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The Dos and Don’ts of Attending the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby, also known as the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” is an annual event that takes place in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. Attending this iconic horse racing event is a unique and unforgettable experience, but there are certain dos and don’ts that every attendee should be aware of to ensure a successful and enjoyable day.


Plan ahead: The Kentucky Derby is a popular event, and tickets and accommodations can sell out quickly. Plan your trip well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Dress appropriately: The Kentucky Derby is a stylish event, and attendees are expected to dress in a manner that is appropriate for the occasion. For men, this typically means a suit or sport coat, while women often wear a sundress or a dressy outfit paired with a hat or fascinator.  It might be only 50 degrees that day or it might be 80 – so be prepared!

Wear comfortable shoes: The Kentucky Derby involves a lot of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes that you can wear for several hours without discomfort.  The experienced attendees will bring two sets of shoes – one for the walk-in and back out, and another fancy pair to show off the outfit.

Arrive early: The gates to Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held, open at 8:00 a.m. Arriving early will give you plenty of time to explore the grounds, find your seat, and settle in before the race begins.  Most people spend the morning having brunch or a late breakfast before heading to Churchill Downs.  Unless you are going to the infield, all seats are reserved, so no need to hurry.  If you are going to the infield, then you have to get there early to stake your claim.

Pace yourself: The Kentucky Derby is a long day, with many opportunities to indulge in food, drinks, and betting. Pace yourself and remember that the main event, the race itself, doesn’t start until 6:30 p.m.

Plan transportation in advance: Don’t leave your transportation to the last minute, plan your transport to and from the Derby for your group ahead of time to ensure you arrive on time and in style! Call Pegasus at 502-458-1862 or visit us online today to enquire about our Kentucky Derby Transportation options.


Don’t bring large bags or backpacks: Churchill Downs has strict security policies, and large bags or backpacks are not allowed. You can bring a small bag or clutch that is no larger than 6.5″ x 4.5″, but it will be subject to search.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen: The Kentucky Derby takes place in May, and the sun can be intense. Be sure to wear sunscreen and reapply throughout the day to avoid getting sunburned.

Don’t be rude: The Kentucky Derby is a festive event, but it’s important to be respectful of those around you. Don’t push or shove, be patient in lines, and remember that everyone is there to have a good time.

Don’t overindulge: The Kentucky Derby is known for its mint juleps and other cocktails, but it’s important to drink responsibly. Overindulging can quickly ruin your day and potentially harm your health and safety.

Don’t forget your ticket: It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to bring your ticket to the Kentucky Derby. Without it, you won’t be able to get in, and you’ll miss out on all the fun.

In summary, attending the Kentucky Derby is a unique and memorable experience, but it requires some planning and attention to etiquette. By following these dos and don’ts, you’ll be well on your way to a successful and enjoyable day at the races. Remember to dress appropriately, wear comfortable shoes, arrive early, pace yourself, and be respectful of those around you. Don’t bring large bags, forget sunscreen, be rude, overindulge, or forget your ticket. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a great time at the Kentucky Derby.

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