The Kentucky Derby is Coming

Horse Race
Horses have long been an intertwined part of Kentucky's legacy.  Though there are horse-related events and museums and parks to visit throughout the year, Kentucky's signature event is, without a doubt, the Kentucky Derby. People from around the country descend on Kentucky each spring to watch this incredible event, many of whom have been coming to watch this race for generations. Therefore, it's never too early to start planning. Tickets are on sale, and will sell out quickly.  Planning well enough in advance also ensures you top of the line lodging, like one of our fine Kentucky Bed and Breakfasts.  From the luxurious to the unique, our Member Inns offer you the finest in both accommodations and hospitality. Find a Bed and Breakfast, and book your room today.

Kentucky Derby Week

If you've always wanted to don your fanciest hat and step foot onto the racetrack in your finest attire, then now's the time to plan for the Kentucky Derby. While most of the country only tunes in for the race itself, there's much that happens in the lead-up to this great event. Derby Week is the ultimate Kentucky experience.  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. Tickets are just $15, but offer guests the ultimate opportunity to dress to impress. Headpieces (aka fancy hats) are required.
  • 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 5, 2018.

The Day of the Derby

We pretty much guarantee you'll have fun at the Kentucky Derby no matter what you do, but there are a few things you should try to get the full experience of the Kentucky Derby.  First, and most important, is to wear a show-stopping hat. The more extravagant the better! Next, if you're comfortable doing so and understand the risks, place a small wager on your favorite
two Mint julep
horse.  Wagering windows will open 30 minutes before the first race, at approximately 10:00 a.m. As you enjoy the festivities throughout the day, don't forget to enjoy a refreshingly cold 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. Also, take the opportunity to get up close and personal with the track, and head Infield to see what it feels like. You can also visit the horses themselves in the Paddock. They'll be there approximately 20 minutes before each race. Finally, take the time to learn the lyrics of "My Old Kentucky Home" before Derby Day, so you can sing along as the Derby gets underway. 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!