“Wagner’s is Churchill Downs; Churchill Downs is
Wagner’s.” That sentiment, or something close to it,
is echoed by almost everyone who walks in the joint
— both regulars from the old school of horse racing
and first-timers there to join the club, if only for a day.
“It’s history is written all over the walls. You’ll find a
collage of past Derby winners along with famous figures
that graced the pharmacy’s fountain throughout the
What started out as a low-key meeting spot for
coffee and conversation among horsemen, was eventually “discovered” by the mainstream
media and now has been written about by everyone from the Los Angeles Times to Southern Living to local TV news crews. Wagner’s has also appeared in the major motion pictures, Elizabethtown, and Secretariat.
It’s become another stop for out-of-towners in the whirlwind of activity that is Derby Week, but through it all has
retained its unassuming, down-to-earth character.
Wagner’s opened in 1922 when Leo Wagner bought Hagen’s Pharmacy on the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Central Avenue, where he worked since he was 14. Threatened by the presence of another newly opened pharmacy on the block, Wagner looked for a
market to corner — finding it at Churchill Downs.
He let the horsemen buy their cigarettes and other weekly staples on credit and generated a friendship and loyalty that has lasted for three generations.
Wagner's continues to serve their diner patrons breakfast and lunch with a nostalgic gift shop. Our partner company Becker & Durski creates customized turf goods items such as jockey silks, saddle towels, blankets and blinkers. We also perform screen printing, sublimation and embroidery on retail items with personal logos. Contact us for more info!