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,

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