Kentucky Derby Pros….Those who've been there... [Archive] - Glock Talk


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04-26-2013, 20:49
Just decided due to circumstances that I am gonna fulfill a bucket list item and see a Kentucky Derby, in person.

Being as there is no middle ground at the track (or Louisville) things are either very cheap/non-existant (no motels or $400 hotels) or $400 seats or $40 infield, I went with the infield and found a Motel6 in Lexington 90 miles out for 56/night.

A friend may roll with me if his wife lets him out (guys day out) or I may end up doing it solo. But I am doing it come hell or high water, either way. If time, on Sunday I may do the Buffalo Trace distillery tour.

After booking all, I then found out I may have bitten off more than I can chew. First, the infield.

Looks to be Woodstock with horses. Fistfights, drunken pukers, mud wrestling, a redneck wet dream. I had suspected it be a little spicey but that horse racing would attract a more civilized bunch even on the lower end being, well, the KY Derby. Apparently not. But the ticket also covers all standing room only including the paddock area so I can prolly take some great pictures and hang out to enjoy the race without attending Animal House. Well, if it's not too bad I could walk thru...

I got nothing against a drink or three, maybe a julep for tradition and I love bourbon, but I have to keep it restrained if I'm gonna drive 90 miles after its over back to my motel.

Some questions for the vets who've done this event:

1.Can I survive this, or is the infield a complete combat zone? There's no tents allowed this year, and on a guess people were setting them up and having sexytime in the middle of the field and perhaps out of hand. But I'm just guessin.

2. Parking: I'm seein stories about people charging an arm and a leg to park on their lawn in the nearby neighborhood, giving the impression the standard parking lot is insufficient to hold the crowd and if I ain't there at the crack of dawn I could be in for an adventure. Or worse, maybe parking somewhere I might not be comfortable.

3. Churchill Downs neighborhood: Not all tracks are located in the nicest areas. Despite the prestigious heritage, hows the neighborhood around the track? Safe? Crime infested? I know there will probably be the usual degenerate gamblers mixed in with the civilized crowd and I should watch out for pickpockets and thieves, though I've never had a problem at any track…don't want this to be the first.

4. Louisville, generally: Howzit? Places to avoid? Must sees while I'm there? Tricks and tips on dealing with it? Local attitudes? Crime?

There are plenty of cops around by the Flickr photostreams so I'm sure its somewhat controlled but rather than guess….what say those in the know and having visited this great American tradition? Any advice, related experiences, etc are appreciated.

04-26-2013, 20:57
PM me - I can help ya a bit, since I live here and all...and, have seen the Derby from the LE POV for the last 13 years. I'll shoot you my number.

04-26-2013, 21:25
The infield is fun. It's more of a college scene. Lots of drunks. Lots of boobs (last time I went). It's like spring break. Expect craZy and you will be fine.


Big Bird
04-26-2013, 22:28
I've been to many Derby's. As a high schooler and college kid I did the Infield a half dozen times and I've been in the Grandstand and in some luxury boxes a half dozen times or more.

First, its great people watching. Second, the infield isn't THAT crazy. People are there to have a good time and you can't bring coolers or your own hooch any more and the drinks are expensive. So'll see drunks. But for the most part its a great experience. Don't sweat it. I did it as a high school kid a couple of times and came out fine. Never had a bad experience or even came close to getting in a fight much less seeing one. I guess they happen...but I've never seen it and the police presence is substantial and can't imagine one would last more than 30 seconds before a cop got to it and ended it.

I guess the closest I ever got in a fight at the Derby was in the grandstand when they played the national anthem and I saluted the flag with my hat on and some loudmouth came down after it was over and started some crap because he didn't know it was proper for a vet to do so. When he got louder I stood up and started to walk towards him and telling him if he needs to say something to my face I would be there in a second he decided to beat a hasty retreat (I'm 6'3" and 235)!

In any case...go have fun. Lots to do and see in Louisville and Lexington. Derby is a special time and a tremendous two week long event in the city with many daily events.
The KY Oaks are the day before Derby and its almost as good as the Derby itself without all the extra cost--People from Louisville go to the Oaks.

04-27-2013, 06:16
Just put your $$$ on Orb and work a couple of exactas around him.

04-27-2013, 07:32
The last Derby I attended was while I was a student at U of L in 1957; so anything I tell you probably won't be relevant. I remember Derby Day and the actual race as being somewhat of a downer when compared to all the other derby week activities. Oh.....I also remember that Mint Julips taste like crap no matter what day it is. :whistling:

04-27-2013, 11:00
Thanks for all responses so far. The lville local above will pm when time.

I will have a cam w me when i go. Andni will be in white castle territory...whooohooo!

04-27-2013, 14:05
I have a couple of friends that do the KY Derby. One preps every thing a year in advance, hotel rooms and grandstand tickets etc. It's a bit pricey but it's a 1st class time.

Another guy that I know does the infield thing. It's a drunken party scene. He has a blast. Think NASCAR Race fan stuff. Bear in mind, it is more the party scene and less Thoroughbred fans.

Tote windows are much fewer there. Get your bets in the day before. You will not be placing wagers 10 min before post like in the grand stand area.

The no tents thing is a security issue, alone with barring backpacks in the post Boston era.

I also remember that Mint Julips taste like crap no matter what day it is. :whistling:


04-28-2013, 16:45
If you want to actually see a horse then avoid the infield. If you're going for the party then the infield is your place.

