Our goal is to make sure you have a memorable experience at the Kentucky Derby. Please see our helpful guide of frequently asked questions.



The Kentucky Derby is held annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.


The exact race time can vary from year to year, but it typically takes place in the early evening, around 6:45 PM ET.


There is a full week of daily events at the track during Derby Week. See the full list of Derby Week Events and activities.


Yes, there are restrictions on items you can bring, including bag size limitations and prohibited items. Check out the full list for the most up-to-date information.


The Kentucky Derby has a dress code that encourages guests to wear upscale attire. This often includes hats for women and suits or dresses for both men and women. See our helpful What to Wear guide for fashion tips.


The Kentucky Derby is a rain or shine event. It's a good idea to check the weather forecast and bring appropriate attire, including rain gear, if necessary. Check out the full list for the most up-to-date information.



Tickets can be purchased online through the Kentucky Derby website forms  , Ticketmaster, Derby Experiences Ticket Package, or by contacting a Kentucky Derby Sales Representative at

All tickets include access to parking at the Kentucky Exposition Center by showing their tickets at the Parking Lot gate. Shuttles will be running to Churchill Downs and back to the Exposition through the entirety of each Derby Week event day, including Kentucky Derby & Oaks days.


Tickets are non-refundable and all tickets are accessed digitally. Due to the sheer size of the event, we do not have the ability to re-issue lost or forgotten tickets. We also do not have a 'will-call' booth. Please note the only authorized place to buy & resell Kentucky Derby and Oaks tickets is the Kentucky Derby Ticket Exchange.


Tickets can be accessed through the Churchill Downs app and connecting your Ticketmaster account to the app. You MUST have your tickets in order to get through the gates. Follow our step-by-step guide to download our app and connecting your tickets. Learn more


Yes, children are welcome at the Kentucky Derby. Children are defined as those being 12 years of age or younger. On Oaks and Derby days, general admission (with Infield Access Only) for children is free.  There is a limit of 4 free general admission child entries with each paying guest. On Oaks and Derby days, every child, of any age, requires a ticket to be admitted to any and all reserved seating areas



Yes, Churchill Downs offers parking options for guests. However, onsite parking options are LIMITED, so its recommended guests explore our transportation page to figure out the best method to get into the facility.


Travel & Parking


Only certain tickets are sold with on-site parking included; e.g., The Mansion, Suites, Matt Winn’s Steakhouse, and select dining rooms, etc. Some parking passes will be available for sale via Ticketmaster. If you purchased your parking pass, it will be mailed to your address on file via USPS prior to the event. There is no mobile delivery of parking passes.


All tickets include access to parking at the Kentucky Exposition Center by showing their tickets at the Parking Lot gate. Shuttles will be running to Churchill Downs and back to the Exposition through the entirety of each Derby Week event day, including Kentucky Derby & Oaks days.


Yes, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the Kentucky Derby and will do our absolute best to accommodate persons with disabilities. Please be aware that due to the size of our event and the historical nature of our facility, we are not able to offer wheelchairs for rent and store wheelchairs of any kind due to limited space.


Please have your transportation group review all of our street and parking maps to ensure they are following the correct procedure on arrival.

Travel & Parking


Parking and traffic patterns change daily based on each day of the week. If you are coming on a specific day, please take time to review the updated parking and traffic maps to ensure where you are arriving.

Travel & Parking


Yes, we have a few transportation companies we work with that can help you get to the event. You can find more information on those groups here:



Churchill Downs is a large facility and expects large crowds during Derby Week. Look for signs to help guide you to where you need to go. There are also plenty of staff members walking around who could point you in the right direction. It is also encouraged to download the Churchill Downs App which provides facility maps and Wayfinding options to guide you exactly where you are going.


Outside food and beverages are not allowed at Churchill Downs, but there are plenty of food and drink options available.


During Derby Week Opening Night – Thurby, all food and drink options on the front side are pay for purchase however, there are some All-Inclusive Seating options available for purchase (see individual event days for details). It is encouraged to have a credit card available as all food and beverage is now a cashless service. During the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby guests with frontside access will have an All-Inclusive Experience.


Food and drink is permitted in the infield. OAKS & DERBY DAYS ONLY: Boxed lunches or food items in clear plastic bags or containers that do not exceed the maximum size (12″ X 6″ X 12″).  Boxed lunches or food items must fit in the guest's bag or one-gallon clear Ziploc-style storage bag (no trash bags). Guests are restricted to one bag only – additional bags for food will not be permitted.


Yes, there are ATMs on-site for your convenience. Please check the Churchill Downs App to find the ATM closest to you.


Yes, betting is a big part of the Kentucky Derby experience. There are betting windows and self-service kiosks available for placing bets. Please note: due to state law, bets may not be placed using a credit card.


Yes, TwinSpires is the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby. Download their app and begin wagering on all of the races. Pro tip: download the app and sign up prior to arriving at the facility to avoid connectivity issues at the track.


No, there is no public Wi-Fi available on Oaks and Derby Days. Like any major sporting event, the sheer number of people in our facility can make cellular service unpredictable. While our facility has made considerable upgrades – particularly with AT&T and Verizon – be prepared for the possibility of intermittent cell coverage.


Our Guest Services reps and gate staff will be wearing red shirts and/or coats. In addition to them, you will see ushers wearing bright yellow shirts windbreakers as well as a variety of uniformed security personnel.  If you cannot find an employee to help you, please text the word DERBY to 69050 and you will be placed in touch with Guest Services. Patrons are reminded: 'If you see something, say something.' If you see something unusual, please immediately call 502-636-4526 to report it.