Louisville architecture firm shares history behind iconic Twin Spires design

By Stephanie Smith, Building Kentucky

Luckett & Farley’s historic relationship with Churchill Downs includes many projects that enhance the experience of the horseracing industry, including the original Twin Spires designed in 1894. The Twin Spires continue to captivate race fans as the backdrop for the Kentucky Derby. Luckett & Farley is proud to share this storied history with Churchill Downs and the millions of people around the globe who cherish the Kentucky Derby every year.

Twin Spires’ Draftsman | 1894

Twin Spires Drawing | 1894

Other projects designed by Luckett & Farley at the historic track include the second paddock in 1902, the Jockey Club in 1906 and the modern-day replacement of some of these structures in the 2000s. The firm’s design expertise also made its mark on the famous Winner’s Circle in 1947 and 1973.

In 1985, Luckett & Farley’s engineering expertise improved tunnel accessibility to and from the track’s infield. This renovation extended three existing pedestrian and small vehicle tunnels while a new tunnel was created that was large enough to allow oversized emergency vehicles into the infield. Many racing fans, jockeys, horses and trainers enjoy the impact of this dramatic improvement.

In 1987, Luckett & Farley designed the paddock where thoroughbreds prepare for the most famous two minutes in sports. For more than 37 years, the paddock is where the public has watched vigilantly as these horses and jockeys prepare for the race of a lifetime.

Longfield Tunnel | 1985

In the 1990s, Luckett & Farley continued its relationship with Churchill Downs by embarking on a 10-year master plan for renovations and expansions including design services for a renovated Gate One, a grand new entrance to the facility. In addition to these projects, Luckett & Farley also designed a $3 million renovation and expansion to the Kentucky Derby Museum which adjoins Gate One.

During the 2000s, Luckett & Farley provided full architectural, planning and engineering design services for the $127 million replacement and renovation of the Clubhouse, grandstand and various spaces throughout the legendary racing facility. Phase one included the renovation of the Jockey’s Club (in the original Twin Spires area) and the addition of 66 Jockey’s Club Suites each with a capacity of 25 race fans. The first and second floors of the grandstand were also renovated. Phase two included the replacement of the Clubhouse, including upgraded box seats in the grandstand. The Clubhouse was completely modernized to include a new off-track betting facility, commercial kitchens, dining and conference space.

Luckett & Farley is proud of its historic partnership with Churchill Downs and the expertise provided throughout the past century-and-a-half. Every first Saturday in May, more than 150,000 fans attend Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby while millions watch from home. These spectators see and experience the wonder of Churchill Downs and its long-time partner, Luckett & Farley.

Aerial View of Updated Entrance | 2001

Entrance | 2001

Share This Article