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Kentucky Derby
Louisville, KY



Trip Length:

4 days, May 1-4, 2019


Call us toll-free at 1-866-343-6133

Kentucky Derby FAQs

Q: Is there a weather plan?
A: The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are run rain or shine. The only thing that would delay the races is lightning.

Q: What time do the gates open at Churchill Downs on race days?
A: Gates open at 8 a.m. The parking lot opens at 6 a.m. both Friday and Saturday. Shuttle service begins at 9 a.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday.

Q: Is there a dress code?
A: In some reserved areas of Churchill Downs there is a dress code. It is important to note that, in the majority of the seating areas, you do not have to be dressed to the nines to be admitted into the races. Here are some great guidelines for achieving the perfect Derby look.

Business casual is required for The Derby Room:

  • Jackets and Blazers
  • Vests, collared shirts and sweaters
  • Dresses
  • Pantsuits
  • Slacks

Casual Attire is permitted in the Turf Club, Trophy Room and Millionaires Row:

  • Jackets optional, Blazers
  • Vests, collared shirts and sweaters
  • Dresses, Pantsuits
  • Slacks, golf shorts, dress shorts, khakis and capris
  • Denim, jeans, shorts and tennis shoes are not allowed.
  • Torn or frayed clothing is inappropriate and not allowed.
  • Casual Attire is permitted in all other seating areas, including the Grandstand


Top Things to Bring

For newcomers, a good list of things to bring is always helpful.

  • A pair of flats or flip flops in your purse, ladies.
  • A hat. Wear one no matter what. It’s part of the tradition and pageantry.
  • Cash for food, drink and wagering.
  • Sunscreen if it’s sunny, a sweater if it’s chilly and a poncho if it looks like rain.
  • Snacks or a boxed lunch, for when food lines get long. If you keep it in a bag or a container, make sure it’s clear and smaller than 18 inches-by-18 inches.
  • Your own bottled water or soft drinks in a sealed, clear, unopened bottle.
  • For the women, a cute clutch or handbag. Any bag larger than 12 inches in any dimension is not permitted.
  • Binoculars.
  • If you actually have a child with you, you can bring diaper bags or strollers, as long as you actually have a child with you.
  • Seat cushions smaller than 15 inches by 15 inches that do not contain metal arms or backs, zippers, pockets or flaps.
  • If you are headed to the infield, you can bring chairs to Gate 3 only and blankets or tarpaulins to Gates 1 and 3 only.


What to Know

Here are some helpful tips to help you make the most of your trip.

  • Pay to Park. At the end of the day, $50 to park will be worth it.
  • Bring more cash than you think you’ll spend.
  • Plan your bathroom visits.
  • For the ladies: if you bring high heels, make sure you bring sandals.
  • The event is called, “Derby.” The only time it is called, “The Derby” is if you’re speaking about the race itself.
  • While the horses may be in for a sprint, you’re there for a marathon. It’s an all-day event.
  • Limit yourself to one mint julep.
  • Make your bet on the Derby race as soon as you arrive.
  • Don’t be scared to bet.
  • Ladies: Wear a hat.
  • You can walk right up to the gate at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, pay $50, and you’re in. But complete experience packages are way more fun!