How to Make Your Kentucky Derby Experience Memorable

Attending one of the horse races in the Triple Crown Series is probably on the bucket list of foreign horse racing fans. The Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the series, is dubbed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” because the race is literally finished in two minutes.

Over 150,000 attendees dress up in flamboyant hats and pastel outfits to bet and witness the races at Churchill Downs and to savour the famous Kentucky Derby mint juleps.  If it’s your first time attending this event, you might as well learn how to get the best experience in the annual race.

1. Plan Your Outfit

In the Turf Club, Trophy Room, Millionaires Row, and other seating sections, including the Grand Stand, casual attire is permitted. Vests, shirts with collars, sweaters, skirts, pantsuits, dress jeans and trousers, golf shorts, dress shorts, and capris are typical attires in the event.

Moreover, Derby Day should be for long and short spring dresses, suits, leather boots or shoes, and heels. For the outfit colours, avoid wearing all black, gloomy fall/winter colours, and neutral colours. In picking your colour, look for spring florals and pastels. When making your final pick, go for striking patterns and fabrics.

According to the Derby folks, wearing a hat to the race is good luck. The Kentucky Derby attire is said to be incomplete without a stylish hat. Women founded this early fashion of wearing hats, but many males have followed the trend today.

2. Bring Extra Pair of Shoes

Women usually wear heels and sandals to the Kentucky Derby. However, you’ll be on your feet in a muddy infield for some moments; that’s why bringing an extra pair of shoes is essential.

On Derby Day, a pair of stylish summer sandals are a stylish option. However, although the Derby race will take only a few minutes, the day will be long for the spectators, so make sure you’re dressed comfortably.

3. Learn the Seating Arrangement

Millionaire’s Row, the Turf Club, and the Turf Terrace are the three areas to go for high-end seating. Food and refreshments are available. Moreover, servers, balconies, terraces, and breathtaking views of the races are offered too. Most celebrities and prominent personalities are in these places.

There are also box seats with six folding chairs per box. If you’re planning to buy seats in this section, make sure you reserve the same box with your friends and family so you can be comfortable if you want to disarrange the seats.

If you have a Clubhouse ticket, a wristband will be issued to you to access the Third Floor Clubhouse. You also have access to the Second and First Floors of the Clubhouse and the Grandstand, if you wish to visit someone or enjoy the scenery. At Churchill, guests can always move down.  However, you will not be able to move up above your assigned floor unless you have the authorization.

4. Bet at the Derby

Betting live is an enjoyable part of attending a horse race like the Kentucky Derby. Spending a few bucks for enjoyment is worth it if you are doing it responsibly. The 2022 derby contenders rankings are already unveiled so might as well plan your bets as early as now.

Of course, you have to learn the types of bets available in the Derby, especially if you’re a newbie. Below are the common bets you have to be familiar with.

Basic Bets

The best under this category are preferred starters since they are uncomplicated.

  • Win. When you pick a horse to win a race, you are betting on it to win.
  • Place. This type of bet refers to picking a horse that will finish first or second in the race.
  • Show. This type of bet refers to selecting a horse that will finish in the top three places.
  • Across the board. This refers to making three bets simultaneously (win, place, and show).

Exotic Bets

Exotic promises a hefty amount of payouts, but betting under this category can be difficult.

  • Exacta or Perfecta. This is when you pick the horses to finish first and second place in the correct order.
  • Quinella. This is similar to an exacta or perfecta bet; however, you don’t have to pick the exact sequence of which horse finishes first or second.
  • Trifecta. This type of bet allows you to choose the top three winners in exact order
  • Superfecta. This type of bet allows you to predict the first, second, third, and fourth place winners in order.

5. Try the Traditional Mint Julep

The Mint Julep has become the signature beverage of the Kentucky Derby. During the two-day Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack, about 120,000 Mint Juleps are served each year.

Attendees of the Kentucky Derby wouldn’t miss this refreshing drink in a hot summer; that’s why you should try it too. The Derby experience wouldn’t be complete without this signature drink.


The Kentucky Derby isn’t only an event about horse racing. It also features a tradition that endured for almost a century. The Run for the Roses is a remarkable event for those who appreciate both horseracing and tradition.

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