“ “Churchill Downs relies strongly on the experience and expertise of our law enforcement and public safety partners, and they endorsed these changes in our Kentucky Derby and Oaks security procedures,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Our reassessment of security procedures was prompted by Monday’s tragedy in Boston, and it has led to a strengthening of safety practices that we hope will ease any concerns Derby and Oaks fans might have following this week’s events.
While large numbers of our Churchill Downs team and our law enforcement and public safety partners will be working around and throughout our grounds, fans can play a role in ensuring that the Kentucky Derby and Oaks are enjoyable and safe events. If any patron sees an activity or behavior that seems unusual or suspicious, we hope they will report it to members of our guest service and security teams and allow us to check it out. We want fans to have a wonderful and unforgettable Oaks and Derby Days, but we hope they will remember these words: ‘If you see something, say something.’”
Churchill Downs overhauled its security policies and procedures prior to the 2002 renewals of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks. That effort was a response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and most of the changes implemented then remain in place today. A small number of policies had been relaxed in recent years, but the 2013 adjustments reinstate most of those. For instance, coolers were allowed in the infield in 2009 following a 2002-08 ban, but now are back on the “don’t” portion of the Derby and Oaks “Dos and Don’ts” list.
As they have since 2002, Churchill Downs officials urge patrons to arrive early on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Days to accommodate search procedures. Admission gates will open at 8 a.m. (all times Eastern) on both days, with post time for each day’s first race scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
The list of items that will not be permitted for carry-in on Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Day includes (with changes and adjustments from 2012 in ALL CAPS):
- COOLERS (Styrofoam coolers and ice available at infield purchase points at prices comparable to those at off-track retailers);
- CANS, glass bottles or containers;
- CAMERAS WITH DETACHABLE LENSES
- CAMERAS WITH LENSES MORE THAN SIX INCHES IN LENGTH;
- PURSES LARGER THAN 12 INCHES IN ANY DIMENSION;
- Pop up and patron tents, no poles or stakes of any kind;
- Alcoholic beverages;
- Luggage (includes briefcases);
- Duffel bags;
- Weapons (including knives).
- NOISEMAKERS AND AIR HORNS;
- LASER LIGHTS AND POINTERS;
- MACE, PEPPER SPRAY OR OTHER PERSONAL DEFENSE SPRAYS.