10 Essential Tips About The Kentucky Derby


It’s no secret that the Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular horse racing events every year, and thousands of people from all over the country attend on a regular basis. Ever since its beginnings, attendees dress in their finest outfits to watch the intense start to the Triple Crown. 

If you have been fortunate enough to secure tickets to the Kentucky Derby, or if the event is on your bucket list, then these are some essential tips to keep in mind before attending the annual thoroughbred racing event. For more information, and to understand more about the betting scene, look out for live coverage of kentucky derby odds

Acknowledge The Superstitions

There is a high selection of traditions that are done at the Kentucky Derby, and it is worth being aware of them so that you don’t stand out from the crowd. It is also worth avoiding certain colors or traditions so that you can help bring good luck to the racers on their big day. 

Of course, horseshoes are widely recognized as bringers of good luck, but there are some things you can do to help bring good luck. Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is known to bring good luck, as is wearing pink on Fridays. 

Arrive On Friday

Try to plan to arrive on the Friday before the big day, because you will be able to experience the Kentucky Oaks. Because of the way that the thoroughbred racing season plays out, the Kentucky Derby is the final race taking place in Churchill Downs. 

The events leading up to this are like their own festival. The atmosphere and overall environment is exciting and welcoming. Make the most out of your trip and experience the music, different cuisines, and overall party atmosphere in the lead up to the Kentucky Derby. 

Sip A Mint Julep

The traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby comes in a collectable cup, and it is definitely worth trying during your time at Churchill Downs. The iconic mint julep is both refreshing and tasty, thanks to the combination of bourbon and fresh mint. Remember to head to the bar and get yourself a drink in their annual collectable cups to commemorate your trip. 

Plan Ahead

Because of the enormous crowds that the Kentucky Derby typically generates, it is important to book your tickets in advance to secure a seat. Try to also book yourself some local restaurant reservations ahead of time, as well as your accommodation. 

Venues in the area benefit from the immense amount of tourism that the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks events bring in. Try to avoid being turned away for leaving your reservations or bookings too late, and plan your trip plenty of time in advance. 

It is the annual event that fully books hotels, restaurants, and even flights way before it actually happens. 

Dress Appropriately

There is a formal dress code for the Kentucky Derby, which draws in the crowd and excites many visitors. Having the chance to wear your best dress or suit can bring out a sense of sophistication and class. 

It is generally recommended that you dress as if you are going to a summer wedding. However, business casual is also perfectly appropriate. As a general rule, try to avoid jeans, hoodies, and sneakers, and you’ll be fine. 

Bring Comfortable Shoes

Because the venue covers a large footprint, and there is a range of attractions worth visiting during your time in Kentucky, it is likely that you will be doing a lot of walking. Try to pack a pair of lightweight, comfortable shoes to change into when you are walking or standing in place for a longer period of time to prevent back pain or discomfort in your feet from causing an issue. 

Of course, these will need to fit in your bag, so it could be worth finding some footwear that are sensible and formal at the same time if you are worried about carrying them. 

Prepare For The Weather

Just because it is a race day does not mean that pleasant weather is guaranteed. Bring plenty of protection from a range of weather conditions just to stay safe and prepared. This includes items such as an umbrella or rain poncho, sunscreen and sunglasses, a water bottle, and a warm layer that you can wrap around you if it gets chilly. 

Place A Bet

Betting is a huge part of the Kentucky Derby, and you should definitely participate in the tradition if you want to. For those who are new to betting, you can check out the latest developments using the link above to decide which horse to bet on. 

Generally, it is recommended that you place a relatively small bet on your first go, just in case it does not go as planned. This way, you can avoid stressing too much over losing your money and focus on enjoying the day of races. 

Bring A Large Bag

With all the weather protection needed, you should try to find a large bag that fits everything inside and goes with your outfit. This can be a little challenging, but there are definitely some options for travel sized sunscreen and small bottles of water that you can squeeze into your purse. 

Have Fun!

The most important thing to remember about the Kentucky Derby is that you should enjoy it. Make the most out of your trip and let yourself appreciate the rich history of the event. Become part of the diverse festival environment and try new cuisines while you are there. 

It can be fun to ‘play dress up’ and present yourself differently than you are used to. Try to bring some close friends or family members who also have tickets, and enjoy the high energy of the races. 


There are an enormous number of people who are drawn to the Kentucky Derby races every year, and it’s easy to see why. The immense popularity of the events are exciting, thrilling, and tense at the same time. 

More and more people are appreciating the experience and taking part in the rich cultural event in the thoroughbred racing calendar. 

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