An unlimited number of tickets for the Kentucky Derby infield are available to anyone who wants to get into Churchill Downs on the day of the Kentucky Derby (which always falls on the first Saturday in May).
Keep in mind when buying tickets that the infield has no seating and there are few places in the infield to see the race. However, the tens of thousands of horseracing fans, the joyful atmosphere, and the abundance of alcohol combine to make the Kentucky Derby infield the site of the biggest Kentucky Derby party in town.
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Kentucky Derby Infield Admission
Advance admission tickets to the Kentucky Derby Infield are available through Churchill Downs. Additionally, admission tickets can be purchased at the gate on the day of the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs does not limit the number of people that can be admitted to the infield on Derby day, so you don’t have to worry about tickets selling out.
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Parking in the Churchill Downs parking lot for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby is available only to individuals who purchased a reserved space in advance. Residents of the area around Churchill Downs will allow you to park in their yards or driveways, but many take the opportunity to make some money and charge a steep fee. The best way to get in and out of Churchill Downs on the day of the Kentucky Derby is to take a shuttle from Downtown Louisville, the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, or Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Keep in mind that there may be a fee for parking in addition to the cost for a round-trip shuttle ticket.
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What to Expect
On average, 80,000 people spend their Derby Saturday partying in the infield. So, be prepared to spend the day around a lot of people It is crowded, the ground is the only sitting area, and nearly everyone is drinking. Unless you are one of the first few hundred people to arrive in the infield, you’re not going to be able to get near the few infield spots where you can watch the races. Additionally, there are not really many covered areas where you can get out of the elements. While there will be a few families, most of the attendees are going to be rowdy locals and college students. The Kentucky Derby infield is, in essence, a party, and that’s the primary reason people attend.
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To Bring or Not To Bring
Visitors to the Kentucky Derby infield can bring cell phones, cameras, camcorders, chairs, food in clear plastic bags, purses, strollers, and blankets, though certain conditions apply. No drinks, weapons, umbrellas, or backpacks are allowed (More Information).Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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If you've gotten this far you'll probably fall into one of two categories. Either a huge, all day, crowded party sounds good, which means the infield is for you. Or, you are thinking it might be a bit much, especially if you can't see the track. If you fall into the later category, gather your friends and throw a Derby party of your own.
How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby
Note: Jessica Elliott's article was edited by a current expert. April, 2016.