How Long Is Kentucky Speedway? [Ultimate Guide!]

Kentucky Speedway is one of the largest horse racing venues in the United States. More than 150,000 people attend the track each year. If you are planning on visiting or live in Louisville, KY, this page will tell you everything you need to know about the track, including dates and times of the next horse races, how to get a ticket, and more.


The track is located in Shelbyville, about an hour away from Louisville. The property is actually a 1,000-acre horse racing facility that was built in 1927. Since the track is located in a rural area, many people get their start in life here. The racing industry has provided generations of families with strong financial backgrounds, and some of the well-known names behind the scenes include John M. Belk and his son Nelson.

The racetrack is surrounded by farms and horse breeding facilities. This combination of horse farms and a major league sports venue is truly unique. It’s no wonder many people consider it the “Versace of racing venues”.


The history of KY Speedway is closely tied to that of the Louisville Motor Speedway, which was built a few miles away on the same property in 1938. The Louisville racetrack was the first of its kind in the United States, and it quickly gained popularity, hosting a variety of car racing and motorcycle racing events until the early 1960s. It was the first superspeedway, which was then rebuilt into one of the largest in the country.

The racetrack was closed in 1966 due to a decline in popularity, and it sat idle for more than 30 years. The Kentucky legislature purchased the property in 1988 to save it from being torn down, and since then, it has been restored to its former glory. The track now hosts a variety of car and motorcycle racing events.


With its wide open spaces, rough terrain, and spacious stands, the track is a bit of a hiker’s paradise. The 1,000 acres of rolling hills are covered in bluegrass interspersed with pine and oak trees. The track was designed by famed architect Albert Kahn, who also designed the famous Buell Building in downtown Louisville. The asphalt ribbon is a half-mile long with a few turns and several flat spots. There are 17 grandstands, 12 of which are equipped with both wooden seats and plastic seating. The track also features an electronic billboard that shows live racing times, race results, and more.


Each year, more than 150,000 people flock to the track to watch the horses run. The large audience and high profile of the races make this one of the most popular horse racing venues in the country. In 2018, the track was ranked number 38 on Travel + Leisure’s list of top sports stadiums. It is also one of the most photographed sports venues in the world, due largely to its distinctive look.

Naming Rights

The track has had several corporate sponsors, including the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, the Procter & Gamble Company, and the Eli Lilly and Company. Thanks to these sponsorships, the track has been commonly known as the “Owens-Lilly New Year’s Day Classic” and the “Eli Lilly Indy 500.” However, the names of the races have changed multiple times over the years. For example, the “Owens-Lilly New Year’s Day Classic” was later renamed the “Carfax Championship,” and it still uses the name “Carrera” for its premier purse.

Horse Races

The Kentucky Derby is held at the end of May each year, when the racetrack hosts the “First Saturday in May.” The three-day event is the pinnacle of horse racing in the U.S. and features the country’s greatest racehorses. The annual Derby Cup is a “Grade I stakes” race that is open to three-year-olds and up, and it’s considered one of the great American classics. At the end of August, the track hosts the “Heroes and Horses,” another highly regarded and historic horse race that is open to aged steeplechasers.

Each Saturday in May and August, the track hosts the Pegasus World Championship, an international horse race that features the country’s greatest thoroughbreds. In 2018, the $2 million race will be held on May 18, and it will be broadcast live on the Sports Channel.

Other Events

Aside from the horse races, the track also hosts a variety of other sporting events, including the “Louisville Slugger Youth Baseball Camp” and the “Lilly Student Athlete Challenge.” In the past, it has hosted ice hockey matches and a “Bantam Grand Prix” auto racing event. The track has also hosted professional wrestling events, including the “Louisville Championship Wrestling” matches and the “World Wrestling Council” championship match. In 2010, the wrestling matches were broadcast on the MSG Network.

In recent years, the track has begun offering corporate hospitality, including exclusive seating, a party barn, and food and drink sponsorships. Some of the top brands that have sponsored the track include Bridgestone, DHL, FedEx, General Electric, and Mars Candy. The track also has a variety of partnerships, including the “Louisville Derby Festival” and the University of Louisville.

Getting There

The closest major airport to the racing venue is Louisville International Airport. It’s about a 45-minute drive from the airport to the track. The drive is scenic and takes you through Louisville’s famous “Shopping District,” where you will see brick-and-mortar stores and billboards plastered with luxury goods, from Hermès and Burberry to Louis Vuitton and Gucci. The drive is beautiful and definitely worth the trip, but there is no direct route. You will have to take the Ohio River Road, which passes by many of the city’s most famous attractions, including the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center. The airport is situated just south of the city, so from the air, you will have a magnificent view of the urban sprawl and endless rolling hills that are the trademark of Kentucky.

Restaurants And Bars

While in Louisville, make sure to visit the standing testament to American innovation, the Kentucky Bourbon Country Distillery, which was built in 1922 and is the largest producer of whiskey in the world. You can get a complimentary tour of the distillery, which is open to the public. The last tour begins at 5:00 p.m., so you may have to call ahead to make sure that they will have someone available to give you a tour.

After your tour, you can take a drink at one of the many bars nearby. When you’re in town, the local bars and restaurants are sure to give you an authentic Kentucky experience.

To learn more about Kentucky Speedway, visit their website or Facebook page. You can also follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

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