Although it is the oldest continually contested sporting event in history, the Kentucky Derby is much more than a horse race.  It is a party of extravagance, tradition, and celebrity – with a heavy dose of Southern charm.  Every spring horseracing fans, and those simply looking for a fun time, descend upon Churchill Downs for “the Running for the Roses” – the most exciting two minutes in sports.  Whether you come for the mint juleps, couture fashion, celebrity sightings, or for a sizable wager, Louisville, Kentucky welcomes you with bowties, bourbon, and banjo pickin’!

Held the first weekend in May, the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks (the Grand Prix for 3 year old fillies held the Friday before) are the main stage events; however the black tie galas, champagne breakfasts, thoroughbred farm tours, and bourbon tastings held the week prior are a must to fully understand Kentucky’s heart and soul.  

Seating options at Churchill Downs range from Millionaire’s Row in the Clubhouse (big hats required) to the rowdy infield for a track level view.  

Where to stay: 21C Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville. Half contemporary art museum, half trendy boutique hotel, 21C’s bar features one of the South’s most impressive collections of Woodford Reserve and Van Winkle bourbons.

To experience this legendary event, please contact Lauren Maggard: