Why are Horse Tracks Called Downs

Why are Horse Tracks Called Downs

Why are Horse Tracks Called Downs? Horse tracks are called downs because they were originally built on the downland of England during the 19th century. Before this time, horses raced on flat land or along roads. The first official horse race course was designed by Edward Smith Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby in 1780.

At that time, these courses were typically known as “downs”, referring to a rolling hills characteristic of the countryside near Epsom Downs in Surrey where it was located. Since then, many other courses have been developed and adopted the name of “down” due to its association with traditional English horse racing and its being representative of a typical terrain for such races .

Horse tracks are commonly referred to as ‘downs’ because of their long, sloping terrain. The term is derived from the old English word ‘dūn’, which translates to hill or mound. This refers to the fact that most horse racetracks have a downward slope in order for horses to gain speed and momentum when racing.

Downs also has a more literal meaning in this context; it’s used as slang for betting on horse races, especially when you’re placing bets at an off-track location such as an OTB (off-track betting) parlor.

Why are Horse Tracks Called Downs

Origins of the Rolling Downs

Origins of the Rolling Downs

The topography of early British horse racing is where the name “downs” first appeared. Numerous tracks were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries on the gently sloping hills or rolling downs surrounding cities like Epsom and Doncaster. This gave spectators a fantastic view and the horses a safer downhill run. The term “downs” became widely used as a colloquial shorthand for racecourses due to the association between these early courses and the surrounding down landscapes. The moniker persisted even after flat, more contemporary rails were installed. Calling a track “downs” conjures up ideas of the sport’s origins in the picturesque British countryside, much like the name “derby” conjures up images of famous races like Epsom. This antiquated racing jargon endures.

Why is a Horse Racetrack Called Downs?

Horse racing has been around for centuries, and so have the racetracks that house these events. A horse racetrack is often referred to as a Downs, but why? There are several theories on how this nickname was derived.

It could be that it comes from the fact that horses need to go down in order to race around a track, or because they are running downhill while racing. Another explanation might be that it’s due to the location of some of the most historic racetracks like Epsom Downs and Doncaster being built on hillsides or even small mountains where horses had to run “down” them during races. Whatever its origin may be, this nickname has stuck with us throughout history and will likely remain for many more years!

Why are They Called Downs?

Downs Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by an extra chromosome in the 21st pair. It was first described by John Langdon Down in 1866, and thus it is commonly referred to as “Downs”. This condition affects physical growth and mental development of those who have it.

Characteristics can range from mild delays or learning disabilities to severe cognitive impairments or physical impairments. There are many complications that can arise due to this condition such as congenital heart defects, vision problems, hearing loss, low muscle tone and joint laxity; however with proper medical care these issues can be managed for a better quality of life for affected individuals. Downs Syndrome has no cure but early diagnosis allows parents time to prepare themselves for what lies ahead and organize the necessary support their child will need throughout their lifetime.

Why is It Called Churchill Downs?

Churchill Downs is an iconic horse-racing track located in Louisville, Kentucky. It has been home to some of the most famous races in American history, including the Kentucky Derby, held since 1875. But why exactly is it called Churchill Downs?

The answer goes back almost two centuries ago. The land that Churchill Downs currently sits on was purchased by Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., great grandson of explorer William Clark and a prominent figure in early racing circles, in 1883 with money he inherited from his father’s estate. At the time, the area was known as “the downs” because its high ground provided an ideal location for horse racing.

This name stuck when Col. Clark decided to develop a permanent racetrack on his newly acquired property and named it after John and Henry Churchill who were two brothers he had encountered while traveling through England many years prior and who had granted him permission to use their fields for horse training purposes during his visit there. Henceforth, this racetrack became known as “Churchill Downs” – a name that still stands today!

Why is It Called Kentucky Downs?

Kentucky Downs is a historic racetrack located in Franklin, Kentucky. The track has been around since 1990 and has grown to become one of the most popular horse racing destinations in the United States. But why is it called Kentucky Downs?

The name comes from the original owners of the property, who were members of a family that had lived on the land for generations. When they decided to use part of their farm as a racetrack, they chose to name it after their home state: Kentucky. As such, “Downs” was added to commemorate how much lower elevation than its surrounding areas this particular region was — an ideal spot for racing horses at full speed with minimal obstacles or interruptions!

As time passed and more people began visiting Kentucky Downs to witness (and even participate) in thrilling races, its reputation grew until it became what we know today: one of the top horse racing venues in America with over 80 years’ worth of history and tradition behind it!

Why are tracks called “downs?”


Overall, horse tracks are called “Downs” because of the way in which they were originally designed. The sloped terrain and downward direction of the track provided a more even surface for the horses to run on and made it easier for them to reach higher speeds. Additionally, by having a down slope, spectators would have better visibility of the race while maintaining safety from potential injury.

Today, Downs continues to be used as an alternate name for horse racing tracks due to its historical significance.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *