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Going to the Kentucky Derby...

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  • Going to the Kentucky Derby...

    I've always wanted to go and I've decided this year I'm doing it. I've wrangled a non-horsey friend into going and I would like some advice from anyone here who has gone to the Derby. Anything you have to say would be helpful. Like what to expect, best way to plan the trip on the cheap, how to have the most fun, where is a good hotel to stay at that's not too pricey? etc...

    I plan on getting infield tickets and am probably going to drive to Kentucky, it depends on price of plane tickets.

  • #2
    Anything goes in the infield. (I had really nice seats last time but I had never seen the infield so I went through the tunnel and left my pretty little world of sundresses and hats for the infield. I saw what I wanted to see and then went back through the tunnel.) Expect to have to walk alot so wear comfortable shoes.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by smilton View Post
      Anything goes in the infield. (I had really nice seats last time but I had never seen the infield so I went through the tunnel and left my pretty little world of sundresses and hats for the infield. I saw what I wanted to see and then went back through the tunnel.) Expect to have to walk alot so wear comfortable shoes.
      The hotel is going to be expensive enough, so infield tickets are all I can afford. But I understand that it's a lot of fun (giant party). I can't even see if tickets are available for the Derby for cheap seats. There's only the VERY expensive seats available. I did find seats for the Oaks.

      I definitely plan on wearing comfy shoes. I thought about doing the dress and hat thing, but I'm not sure if I can deal with that all day.

      Comment


      • #4
        I went in 1988, stayed at chain hotel in Cincinnati, and drove down the morning of the race — saved $300. Spent $20 to park in someone's yard — next to a Ferrari! — and walked a half-mile from the yard to the track. At the entrance, cops confiscated my and everyone else's liquor, which was deposited in the largest Dumpster I have ever seen.

        As for the race: I was in the infield, so I saw nothing, but had a GREAT TIME. Go ahead — wear a sundress, wear a hat, you'll make more friends that way! Be aware that anyone with a Jell-O mold probably made that Jell-O with bourbon, not water. If you plan on placing or cashing a bet, do so before 3 PM because the lines are brutal. BRING YOUR OWN TOILET PAPER.
        "Go on, Bill — this is no place for a pony."

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        • #5
          Oh, yes, shoes — plastic flippies or orthopedic sandals in the infield. A lot people seem to loose their shoes, incidentally.

          And don't wear white! The grass you see on TV is a mirage; it is DUSTY in there.
          "Go on, Bill — this is no place for a pony."

          Comment


          • #6
            From what I saw the infield looked like a blast and I planned on experiencing it this year but I got an offer I couldn't pass up. (Free great tickets, free place to stay, etc. (Rolex, Keeneland, Vegas, Oaks and Derby all in 10 days)) There are family reunions, drunk college students, naked people, families etc all in the infield. Wear something comfortable and appropriate for the weather. There isn't any shelter out there to hide under.

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            • #7
              If you are willing to drive a little and don't need 5 star accommodations, there are deals to be had. We are staying at Jellystone Park (Teehee!) near Mammoth Cave- private cabin with a queen sized bed, stove, fire pit and wireless internet for a week+ for less money than two nights would have cost us at a hotel near the track. It's not a short drive but we are willing to make it for the trade off in value. There is a shuttle available from three downtown locations as well, for 10-20 bucks. I remember parking in a yard for 20 bucks when I went with my father in 94; prices may have risen since then, so I think we are going to try the shuttle for the convenience of being delivered trackside. Let me grab my tickets and I can give you the shuttle info.
              bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
              free bar.ka and tidy rabbit

              Comment


              • #8
                When we went in '06, infield admission (at least Oaks day, had seats for the Derby) also got you access to the paddock/behind the grandstand. I would wander around there AND in the infield.

                You can't be overdressed, but you can most certainly be UNDERdressed, no matter how much or how little you pay to get in.

                Take a shuttle to the track, otherwise you'll be paying $10-20 to park in someone's yard and walk.

                WALK AROUND and people watch. It is just really cool to be there.
                It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by smilton View Post
                  I got an offer I couldn't pass up. (Free great tickets, free place to stay, etc. (Rolex, Keeneland, Vegas, Oaks and Derby all in 10 days)) .
                  Wow did you win a contest or something?

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I made the hotel reservations at a Days Inn that's probably not that nice but was pretty cheap. Check-in isn't till 3pm. The oaks is at 5:45 so I'm thinking that I might just check-in in the evening if I can't get an earlier check-in time.

                    I'm planning on driving up from Florida leaving either Thursday night and driving through the morning and grabbing a nap in the car before heading to the track or leaving early early early Friday morning and going straight to the track. Either way I'll probably end up checking in after the Oaks.

                    What is the traffic like? What is the crowd like. I'm really more interested in the Derby than the Oaks. What time is the best time to show up to Churchill Downs for both days? Does it matter if I show up at 4pm on Friday to catch the Oaks? Is the crowd the same for the Oaks and the Derby or is the Oaks more subdued?

                    Thanks for the advice. I am planning on definitely bringing comfy shoes, toilet paper, taking a shuttle or parking in a yard and placing my Derby bet before 3pm. Anything else I should know?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roxy SM View Post
                      Wow did you win a contest or something?
                      No, I just got in with the right people. This is my second trip to the Derby. Last time I got to meet the Jacksons and Matz after the race when Barbaro won.

                      Keeneland-Rolex-Vegas-Oaks/Ky Derby all in the span of 11 days. My divorce is finally so I am just having fun this year.

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