Derby, 1875-1921 (book, 1921)

Kentucky Derby legislation

Kentucky State Spotlight

Curated collection of KY state primary sources