- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
- Derby Experience
- Plan Your Visit
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.
There is NO WILL CALL on Kentucky Derby (May 2) or Kentucky Oaks (May 1) 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.
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 (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! Click here to see infield fashion photos.