“The run for the roses” was first raced back in 1875 and is by far the greatest and most prestigious horse race in the world. The race is a grade I stakes race comprised of a field of 3-year-old thoroughbreds. The derby purse is approximately $2,000,000 which is comprised of the stakes or fees that the owners must pay to compete as well as an additional amount provided by Churchill Downs. The winner of the race takes home a cool $1,425,000 of the total purse with 4 top finishers splitting up the remaining purse. The Kentucky Derby constitutes the the first leg of the illustrious Triple Crown and has a rich and storied history. There is a long list of Kentucky Derby winners, with one, if not the most famous, being Secretariat who still holds the record for the fastest time around the track with an astounding time of 1:59.40
“The two most exciting minutes in sports” as it’s become known as for its approximate time length, has many colorful traditions making it unique in American sports and all of horseracing. The Kentucky Derby is essentially an all day party that ends with a horse race. Everyone is splendidly dressed with men wearing suits, women in designer dresses and elaborate hats known as “Derby Hats”, the crowd sips on mint juleps (the official beverage of the race) and everyone partakes in the singing of "My Old Kentucky Home" as the horses leave the paddock and parade in-front of the Churchill Downs grandstand in preparation for the start of the race. The TicketCity Kentucky Derby event guide provides detail on parking, etiquette, attire and other attractions in the area. Score with TicketCity - the place to go for Kentucky Derby tickets.
2016 Kentucky Derby Preview
The 2016 Kentucky Derby is set to hit Churchill Downs on Saturday May 7th, 2016 and will be the 142nd Run for the Roses. New at the 2016 Kentucky Derby, is the new starting gate lounge, which offers fans at Churchill Downs, views of both the iconic Twin Spires, and the racetrack, while positioned directly along the homestretch. The Starting Gate Lounge is just one of the many luxury seating options available at Churchill Downs for the 2016 Kentucky Derby. As always, the Kentucky Derby will feature a field of the top thoroughbred horses in the world, as they vie for a chance to win the Triple Crown of Horse racing. One of the favorites to bring home the 2016 Run For the Roses, will be Mor Spirit, who has an impressive progeny, which includes Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. Other top contenders for the 2016 Kentucky Derby include Gun Runner, Nyquist, and Danzing Candy. There is nothing quite like seeing the Kentucky Derby live, and the 142 Run for the Roses will have Churchill Downs packed and brimming with excitement.
Check out our Kentucky Derby Preview History page for previews of previous Kentucky Derby races.
The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Address: 700 Central Ave. Louisville, Kentucky, 40208
Churchill Downs is located in south Louisville west of Churchill park at interstate 65. Churchill Downs usually seats 50,000 however, crowds during the derby sometimes exceed 150,000 as additional seating areas are opened to accommodate the event. New to the event in 2014 is a new high-definition screen which will sit on the backstretch the outside of the track and face the grandstand and infield. Officials claim it will be the largest high-definition video screen ever constructed.
Infield General Admission
The area provides a fun large-party atmosphere and is an inexpensive way to attend the event but not the best views of the race. The Infield Club provide access to a VIP lounge area that features cocktail service, half-price menu items, large screen TV’s and monitors at each table along with private betting window and executive bathrooms.
Comprised of sections 121-128 (Grandstand Terrance), 221-228 (Grandstand Mezzanine), and 322-325 (3rd Floor Grandstand) and are divided into three levels. The Grandstand Terrance level is closest to the track. The better seats in these sections are closer to the finish line and are the lower number sections (119, 221, 322).
The Clubhouse Levels
Comprised of sections 110-117, 120 (1st Floor Clubhouse) 212, 218, 220 (2nd Floor Clubhouse) and 312-321 (3rd Floor Clubhouse). The Kentucky Derby Clubhouse level tickets are a great place to sit close to the finish line. 1st Floor Clubhouse tickets get you seats that are so close enough to the track to feel the ground as the horses run by. Tickets to section 120 grant you access to the 3rd Floor Clubhouse. 3rd Floor Clubhouse Level tickets provide great views of the entire track and are among the best seats at Churchill Downs. Some 3rd floor clubhouse seats are fully covered, including rows D and higher. Rows A-B are not covered, while row C is partially covered. The sections closest to the finish line are 116,117,118, 218, 316, 317 and 318. Our pick for the best seats at the Kentucky Derby here are in section 316.
Kentucky Derby Suites
There is a large selection of suites at Churchill downs, TicketCity offers tickets and can help ensure you have ultimate Kentucky Derby experience. We offer tickets for the Jockey Club Suites, 5th Floor Finish Line Suites, Interior Premium Boxes and the Matt Winn Room (reserved tables). Suites can fit about 24 people and come with full catering, private wagering and balconies that provide a perfect view of the action.
Millionaires Row & Skye Terrace
Millionaires Row (4th Floor & 6th Floor) provide a luxurious and celebrity-filled Kentucky Derby experience. A table here provides a great vantage point to watch the races via personal monitors or from the 4 tiered balcony. The Skye Terrance is adjacent to Millionaires row and offers the same amenities but a more traditional experience.
Kentucky Derby Event Guide
What time do the gates at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby?
Churchill Downs open at 8am EST for the day. The post time for the first race at 10:30a EST.
Is there a dress code at Churchill Downs?
There are some restrictions in a few areas. Sneakers, athletic apparel, denim/jeans or shorts are not permitted in the Trophy Room, Turf Club, Finish Line Suites, Jocky Club Suites, Aristides Room, Stakes Room, Turf Suites, Section 111 Trophy Suites, Trackside Village or in Millionaires Row. Additionally, worn/torn/frayed garments, collarless shirts, tank tops and bare midriff are never allowed in any reserved seating areas. The infield areas are much more casual with jeans, shorts, t-shirts, polo shirts and casual dresses all being acceptable.
How can I buy cheap Kentucky Derby tickets?
TicketCity offers a huge selection of Kentucky Derby tickets that include some of the lowest price tickets on the market. Kentucky Derby ticket prices fluctuate based on the demand. When there are well-known horses in the race or horses expected to compete for the triple crown, prices will increase. The opposite might occur if there are not as many popular horses participating in the race, give the chance to get cheap Derby tickets.