kentucky derby

About the Road to the Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs Racetrack officials announced Thursday that 34 races will be included in the 2013-14 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, including 16 significant events that comprise the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series” over the 10 weeks that precede the first Saturday in May.

The 140th running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) will be run Saturday, May 3, 2014, and for the second consecutive year, a tiered point system in select races will determine who qualifies to America's greatest race.

The total number of races in the series has been reduced by two. Two races have been added to and three others were removed from the “Prep Season” which includes foundation-building races over a minimum of one mile between September and mid-February. Additionally, one “Wild Card” race has been removed.

Your Trip to the Derby

A trip to Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby weekend can be an unforgettable experience! Here are some tips to help you plan your trip to the world's most legendary racetrack.

Gates Open / Post Times

Gates open early at 8am (ET) with post time for the first race at 10:30am (ET). Post time for the Kentucky Oaks is approximately 5:45pm (ET) . Post time for the Kentucky Derby is approximately 6:24pm (ET) .

Entering Churchill Downs

  • Be sure to review the list of items that are permitted and those that cannot be brought into the racing facility. Click here to review these lists.
  • General Admission guests can enter via any gate. Patrons wishing to spend the day in the infield should enter via Gate 1 or Gate 3.
  • Guests with reserved clubhouse seats enter at Gate 10 or Gate 17.
  • Guests with reserved grandstand seats – including bleacher seats – should enter the track at Gate 1.
  • Turf Suite patrons can catch a shuttle to their suite in the Longfield Parking Lot located inside Gate 10.

Please note: Gates 1 and 3 are the only gates where blankets and tarpaulins are permitted while any patrons bringing chairs must enter via Gate 3.

Will Call

There is NO WILL CALL on Kentucky Derby (May 4) or Kentucky Oaks (May 3) days at Churchill Downs.

Will Call for normal racing days at Churchill Downs is located at the two main clubhouse entrances, Gates 10 and 17. The Box Office is conveniently located at Gate 1, directly across from the Kentucky Derby Museum, located directly off Central Avenue. The Box office is available to purchase tickets for day of tickets and advance race dates. Box office will also serve as a will call during live race dates. The Box Office is open Wednesday - Sunday, 11 am to 2 pm. Night Racing Fridays the hours are 12 noon to 9 pm.

Apparel Recommendations

Oaks and Derby days are a “Dress to Impress” occasion. That being said, here are some guidelines to help you be comfortable on the day:

Reserved seating areas (Infield Club, grandstand, clubhouse, suites, dining rooms and corporate hospitality areas)

Ladies typically wear pastel-colored suits, dresses, or bold separates. Hats are the major fashion trend at the Derby, so don't forget yours! High heels always look nice with your colorful Derby and Oaks outfits but you may want to pack a comfortable pair of shoes such as flip flops for the walk to and from your car.

Gentlemen traditionally sport seersucker suits, light-colored sport coats or those go-to navy sport coats, nice khakis or dress pants, light-colored shirts, and fashionable ties (long or bow) with matching accessories. Click here to see Derby fashion photos.

Dress Code (Apparel Restrictions):

Denim/jeans, shorts, tennis shoes or any athletic apparel are not permitted in:

  • Trophy Room
  • Turf Club
  • Finish Line Suites
  • Jockey Club Suites
  • Aristides Room
  • Stakes Room
  • Turf Suites
  • Section 111 Trophy Suites
  • Trackside Village
  • Millionaire's Row

Worn, torn, or frayed garments, collarless t-shirts, tank tops, and midriff tops are never allowed in reserved seating areas.

Infield Apparel Recommendations

The infield is certainly less formal than the reserved seating areas and the rule of the day for infield apparel is practical comfort!

Recommended infield attire includes blue jeans, shorts, t-shirts or polo shirts, casual sundresses, and comfortable footwear. Remember, the infield is exposed to the elements, so be sure to bring a rain jacket if rain is in the forecast as umbrellas are not allowed at Churchill Downs on Derby and Oaks Days. For sunny weather, it's smart to also wear a good layer of sunscreen!

Kentucky Derby Tickets

click here for tickets

Parking & Transportation


Churchill Downs has developed a new plan for taxi cab and bus drop-off and pick-up of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Day patrons.

The revised Derby and Oaks transportation plan includes:

  • The new Bus Depot , located immediately outside of Gate 1, provides an expanded footprint for the unloading and loading of buses transporting patrons to-and-from parking lots at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, the Kentucky Exposition Center and shuttle locations in downtown Louisville.
  • The new Taxi Depot , located adjacent to the Wagner's Pharmacy building at 4th and Central, will be available for pick-up and drop-off of patrons at peak times on Derby and Oaks Days. The new location is an approximate four-to-five minute walk for patrons exiting from Gates 1 and 17, but only seconds from the infield entrance at Gate 3.
  • Widening of the Pedestrian Walkway area along Central Avenue through which patrons will move to-and from the Taxi Depot and other parking near Churchill Downs.

