Derby Weekend
May 2, 2007 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Going to the Kentucky Derby this weekend, any tips, suggestions, warnings, etcetera?

I've never been before, I'm pretty excited to be going as I've heard it's a great time. I'll be in the infield; I don't think the high-society folks would accept me...

Can anyone who's been before give me some advice before I go? I see that alcohol is prohibited, but I can't imagine that is a much-followed rule. How tight is the security? What's the best way to get around it? I don't really have any more specific questions as I've never been, but I'd appreciate advice from anyone who has!
posted by jckll to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
The Queen of England is going to be there.
posted by ND¢ at 6:55 PM on May 2, 2007

I haven't been, but I live here within a couple of miles of the track. I leave town.

But based on what I see and hear every year: sunscreen. Cool, comfortable clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. Bring something to sit on, even just a blanket, if it's still allowed. Maybe water, if you can, but check on that. Alcohol that you bring in is prohibited and security will search your bags, etc., carefully to find it. You can buy alcohol once you're in, for a much higher price.

Driving to the track is probably not an option. You might park and take a bus, or park very far away and walk with the crowd. Oh, and you may not see any horses or know that there's a race at all, but then, that's not what the infield's for.

Mord if I think of it....
posted by dilettante at 6:57 PM on May 2, 2007

More, damn it.
posted by dilettante at 6:57 PM on May 2, 2007

Mint Juleps. Pretty Hat. And a ten-dollar bet on Reporting for Duty, currently at 100 to 1. Win one for the Gipper.
posted by phaedon at 7:03 PM on May 2, 2007

Read this.
posted by phrontist at 7:19 PM on May 2, 2007

watch for pickpockets.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:56 PM on May 2, 2007

At least both times I was there (5+ years ago), the infield was just a huge field party, complete with smuggled booze and occasional nudity. More like Nascar than Queen of England. It was a LOT of fun, but I have no desire to go again.

I didn't see a horse the entire time I was there (from what I remember, anway). We brought big Coleman coolers on wheels filled with non-alcoholic beverages and food, although I don't know if that is still allowed. We snuck in booze by duct taping pints of whiskey to our upper thighs--security was pretty good, but not that good. Be amazed by the huge piles of confiscated booze.

Don't take anything that you don't want to haul around with you all day. Do bring sunscreen, a blanket to sit on and water. Don't wear sandals. Get there early if you can, that way you can set up base camp before it gets too crowded. Have fun. Talking about it again almost makes me wish I was going.
posted by jtfowl0 at 8:14 PM on May 2, 2007

Here you go.
posted by jtfowl0 at 8:17 PM on May 2, 2007

I live in walking distance and have been to the infield twice. If I had to drive, I'd park 2 miles away by UofL and just get a ride in the back of a pickup, they're are plenty of people that will drive you there and back for a few bucks.

Mint juleps are gross, and the locals know it. They're ok if you make them at home with fresh mint, but I'd avoid the hell out of the pre mixed Early Times ones they sell there. You do get a souviner glass, but you can also buy those at any drugstore for $2 and not have to carry it around all day. The mixed drinks there are the weakest in town, you get exactly one once of liquor plus your mixer, I'd drink beer.

I have know idea why people say they've never seen a horse, I've gotten pretty close to the finish line both times I've been for the last race, and watched them win. Just go find a good spot near the fence about ten minutes early and stand there. And the earlier races, you can definately see horses for those.

Do $2 or $5 bets on Excata (pick the first two in order). You usually win enough that it's fun, unlike a $2 bet to win which can bring in under a dollar sometimes. You can use a card at the ATM style betting windows, which is a little more relaxed.

You can walk through the tunnel under the track to where they show off the horses before the races, and mingle with the rich people in fancy hats. The bathrooms around there are nicer too, at the ones in the infield you have to pee in a troft.

Don't expect anything too crazy, it used to be more of a Mardi Gras party in the infield, but they've tried to tone it down.
posted by andrewzipp at 7:11 AM on May 3, 2007

Bring a poncho or raincoat or even a big garbage bag. It's raining today with a very good chance of rain tomorrow, and no umbrellas are allowed at the track. Here's the track's info for visitors page which lists what you can and can't take in.

Have fun!
posted by acorncup at 7:58 AM on May 4, 2007

« Older Israel travel tips please...   |   Wrongful Termination question Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.