What’s On Track for 2021 Kentucky Derby Fans

Events / Travel
Fans enjoy the day at the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are restrictions for the 2021 edition of the run for the roses, so we put together a handy guide for attending. (Eclipse Sportswire)

The Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve is back to its historical spot on the first Saturday in May this year, and if you’re planning on attending the race, we have the information you need have a great time and stay safe at Churchill Downs. 

Tickets are still available to the Kentucky Derby, but capacity is limited due to the pandemic; that having been said, you can choose your experience to suit your needs, whether that’s partying in the infield or toasting mint juleps on Millionaire’s Row. Just be sure to follow mask guidelines, which state that face coverings must be worn at all times unless you’re actively eating or drinking. 

Speaking of tickets, the best (and safest) way to ensure a seamless and contactless entry to the gates for the Derby are to download the Churchill Downs Racetrack App and get your tickets ready to scan before you get to the races. Check out a handy guide to downloading and accessing your tickets here.  

Before you head to Churchill Downs, take a look at the list of prohibited items for Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks days. Most of them are pretty obvious – I hope you know not to bring fireworks! – but some, like cameras with detachable lenses or selfie sticks, may catch you off guard. 

Once you get to the track, your food and beverages are included in the price of your ticket as long as it’s in a reserved seating area. Yes, that includes mint juleps! Just know that Churchill Downs will only allow patrons to take two alcoholic beverages per person per trip. The only beverage you’ll pay out of pocket for are glasses of champagne, which you can buy via cash or credit. Tipping is also included in the price of your ticket, but it’s always a good idea to show your servers some love on a long day. Headed to the infield for Derby or Oaks day? Food and beverage is available for sale, and you can still bring in your own food as long as you follow guidelines. 

Wanna bet? Patrons on-track are encouraged to use their TwinSpires app to place wagers to minimize in-person contact, but mutuel tellers will still be present to take wagers, so be sure to bring cash with you if you want to bet in person for Derby. Hand sanitizer will be widely available for all interactions with mutuel tellers as well as at betting kiosks. 

For one-stop shopping for information about Kentucky Derby day including a beginner’s guide to betting the race, a Cheat Sheet on the contenders, and so much more, be sure to visit our Triple Crown section

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