What to wear, what to pack:
If you’re going to the grandstands of the Derby, chances are, you’ve had your outfit/dress and hat picked out for weeks! While it’s important to look fabulous, remember comfort is also of utmost importance. Attention, women: If you choose to wear shoes based on looks rather than comfort- pack a pair of flip flops in your purse. You won’t be sorry!
The Infielders: Anything goes! You can wear your Sunday Best, or you can wear shorts and tees. You’ll see everything from the fanciest of fancy, to people wearing, well… nothing!
BEST BET: Sunscreen or a poncho (check the weather), plenty of cash (ATMs are available, but the lines are very long!), flip flops, blankets, camera to help you fill in the story details later, common sense and most importantly: patience.
How to get there:
Although there are thousands of spots at Churchill, there are over 100,000+ people in attendance. Residents with houses around Churchill Downs often allow/charge visitors for parking in their yards, so you may find premium parking there, but you’ll more than likely pay a premium price!
BEST BET: Park at the Fairgrounds and take a TARC! Parking is available at nearby Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, with busses shuttling people to and from Churchill as well.
Once you’re there:
Enjoy! Part of the Derby Experience is checking out all of the sights and events in Churchill Downs. Your Infield admission will also get you access to the Paddock & other areas in the grandstand. Be sure at some point to check out these areas as you not only will get to see some of the horses up close and personal, but you may also see a celebrity or two!
If you’re there to try your hand at betting on some horses, pick up your program and other racing info as you walk in and get yourself prepared! If you’re there just to have a good time… relax, you’re already in luck!
The actual Kentucky Derby race is the 10th one of the day. So, pick your horse out and make your bets as early as possible! You can bet on any race all day long. As it gets closer to time, the windows become longer and longer. So, if you know who your money’s on- do it early!
If you’re in the infield and you want to spend your time hanging out in a specific area, bring a blanket you wouldn’t care to lose or ruin and set up camp! There is plenty of room, so find a “home base” for you and your crew and remember it as a meeting point should anyone get lost. With 100,000 people- it’s easy to do!
Try a sip of a friend’s mint julep before you buy one. It’s an “acquired” taste with sugar, mint and whiskey- so it’s not for everybody! And, you can buy the glass later at most gas stations, Targets or local supermarkets.
BEST BET: Relax and have fun!
How to get out:
Traffic is to be expected in leaving Churchill Downs. Remember, the Derby race is # 10, but there are 11 races. With the extra race, visitors can stick around and wait out traffic… and maybe make some extra money as well!
BEST BET: If you haven’t already, here’s when you’ll need those comfy shoes as you walk back to your car or bus. Remember to be patient… your Derby adventure is almost over!
Also, new this year is “The Infield Club” admission. For a little more money, you can have an “upgraded” experience in the infield, with more of a sports bar feel with jumbotron tvs, upgraded bathrooms and private betting windows. For more info, visit: http://www.kentuckyderby.com/2009/tickets/infield-club
And, remember: Come back next year!
For more information, visit: http://www.kentuckyderby.com/2009/