The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race known in the United States as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes” in sports or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate duration. With crowds over 150,000 people, the attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and passes the attendance for all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup. Every year, on the first Saturday in May, thousands of guests gather to create lifelong memories with their friends and family. We want your experience to be the best possible so we’ve brought together this how-to guide to aid in your ticket buying experience.
Where do you start?
Pre-register your email so that when the time comes, you can be invited to the exclusive online ticket sale where you can reserve your Kentucky Derby and Oaks tickets before they become available to the general public. If you miss this opportunity you can still purchase your tickets through the Kentucky Derby annual online sale. All tickets are sold as a two-day package for both Derby Day and Oaks Day.
You can purchase Individual One-time tickets, Multi-year tickets or group tickets in General Admission, Reserved Outdoor Seating or Outdoor Seating with Hospitality. (Keep in mind you have to have a Personal seat license or a Season Box or be a Turf Club member to buy multi-year tickets.) You are also able to purchase All-Inclusive Dining, Corporate Hospitality & Private Suites or Derby Experience Packages. For more information about specific tickets, you can go to the Kentucky Derby’s website.
If you missed out on buying tickets from both the exclusive sale and the annual online sale you can find tickets on sites like StubHub or SuperSeats who may have more ticket options than many other ticket resell sites.
Planning your stay
There are multiple factors to consider during your trip to the Kentucky Derby; where to stay, what to wear, and how to get there. Here, we will outline a few of these key points for you.
- Where to Stay: The Galt House Hotel is the official Host Hotel of Churchill Downs and they offer special hotel packages for your Kentucky Derby and Oaks visit. QuintEvents is a travel and hospitality provider for Churchill Downs where you can get packages that include exclusive access, accommodations, VIP party hospitality and more. Although, if you prefer other options there are multiple hotels around the area to consider as well.
- What to Wear: Like the Belmont Stakes, attire is a big portion of your experience at the Kentucky Derby. Although there are no specific rules when it comes to your clothes, what you want to wear will depend on where you are going to be spending your day. Women typically wear spring dresses, pastel- colored suits or bold separates to coordinate with their accessories (those classy hats) if they are in the reserved seating areas. (grandstand, clubhouse, suites, and corporate hospitality areas) Men, you can dress classy too! Collared shirts, neckties or bow ties, blazers, loafers, and (if you desire) fedora or bowler hats are a must to complete your Kentucky Derby look. It doesn’t matter what you wear, all that matters is how you wear it!
- How to get There: The racetrack is situated close to major interstates and highways and there are many ways to reach the track, some easier than others. Luckily, The Kentucky Derby has some directions ready for you. Take note that parking on site at Churchill Downs is sold in advance and is reserved. Off site parking is available withing walking distance from Churchill Downs. There will also be round-trip shuttle transportation from select locations in Louisville for you convenience.
- Security Policies: As you plan your trip be sure you review the list of prohibited items so you are well aware of what you are and aren’t allowed to bring to the race.
- Wagers: Make sure you sign up and fund your account beforehand so you are ready to go on Derby Day. That way, all you need to worry about is making your bets and enjoying the race! If you forget to cash in your tickets here is how you can get them cashed at a later time.
Besides the Kentucky Derby, there are many other experiences in Louisville for you to participate in, such as the Kentucky Derby Museum, Kentucky Derby Festival, and Derby Week events. The Kentucky Derby Festival spans across a month and boasts extravagant firework shows, concerts, marathons, hot-air-ballooning, Fillies Derby Ball and much, much more! The Derby Festival is one of the most popular entertainment attractions celebrated for the Kentucky Derby along with Derby Week. Opening Night of Derby Week starts off with live racing and entertainment followed by Dawn at the Downs, Thurby, Taste of Derby, Kentucky Oaks, and finally, The Kentucky Derby. There are many more events to see so be sure to check out out surrounding attractions in the area too!
All in all, we want you to have the best experience possible while buying your tickets and while you are at The Kentucky Derby itself. If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to contact us any time at email@example.com and we will assist you.