04-28-2013, 18:16
Crime wise, louisville is featured on the first 48 frequently:rofl:

04-28-2013, 18:42
If you want to actually see a horse then avoid the infield. If you're going for the party then the infield is your place.

Maybe ill hang around the paddock a bit then. Anywhere theres standing room only. I am more interested in the race, the tradition. Tho i have noted in the past they put up these huge vidscreens so everyone can see...

Big Bird
04-30-2013, 21:37
Crime wise, louisville is featured on the first 48 frequently:rofl:

Yeah..but its never as bad as when all the Criminals from the Kentucky Wildcat Basketball team are visiting!:tongueout:

05-11-2013, 13:17
I just sent this to wprebeck for his advice and help round derby time:

Well, I made it home safe. Thanks for all input.
Your info on the parking was the best most valuable and that is exactly what I used. Papa Johns stadium.

It rained like Elvis said.

I managed to sneak into section 120 and saw the race from the rail.

After stumbling past the check point and pretending not to hear the call for my wrist band I was now stuck inside…leaving to pee or place a bet was not in the cards cause the luck of getting past the check point a second time was pushing the odds. Thank god I hit the mens room just before. I wanted another mint julep in the worst way but decided to pass so I could hang for the main event.

BTW, mint juleps are GREAT! They make them perfectly there.

2 hours in the cold, wet rain. Hungry. Thirsty cold and sore. (stood on a metal bleacher and never left it. Actually appeared on TV, watched the re-play at home on the DVR and spotted me.)

Smuggled a 100ml mini stocked w Woodford Reserve in, used that to refresh the first julep I bought. Glass proudly displayed on my bar. REAL glass too, not plastic.

Managed to make it out in one piece but that infield tunnel to exit is downright claustrophobic. Would go out the front next time.

Did not get mugged. No drunken confrontations tho one idiot behind me did not like the rain running off my poncho (Found a brand spanking new one in protective cover underfoot in the clubhouse. )Came in handy since my windbreaker was only resistant and not fully water proof. Spent very little time in the infield other than to pass thru. I had to see the paddock which i did, hit a souvenir stand and grabbed a tshirt. took a lot of pictures. A good canon powershot, extremely compact camera did a great job…dont want to tote a lot of crap around with you, you're on your feet the whole day.

The place was too crowded. As in, I'm surprised the fire marshall allows it. I know its tradition. I know people love it. Heck there were people asking for extra tickets on the way in , I guess they were sold out tho attendance was 151k and they've had 165k. Maybe it was just sold out and not all the people showed up due to weather and such.

If there had a been a fire in the clubhouse or grandstand where they sell food or whatever, people would have burned or been trampled in the process. Packed like sardines end to end don't know that I ever had more than a few seconds in the open, anywhere in the facility. Maybe it was the rain driving people under cover and sun would have had them out in the open thinning things out…but then more people would have showed up.

It was enjoyable enough I'd like to do it again, but not sure if i could with logistics, expense, etc. I could easily repeat what I did financially, but I really would like to just have the money to have a limo drop me off for an upgraded box seat somewhere and be able to place a bet without being in a mob.

The Lexington thing worked out well. Sufficiently set back from Louisville enough that I found an affordable motel room, but close enough to be a reasonable drive. The neighborhood was more than acceptably safe.

No incidents. No car problems. Everything went as good or better than expected. Got in. Got out. Saw it all.

And next day, did the Buffalo Trace tour. The smell of those rick warehouses makes me wish cameras could record smell. Combination of smoke and sweet. Got some nice souvenirs.

Left Frankfort around 3pm. Made it home to northern VA just after midnight. Actually went to work the next day though I stayed up to 3am looking at the DVR to spot me in the background. It was a long week though, have to catch up. tons of pics and vids to go thru.

Will post some when time!

05-11-2013, 15:50
So how did you like the horse racing ?


05-11-2013, 21:04
So how did you like the horse racing ?


The whole experience was great. Wish I had the chance to place a bet but was just too crowded and i wasnt gonna abandon the prime spot i acquired.

05-11-2013, 21:13
Had never even thought of going to that myself. I guess I didn't think it was something regular people did. What did you do all day?

05-11-2013, 21:30
Had never even thought of going to that myself. I guess I didn't think it was something regular people did. What did you do all day?

Sightsee. Sip mint julep. Visit the paddock. People watching. Hit the souvenir booth. Check the race lineups on the monitor. Tour the grounds. Absorb the history (those spires have been there since 1895) Look at the historical displays. Snap pics like a japanese tourist. Watch the Woodford Turf classic from the bleachers. And of course the Derby itself.

And just be there. Like the Fourth of July, the Super Bowl, Thanksgiving, etc its one of those uniquely American things, loaded with tradition that makes our country great and distinguishes us from all those third world s***holes we dont have to endure. Every race becomes etched in history, we know the name of every horse, owner trainer and jockey back to the races origin in 1875.

11-10-2013, 17:04
Hey there!
I am reviving this old thread because I am planning my wife's bucket list trip to the Kentucky derby 2014. We are celebrating 22 years of marriage this year and she's always wanted to go.
Got some great advice here. The price of the packages are very expensive. Should i book a hotel separately? Louisville or Lexington? Got any recommendations? I don't mind staying out of town and driving in.
I would also love to take her to a party that weekend. Any recommendations? It really is all very confusing.
any help is appreciated.

11-10-2013, 17:11
The infield is fun. It's more of a college scene. Lots of drunks. Lots of boobs (last time I went). It's like spring break. Expect craZy and you will be fine.


That's been my infield experience. I had a blast.

If you're easily offended, don't go in the infield.