I traveled through Louisville, KY this year around New Years Eve. One stop we made was at Churchill Downs, which is the horse racing track where the famous Kentucky Derby is run every year. While three wasn't a race to watch that day because of our timing in winter, we decided to take a tour of the track. We opted for the 'Inside the Gates Walking Tour' which was only $11 a person and well worth the money. (I will note that this tour requires that you also purchase admission into the Kentucky Derby Museum, which I believe was $14.) The museum was well worth it as well. It had some fun interactive exhibits and was newly remodeled.
Our tour guide was awesome and extremely knowledgeable. The Inside the Gates Your allowed us to go inside the track and into places that you wouldn't be able to go normally, namely the different levels of seating. We went up to Millionaires Row where the wealthiest people sit on Derby Day. We saw where famous athletes sat in past races and got to even see the suite for the Queen. As a bonus, we got to go up to the company suite level and see those rooms as well.
This was my second time at the track (I went once as a child) and both times I had great tour guides. This was probably one of the most informative tours I have ever been on. There wasn't a question that could stump this guide! After this experience, I will be coming back for the Kentucky Derby and partying in the middle of the track.
Even if there isn't a race in town to watch live, you can go inside and bet on other races happening that day in real time. Churchill Downs is all about the experience!