Parking & Shuttles

If you plan to drive to Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days, you should be aware that all parking at Churchill Downs is sold in advance and is reserved.

Remote parking is available at these locations only a few blocks from Churchill Downs (NO RESERVATIONS NEEDED, PAY DAY OF EVENT):

  • Papa John's Cardinal Stadium parking: $15
  • Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center parking: $8
Both parking locations listed above parking areas are within walking distance of the track, but Miller Transportation offers round-trip shuttle service to and from Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days. Pick ups and drop offs begin at 7:30 a.m. and continue until 8:30 p.m. both days. Service is ADA accessible.

Round-trip shuttle prices vary by location:

  • Shuttle from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium: $15
  • Shuttle from downtown Louisville: $20
  • Shuttle from Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center: $15


Xtreme Transportation, the preferred Limousine service of Churchill Downs, is one of the largest providers of private and executive transportation in the Louisville, Kentucky/Southern Indiana area. Xtreme Transportation has a wide range of vehicles to meet your needs, large and small, from Sedans to SUV's, Vans, Limousines and Buses. Xtreme Transportation is a proud member of the National Limousine Association and the Kentucky Limousine Association, and was voted Kentuckiana's #1 chauffered transportation provider the last three years running. Let us serve you today! Contact Brian Segraves for information and pricing at, or call directly at (812) 246-2235. For more information, please visit .

Miller Transportation provides shuttle transportation to and from downtown Louisville and to and from remote parking areas on Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days. Shuttle buses drop off Derby and Oaks guests at Churchill Downs' main clubhouse gate, Gate 17. This is a very convenient way to get to the track, but a word of caution: lines for buses after the races can be long. Miller also provides charter, minibus, and shuttle van transportation. For more information, prices and schedules visit Miller Transportation online at .

Taxi Service

Taxi service is available from downtown Louisville and sites around the city. Please note that taxi lines after the races can be long! Yellow Cab is the Official Cab Company of Churchill Downs.

Yellow Cab

What to Know

Read This Before You Head to the Track!

As you plan your trip to Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby weekend, be sure to review the list of items that are permitted and those that cannot be brought into the racing facility.

Churchill Downs' hospitality and security procedures have been modified for the 140th runnings of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 2 and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 3 . The adjusted policies are listed below (modifications in bold ).

All patrons are subject to magnetic wand scans before entry to the track on both days. Oaks and Derby patrons are advised to arrive early to accommodate search procedures at all admission gates. Admission gates (1, 3, 10 and 17) will be open on Oaks (May 2) & Derby (May 3) days at 8 a.m. (all times Eastern) . First post is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on both days.
Patrons are reminded: “If you see something, say something.” For more information, call 502-636-4400 .

Permitted Items on Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days

(with changes and adjustments from 2012 in bold)

Banned Items on Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days

(with changes and adjustments from 2012 in bold)

  • Food items in clear plastic bags (maximum size 18” X 18” - no trash bags)*
  • “Box” lunches in clear plastic bags or containers (maximum size 18” X 18” - no trash bags)
  • Water and soft drinks – plastic bottles only (sealed, clear and unopened)
  • Purses, but none larger than 12” in any dimension (subject to search)
  • Baby/diaper bags – only if accompanied by a child (subject to search)
  • Small cameras – none equipped with detachable lenses or lenses of 6” or more **
  • Binoculars
  • Sunscreen (non-glass containers only)
  • Small personal music systems, radios and televisions** (No boom boxes)
  • Cellular phones, smartphones and tablets**
  • Binoculars
  • Seat cushions (without back)
  • Strollers (ONLY if carrying a child)
  • Chairs (Gate 3 ONLY)
  • Blankets & tarpaulins (Gates 1 & 3 ONLY)

* Limit of two bags per person ** Patrons could be required to turn on electronic items

  • COOLERS (Styrofoam coolers, ice available at infield purchase points)
  • CANS (any size or type), glass bottles or containers
  • POP UP OR PATRON TENTS – no poles or stakes of any kind
  • Camcorders
  • Cameras with detachable lenses, or equipped with a lens that is 6” or longer
  • Tripods
  • Purses larger than 12” in any dimension
  • Grills
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Thermoses
  • Backpacks
  • Luggage (includes briefcases)
  • Duffel bags
  • Wagons
  • Umbrellas
  • Weapons (including knives)
  • Fireworks, noisemakers, air horns, laser lights/pointers, mace or pepper sprays








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