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How Much Does It Cost to Go to the Kentucky Derby?

How Much Does It Cost to Go to the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports. Next year’s race in May 2022 is jam-packed with exciting events, including horse races, meet-and-greets with attendees dressed to the nines, and betting. But one may ask, how much does it cost to attend this highly-anticipated event?

How much it costs to go to the Kentucky Derby depends on multiple factors, including when you purchase your tickets, whether you reserve a skybox, and how many days you want to attend. General admission tickets range from $75 to $85. Tickets get more expensive the closer the event gets.

Continue reading to learn more about attending the Kentucky Derby and how much it costs.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the Kentucky Derby?

As mentioned, how much it costs to attend the Kentucky Derby depends on many things. Here’s a chart regarding the cost of attending for one day:

Purchase DatePrice
April 7 to April 18 before midnight$75
April 19 to May 6 before midnight$80
The day of the event before the race$85

For some horse lovers, just going to the Kentucky Derby isn’t enough. Sometimes, they’ll elect to attend the Kentucky Oaks, too, a race the day before the Kentucky Derby. To attend both events, consider the following costs:

Purchase DatePrice
April 7 to April 18 before midnight$120
April 19 to April 30 before midnight$135

Keep in mind that the above prices only pertain to the cost of general admission; it does not account for add-ons, food and drink, and other options. For instance, if you want to purchase a skybox overlooking the racetrack, this generally costs $3,800 for six to eight people.

Some eventgoers purchase “packages.” These are all-inclusive tickets that include the cost of hotels, transportation, reserved seating, and other benefits. Right now, basic experience packages cost $799. However, these prices may be subject to change the closer the event gets.  

Do Kentucky Derby Tickets Go on Sale?

The Kentucky Derby’s official website reports the following sale times:

  • The 2-day package tickets go on sale in mid-November. The exact date isn’t yet known.
  • The 2-day package tickets registration deadline is October 15, 2021. This is not the same as purchasing your ticket; rather, it merely gives you the opportunity.

Officiants haven’t reported when one-day general admission tickets will go on sale. That’s what makes signing up for race-related alerts and notifications crucial.

Other Costs to Consider When Attending the Kentucky Derby

Unless you live locally in Kentucky, odds are, buying tickets is just one event-related expense. You should also consider the following when budgeting your experience:

  • Hotels – There’s plenty of upscale hotels around the Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is held. Many eventgoers stay at the Brown Hotel, which is just three miles from the race itself. 
  • Airbnbs – There’s over 100 Airbnbs for the weekend of the Kentucky Derby. Right now, stays run from about $60 to $600 a night.
  • Transportation – In a perfect situation, you would wake up, drive to the Kentucky Derby, and then return home the same day. If you don’t live in Louisville, however, you should consider the price of plane or bus tickets. As I’ve mentioned earlier, planning ahead is key. Booking your ride or flight months in advance will give you more options than booking the night before.
  • Betting – The Kentucky Derby lets eventgoers bet on certain horses. How much you want to bet is up to you; however, you’ll need to consider your picks in advance, as some betting pools close faster than others.
  • Parking – Some eventgoers purchase parking add-ons to their tickets, meaning they can park in special lots close to the event’s grounds. Parking is on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you park off-site, rates will depend on what local businesses and property owners charge.

To avoid any delays, you’re best off downloading the Official Churchill Downs Racetrack App. This will give you real-time alerts and notifications about parking on the day of the event. It’s also your one-stop shop for maps, scanning mobile tickets, getting directions to the racetrack, and much more.

Final Thoughts

The price of attending the Kentucky Derby is more than the cost of admission; you also have to account for parking, hotels, and transportation.

The Kentucky Derby’s a big deal; people start buying tickets the second they go on sale. With that said, to reserve your spot, you should sign up to receive email alerts and messages about ticket sales. That way, you can secure your reservation.

When signing up for alerts, you’ll need to provide your first name, email address, and zip code. Note: Signing up for alerts does not automatically purchase tickets or give you priority over other purchasers.