Churchill Downs Releases Official Logos for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks 143

Jun 21, 2016 Churchill Downs Communications

Derby Logo Celebrates the Excitement of the Race and Beauty of the Thoroughbred

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, June 18, 2016) – Churchill Downs Racetrack today unveiled the official logos for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks 143. The logos were designed by SME, a New York-based marketing agency that has developed the official Derby and Oaks marks since 2007.  The running of the 143nd Longines Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands and will take place on May 5 and 6, 2017 respectively. 

For the Kentucky Derby 143 logo, Churchill Downs challenged SME to create a design that captured a single iconic moment from the most exciting two minutes in sports. Via a simple identity that features a horse and jockey charging from the starting gate, surrounded by a horseshoe retaining shape, the logo SME developed places the viewer squarely in one of the most exciting moments of the event. A refined yet masculine font for the words “Kentucky Derby” is paired with the icon to further represent the power and beauty of the thoroughbred. A color palette of sky and navy blue was applied to the logo to reinforce the overall look.

“For the 143 event logo, we explored several graphic paths to capture a moment in time and that special feeling people get when they attend the Kentucky Derby,” said Ed O’Hara, President and Chief Creative Officer at SME. “For this year’s mark, we feature a horse and jockey charging from the starting gate to capture not only that moment of pure anticipation, but also to celebrate the sheer beauty of the thoroughbred.”

The Kentucky Oaks 142 logo continues the horseshoe imagery established two years ago that features the stargazer lily and the number of years the race has been run. The use of pink in the design reflects the Oaks Day 'Pink Out' theme and Churchill Downs' continued commitment to drive national awareness of the importance of breast and ovarian health.

The logos will be used on a wide variety of Kentucky Derby and Oaks merchandise, including apparel for the whole family, glassware, jewelry and other collectibles and gift items. Women’s and men’s T-shirts featuring the logo are available now at Additional official merchandise will be available online, at Churchill Downs Racetrack, the Louisville International Airport, the Kentucky Derby Museum Gift Shop and other retail outlets over the summer.

About the Kentucky Derby

The $2 million Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.  Inaugurated in 1875, the legendary 1 1/4-mile race for three-year-olds is the oldest continuously held major sporting event in North America and the first leg of horse racing's challenging Triple Crown series. Also known as the 'The Run for the Roses,' 'The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports' and 'America's Race,' the Kentucky Derby is the most attended horserace in the nation, with more than 160,000 attendees in 2016. 

About the Kentucky Oaks

The $1 million Kentucky Oaks is the most important and lucrative race for three-year-old fillies and second most attended horse race in the country behind the Kentucky Derby.  The 1 1/8 mile race takes place on the day prior to the Kentucky Derby at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. 

About SME, Inc,

SME ( is a strategic branding agency, specializing in connecting with audiences through powerful identity development. Founded in 1989, SME enjoys a stellar worldwide reputation of creative excellence, thought leadership and client service. SME’s client list includes some of the leading brands in global sports including the Atlanta Braves, Carolina Hurricanes, Miami Marlins and many more. 

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