Halloween is last chance to register for tickets to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks

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Remember when it was almost unheard of to get a reserved seat at the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks without having a connection? Those were the days of the ticket wait list, when fans submitted letters to Churchill Downs expressing an interest in purchasing tickets. There was the on-track ticket lottery, and fans camped out at the historic racetrack to wait for a number in the lottery draw for an opportunity to buy tickets. About 2,000 tickets were sold through this lottery method. 

In 2010, the ticket lottery was replaced with online ticket sales. In 2011, it was the pay-to-play online sale that required a non-refundable $50.00 fee a registration with no guarantee of getting a ticket; naturally this fee inspired a great deal of disgust and outcry from race fans. 

Last year the fee was gone, but pre-sale ticket registration continued and fans responded. About 19,000 seats were sold for last year’s two-day Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby package. The pre-sale ticket registration has returned this year, but time is running out to register. For the ability to purchase tickets for the 140th runnings of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, which will take place at Churchill Downs May 2 and 3, 2014, fans should register by midnight, October 31, 2013 at www.KentuckyDerby.com or www.ChurchillDowns.com. Click on the “2014 Ticket Request” button and follow the instructions.

Upon completion of the simple registration procedure, registered fans will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets when they go on sale. An email will be sent out in early November alerting registrants of the date and time tickets will be available for online purchase. Fans will then be given the opportunity to purchase the two-day ticket packages on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

“Our annual online sale of seating to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks grows in popularity each year and is a terrific way for all Kentucky Derby fans to purchase seats for these great entertainment and sports celebrations at Churchill Downs,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Each year, the number of requests for reserved seating vastly exceeds our available inventory. While there’s no guarantee that all patrons will be able to purchase seating, the online sale approach offers a level playing field for all who register for this ‘first-come, first-served’ opportunity to purchase Derby and Oaks tickets. 

“We hear each year from fans who had believed they would never be able to purchase Derby and Oaks tickets but were able to do so through this online sale. Registration is easy, and after that task is accomplished we urge all registrants to watch their email very carefully for specific information on the date and starting time of this year’s online sale of Derby and Oaks seating.”

The online sale includes box seats and individual seats in the first, second, and third floors of the Clubhouse and Grandstand, as well as dining packages in the Plaza Balcony, Section 110, and the new Grandstand Terrace.

Photo: J. Oswald