Plan Ahead for the Kentucky Derby

Horses are a steadfast symbol of Kentucky; you can't really have one without the other.  Though it's still just under 3 months away, it's never too early to start planning for the Kentucky Derby. It's a signature event in Kentucky; an event celebrated with style and grace, and watched on TV's across the country.  Tickets are now on sale, and will sell out quickly.  Planning well enough in advance also ensures you top of the line lodging.  From the luxurious to the unique, our Member Inns offer the finest in lodging throughout Kentucky.  You will find B&B's ranging from small quaint log cabins and farms, to classic mansions and historic inns, all waiting to welcome you with unparalleled hospitality.  Find a Bed and Breakfast, and book your room today.

Kentucky Derby Week

Have you always wanted to put on your fanciest hat, while you enjoy a day at the racetrack in your finest attire, sipping on refreshingly cold Mint Juleps?  Now's your chance to plan.  While most of the country only tunes in for the Derby race itself, there's much that happens in the lead-up to this great event. Derby Week is the ultimate Kentucky experience; certainly a once-in-a-lifetime event worth planning for.  The schedule for Derby week is packed, but here are the main highlights you should be aware of as you plan your trip to beautiful Kentucky:

  • The Opening Night party kicks off the festivities on April 29th. Tickets are just $10, but offer guests the ultimate opportunity to dress to impress. Headpieces are required.
  • The Pegasus Parade is a Derby Week tradition dating back to 1956, and takes place on the Thursday before the big race. It's a great place to kick off the grand pomp and circumstance of the Derby, as floats, marching bands, horses, and celebrities celebrate in style.
  • Enjoy a buffet breakfast while you watch the morning workouts of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders during Dawn at the Downs.
  • The Kentucky Derby isn't the only race of the week. In fact, there are a number of exciting races held at Churchill Downs throughout the first week in May. Thurby, held the Thursday before the Derby, is also a great chance to experience the best of Kentucky: Horses, Boubon, and Music! It's also a great chance to look around the Paddock before the big day.
  • Taste of Derby is an exceptional opportunity to mingle with horse racing celebrities, as you sample regional specialties and their wine pairings.
  • The Kentucky Oaks Race of 3 year old fillies takes place on Friday, May 5th. Like the Kentucky Derby, the Longines Kentucky Oaks race is one of the longest continually held sporting events in American history, running since May 19th, 1875.
  • Above and beyond these fun events, there are several official Derby Events held throughout the week, including the Barnstable Brown Gala, Unbridled Eve, and the 4th annual Filies and Lilies.
  • And, of course, we couldn't forget the actual event itself. "The most exciting two minutes in sports" this year will be on Saturday, May 6, with a "riders up" call at 6:25 p.m.

A Successful Derby Day

We pretty much guarantee you'll have fun at the Kentucky Derby no matter what you do, but here are a few tips to make your weekend the best it can be:

  • It's well known that fashion is almost as important as the horses at the Kentucky Derby. A Show-stopping hat is one of the most important elements of your Derby-day ensemble. The more extravagant the better!
  • If you want to up the excitement of the day, place a small wager on your favorite horse. Wagering windows will open 30 minutes before the first race, at approximately 10:00 a.m.
  • The Derby would just not be complete with a Mint Julep. It's the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby, and over 120,000 of them are served each year. The key ingredient to a delicious Julep is, of course, the finest Kentucky Bourbon.
  • Get up close and personal with the track, and head Infield to see what it feels like.
  • Visit the horses themselves in the Paddock. They'll be there approximately 20 minutes before each race.
  • It's in your best interest to learn the lyrics of "My Old Kentucky Home" before Derby Day, so you can sing along as the Derby gets underway. As you sing, watch for the horses to step on the track for the Kentucky Derby Post Parade, and feel the excitement swell.
Most importantly, start your day off with a gourmet breakfast, featured at our amazing Kentucky Bed and Breakfasts.  It's a long week, and you'll need to keep your energy up. Afterwards, return to your comfortable home away from home, and recharge for another day of excitement.  There's only one Kentucky Derby; start making your plans to attend today!