Celebrating the Kentucky Derby in Phoenix and Scottsdale 2017

Kentucky Derby at Turf Paradise
Courtesy Turf Paradise

Every year the population of Louisville, Kentucky swells when the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival takes place each spring, culminating in the "Run for the Roses" on the first Saturday in May.

If you can't get to Churchill Downs for the big event, you can watch it on television or download an app to watch it on your tablet or smartphone. Honestly, though, does that seem right? Not to me. Why not get dressed up, put on your fanciest hat (for women) and your seersucker suit (for men) and attend a Kentucky Derby event right here in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area?

The date for the Kentucky Derby 2017 was Saturday, May 6. The race itself was scheduled to take place at 3:34 p.m. Arizona time.

The Kentucky Derby, Arizona Style

Turf Paradise
Turf Paradise in North Phoenix held a celebration for the Derby on May 6, 2017. In addition, to live local horse racing and the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby, there is live music, a kids' fun park, and free commemorative Derby glasses to the first 5,000 paid admissions. With Mint Juleps and big hats, the Turf Paradise Kentucky Derby Party is the only place in Arizona where you can watch and wager on the Derby while enjoying local, live horse racing at the same time. 

Thousands of fans are expected to attend at Turf. A Kentucky Derby party wouldn't be complete without an over-the-top hat contest. Grandstand Admission was $5. For those wanting to kick it up a notch, there are all-day buffets in the air-conditioned comfort of Turf's Directors' Suite, Turf Club, and Club House. Prices started at $55 per person. Gates opened at 7:15 a.m. Live races started at 11:30 a.m. and they continued until about 5 p.m. Grandstand seating is first-come-first-served. More about Turf Paradise.

The Stella Artois Derby DayClub 

The Derby DayClub opened at 10:30 a.m. on May 6, 2017, at Turf Paradise. The Kentucky Derby itself was broadcasted live at the track and in the DayClub at 3:24 p.m. General Admission DayClub tickets started at $25 or reserve your spot inside the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label VIP Lounge, $100 in advance or $110 at the door, which includes complimentary food and cocktails. Individual reserved seats are available for an additional $25/seat. Or, sit track-side inside the air-conditioned Stella Artois Derby DayClub where you can watch all the finish line action, track-side betting terminals, and a no-host bar including Mint Juleps, beer, wine and cocktails, DJ and 65” TVs to watch the Kentucky Derby. Both ticketing options also provided access to the Hefeweizen Beer Garden.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. the Scottsdale Princess hosted the annual Kentucky Derby Party. People donned their fanciest hats, sharpest suits and, of course, finest dancing shoes. The year's biggest "see and be seen" is at Bourbon Steak. Spectators experienced the “fastest two minutes in sports” and watched their favorite silks during the 143rd Run for the Roses on Bourbon Steak’s plasma screens both indoors and out. $109 + tax and service charge per person includes a classic lunch menu infused with Southern flair by Chef Jeremy McMillan, featuring Kentucky Derby hot browns, Benedictine dip, pickled shrimp toasts, sweet tea brined fried chicken, Derby, and Chess pie, and red velvet cupcakes. Live music, Bulleit bourbon tastings, a photo booth, lawn games, prizes for both men and women in a Derby hat and fashion contest. Reservations suggested, 480-585-2694.

Padre Murphy’s
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, valley residents, off-track betters and Derby Day fashionistas interested in taking part in equestrian history celebrated the 143rd Kentucky Derby at Padre Murphy’s in Glendale. Doors opened at 8:30 a.m. Beginning with breakfast (served until 11:30 a.m.), the festivities included a variety of drink specials (think mint juleps and mimosas), off-track betting, a live telecast of the Kentucky Derby (airing from 11:30 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. MST) on 90+ TVs and a Derby Day hat contest at 2 p.m. The winner received a $100 happy hour at Padre Murphy’s, second place will receive a $50 gift card to Gaston Jewelry, and third place will receive a dozen red roses.

Thirsty Lion Pub at Scottsdale Fashion Square

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. patrons walked the red carpet, get got their photo taken in the best hats, and watched their favorite horse run for the roses. Sponsored by Tito's and D Betty Vodka, the event included a palm reader, caricature artist, best hat contest, auction and more. Ticket prices included access to the private event and food buffet. Proceeds supported ActivStars, a nonprofit that helps children participate in extracurricular fitness programs. $75 in advance and $90 at the door.

Second Story Liquor Bar 
Come to Scottsdale for the annual Kentucky Derby Celebration: Bourbon & Bubbles on Saturday, May 6, 2017, from noon until the race ends. Enjoy an upscale Kentucky Derby party for only 44 people hosted in a speakeasy chic lounge. All tickets include a welcome cocktail, passed and shared derby inspired appetizers. Mint Juleps & classic pendennis club cocktails will be served in fashion. $50 GA Patio includes food and one welcome cocktail, seating is first come first serve, inside seating not guaranteed. $100 VIP includes food, bottomless juleps and pendennis club cocktail, and all food and private table. Drinks may not be shared. Inside seating guaranteed. 21+ only.

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