How Much Do Kentucky Derby Tickets Cost?

How Much Do Kentucky Derby Tickets Cost

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most well-known horse races in the world and has cemented itself as a unique cultural event in American history, but if you want to attend the race itself, how much will you spend? While tickets to the Kentucky Derby itself can be fairly inexpensive, there are a number of cultural and formal expectations at the race, which may add further costs to a prospective attendee. Here, we take a look at the various expenses that one can expect when attending the Kentucky Derby, beginning with basic ticket prices.


Tickets

A standard general admission ticket for the Kentucky Derby allows an attendee to watch the race and experience the unique excitement of the day. General admission tickets include a program and access to the infield of Churchill Downs, the famed racetrack where the Derby is held. General admission tickets allow attendees to sit on the grass surrounding the track, and people often bring picnic blankets to recline on and watch the races on a large screen. However, general admission tickets do not allow access to the paddock and do not include food and beverage costs. General admissions tickets range in price from $65 months before the race to $85 on the day of the event itself. 

For more enthusiastic fans, the Kentucky Derby also offers reserved seating tickets with various perks. The most prized of these tickets are seats on the home stretch of the racetrack, where the finish line is located, and these tickets cost $2,750 per person, with food and beverages included. The next most-expensive seats are at the first turn of the racetrack and cost $1,076 with food and beverages included. Infield bleacher seats will cost $475 per person and include access to the front of the racetrack and the paddock areas, along with food and beverages. Grandstand bleacher and stadium seats cost between $626 and $923 per person. Finally, the most exclusive seats of all are the clubhouse box seats, which are typically reserved for the wealthiest and most avid fans. A two-day price for clubhouse box seating costs $4,872.

Travel and Accommodations

In addition to the cost of tickets, prospective attendees of the Kentucky Derby will need to consider travel costs. As the Derby takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, fans will need to make arrangements to travel to the state, either by land or air. Depending upon one’s distance from Kentucky, this may cost anywhere from an extra $50 for gasoline or $478-$500 for round-trip airfare to Louisville. Additional costs for taxi, Uber, or bus rides from a hotel to the racetrack may also factor into one’s cost, as will prices for parking, though these may be included if one purchases reserved seats at the event. 

Another important cost to consider at the Kentucky Derby is accommodations, as many fans will arrive days before the event and stay in Louisville before attending. Depending on the expense of the hotel one chooses, accommodations may cost anywhere from $107 for two nights at a hotel outside of Louisville to over $1,000 for a few nights at a moderately-priced hotel in the city.

Other Expenses

As is to be expected, there are a number of other expenses that attendees at the Kentucky Derby will want to take into account. Among these is clothing for the event, as attendees are often expected to dress well. Women may also wish to purchase a trademark Kentucky Derby hat for the occasion, which may cost anywhere from $400 to $1500, depending on the style. A final expense worth considering is that for the famous alcoholic beverage at the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep, which is made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon and served in a commemorative cup, costing $1,000 for the commemorative version of the drink. 

Summary

Though seats for the Kentucky Derby are relatively inexpensive at the general admission level, more avid fans of the race may wish to spend more money on the event, and this will lead to greater considerations of prices. For those who wish for a more involved experience at the race than watching from a picnic blanket, other costs in addition to the standard ticket price may make the experience more worthwhile and enhance the already exciting feeling of watching the most famous horse race in America.