2020 Kentucky Derby Preparation: 7 Things to Do Before You Go 

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At last, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby is fast approaching. In less than a hundred days, we’ll be witnessing one of the most significant horse racing events in the U.S. With that said, you should start planning your travel to Churchill Downs and get ready for the most relaxed horse racing experience you’ll ever have!

To help you prepare for the upcoming 2024 Kentucky Derby, here are some of the things you should do before the first Saturday of May comes.

Unpredictable Weather

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Since Kentucky Derby is an outdoor event and of course, the weather is unpredictable, you must be ready to block the rays of the sun or protect yourself from every drop of the rain. With that, you should check the weather first before coming to Louisville to prepare yourself with a climate-appropriate outfit.

On top of that, it will be helpful to pack sunscreen and or a lightweight, bright rain poncho that you can quickly wear over your fashionable Derby costume. Please note that umbrellas are not allowed at the facility because they will block the views of other guests. That said, it will be better to bring alternative protection from sunny and rainy weather on your trip to the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby Outfit

Are You Excited about the upcoming 2024 Kentucky Derby? If so, perhaps you’re starting to plan your trip and looking for the perfect outfit to wear in the massive event. However, as much as you want to be fashionable on that big day, you should also consider comfort over fashion.

On the first Saturday of May, there’s a possibility that you’ll be walking a lot as you find your designated seat, visit the Paddock Plaza, and or explore the infield. With this in mind, ladies should think about what footwear to use.

Although there’s no strict dress code on Derby, you may want to bring a backup pair of flats if you’re going to wear spring heels — even if you got the best seats, you’d probably be standing and walking all day.


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Before flying to Louisville on the second day of May to witness the 2024 Kentucky Derby, you should double-check your things and make sure to bring your tickets with you. Since this event is one of the most significant horse racing events in America, it will be close to impossible to get another one because the management of Kentucky Derby won’t re-issue lost or forgotten tickets.

In case you still don’t have a ticket, you must have one as soon as it’s available or call the Kentucky Derby customer service in advance to minimize waiting time. Thus, it’s worth remembering that it’s the most important thing you MUST have to get through the gates of Churchill Downs. So better secure one as early as possible.

Look at the Schedule of Events

Aside from the main event, there are also numerous exciting programs that you may want to experience during Derby Week. If you don’t want to miss one of these occasions, you should look at the entire schedule of the 2024 Kentucky Derby before you travel to Louisville.

Concerning this, you may check the Kentucky Derby website for the details of all the significant happenings down to the minute. With that, you should perhaps set the alarm on your phone or write on your planner the ones that you don’t want to miss.

Know the Contenders of the Big Race

Img source: nytimes.com

Undeniably, the stars of the 2024 Kentucky Derby are the 20 horses leaving the starting gate at Churchill Downs. If you would want to know who’s to bet on the big day, you should know who’s running in the big race.

Study up the final contenders ahead of time so you can have useful insights into who you’re going to cheer on and root for in the Kentucky Derby. Moreover, you can also check for the TVG picks (by track or by experts) to know some backgrounds about the horses who will run on the first Saturday of May.

Reserve Your Parking Pass in Advance

If you’re driving to the Kentucky Derby, you should reserve a parking pass before the big day. All parking for Kentucky Derby week is reserved. With this in mind, you should secure your spot ahead of time to avoid wasting your time to find a space for your car. Besides that, you can also bring cash and park in someone’s yard near the Churchill Downs if you didn’t get a reservation.

Know What You Can and Can’t Bring On the Event

As you plan your trip to Louisville to witness the 2024 Kentucky Derby, be sure to know the list of the things that you can and can’t take with you on the big day. To give you a guide, here are some of the prohibited items that you can’t bring on Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks days:

  • Any alcoholic beverages and illegal substances
  • Bags that are larger than 12″ x 12″ in any dimension including purse
  • Duffel bags, backpacks, and luggage
  • Inflatables and balloons
  • Canopies and tents
  • Glass bottles or containers, and cans of any type or size
  • Laptop and camcorders
  • Tripod
  • Selfie sticks
  • Grills
  • Wagons
  • Umbrellas of any size
  • Any types of weapons
  • Drones ad remote-controlled aircraft
  • Hoverboards, skateboards, and scooters
  • Chairs
  • Confetti
  • Personal music player without headphones, and portable speakers
  • Thermoses
  • Any items deemed dangerous and or inappropriate

Nevertheless, there are notable exceptions that you can bring inside the gates. These include:

Img source: reuters.printstoreonline.com
  • Strollers, Diaper bags, and baby bags, only if accompanied by a child (subject to search)
  • Oaks and Derby Days only: Lunchboxes or food items in clear plastic bags or containers within the allowable size (12″ x 12″). There will be a limitation of two bags per person.
  • You can also bring bottled water — but should be in a sealed and clear plastic bottle.
  • Infield gate only: You can bring collapsible camping chairs and tarpaulins — but should be smaller than 10′ x 10′.

The list mentioned above is subject to change, and any things that are unsafe and inappropriate may not be allowed inside the Kentucky Derby at any time.


If you are excited to travel to Louisville on the second day of May, you should plan your trip as early as now to make the most out of your 2024 Kentucky Derby experience. The tips mentioned above are just some of the things you can do before going to the big race at the Churchill Downs.