Bucket List Item #8: Talk Derby to Me

It’s been awhile! But that’s a good thing in bucket list land because that means I’ve been keeping busy. 🙂

As some of you know from seeing my pictures, I was working the Kentucky Oaks and Derby races earlier this month, and I HIGHLY recommend adding the Derby to your bucket list. A few years ago, I experienced the infield on my own, and this year, I experienced what those who purchase the top packages get. Both are worth purchasing, but different people will like different things, so here are some tips!

If you are in college or recently graduated, I recommend going to watch the races from the Infield. If you’ve never seen the infield, it is directly in the center of the track. There, you have concession stands, betting areas, bathrooms and a ton of grassy areas to set up a blanket, chairs, etc. to post up for the day.

  • Pro: This is ideal for early 20s because it is the least expensive Derby ticket, yet you still get the Derby experience. It is basically a frat party where dressing in Derby attire is still encouraged and you can still take advantage of the racing, betting, drinking and mingling of the Derby fans in the stands.
  • Con: Again, it is basically a frat party, so by the end of the day, you may be stepping over all of those beautifully-dressed people while they’re passed out drunk. AND you can’t actually see the horses for the most part, but are watching it on the track’s jumbo screen. It’s all about preference people… I did it once and enjoyed it, but that will definitely be the last time I make my way to the infield.

If you’re beyond the college experience and have more of the “if I’m going to do it, do it big” attitude, then I’d go with a Derby Experiences package. I don’t just say this because I’m part of that program, but because I’ve seen people trying to do it on their own and they end up spending MUCH more just out of not being familiar with the event, the city and the logistics of the Derby. I honestly didn’t appreciate my own company’s product until I went as a guest on my own first, and THEN went with them to see the difference.

I figured out that getting a good hotel could bring you up into the $1,000/night range, it takes hours to wait on taxis to/from the track, it costs a ton to park your own car and you’re walking pretty far (girls in heels will appreciate this warning), your seats may end up in an area that’s so crowded you can’t move or it may thunderstorm during the event with nothing overhead and nowhere to go. If you’re good at pre-planning to the max, then you may be able to handle all of this on your own and only purchase a ticket. If the sound of these risks terrify you, that’s where the packages come in.

  • Pro: Derby Experience packages take care of everything for you, including,
    • Hotel and transportation
    • Food (not from a concession stand) and open bar if you want the nicer stuff
    • A hospitality area with seating, a ceiling and A/C for any weather conditions
    • Meet and greets with jockeys, and private tours and parties that you can’t purchase on your own
    • Private betting areas and bathrooms so that you don’t have to wait in line, and more.
  • Con: These packages get pricey, but you can decide on what’s worth it to you.

I also noticed that people of all ages, genders and interests attend the Derby, because it’s more for the atmosphere than it is necessarily about the horses. Some good ideas on ways to check it off of the bucket list are:

  • Mother’s Day – Every year it falls right around this day and is a great place for moms to dress up and let loose!
  • Bachelor or Bachelorette Parties – The men get to smoke their cigars and bet on sports, while the women get to dress like Pretty Woman and mingle with people from across the globe.
  • Couples Trips – This is a great couples’ getaway for newlyweds, anniversaries, and elderly couples for their last big trip. Keep in mind the size of the track though… that always seems to surprise people when they get there.


If you’re interested in going, whether it’s for packages or just tips, holla atcha girl 😉

Top 3 things I saw at this year’s Derby:

  1. Bill Doolittle…. I repeat ANOTHER DOOLITTLE… Author of The Kentucky Derby book
  2. The most beautiful Derby hat in history taking one of our guests 70+ hours to make… by hand!
  3. A beautiful race horse that was CONVINCED my keys were candy 😛

Top 3 things to do surrounding the event in Louisville:

  1. Fourth Street Live!
  2. Kentucky Derby Festival
  3. Kentucky Derby Museum

If you have more ideas, add them below!


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