3 min read

Attending the 2024 Kentucky Derby

Statue of Triple Crown horse race winner Secretariat in Kentucky

The Kentucky Derby is the USA’s longest-running annual sporting event, sometimes called the most exciting two minutes in sports! Since 1875, this iconic thoroughbred horse race has been held each year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, and tickets are already available for the 2024 Derby.

The 2024 Kentucky Derby marks the 150th anniversary of this famous race. For anyone who's been curious about attending the Derby, or visiting Kentucky, May 2024 is an exciting time to go!

Customers of ALCOM's Frontier Trailers line might already be familiar with the world of horse racing. Frontier aluminum horse trailers come in different models, styles, and sizes to suit the smallest horses and the grandest Thoroughbreds. Today we're exploring the upcoming 2024 Kentucky Derby -- and how you can join in the celebration.

About the Derby 

The first Kentucky Derby was held on May 17, 1875, at the track that would later be dubbed Churchill Downs. It was originally a 1.5-mile race, later shortened to 1.25 miles, which was deemed safer for the three-year-old Thoroughbred horses running the race. In 1931, the Derby was permanently scheduled for the first Saturday in May.  

Thoroughbred horses racing for a place in the Derby must compete in a series of races known as the Road to the Derby. Points are awarded to the top five horses in each race, and the top 20 horses at the end of this series line up in the Kentucky Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May. 

When the gates open, the pack of 20 horses races for the Garland of Roses (and hefty cash prizes). Since the race was shortened to 1.25 miles, the fastest winning time remains the 1:59.40 finish by Triple Crown winner Secretariat in 1973, breaking the 2-minutes-flat record set in 1964 by Northern Dancer.  

The winner of the Kentucky Derby receives a guaranteed prize, and the next four runners-up each receive a sum. Betting on horses is a big part of many folks' celebration of Derby Day, whether at the track or watching at home. 

Attending the Derby 

More people attend the Kentucky Derby than any other sporting event in the United States. Ticket prices range from around $100 for the most basic general admission access, to thousands of dollars for reserved seating and premium experiences.

If assigned seating is important to you, get ready to spend more than if you're cool with General Admission. If you choose a premium experience, don't forget to check the dress code! The Kentucky Derby is known for its fashionable displays, with visitors dressing up in spring finery and hats. You might want to bring a pair of comfortable shoes, though -- you'll spend a lot of the day on your feet! 

Prepare for your first Derby Day by reviewing some expert tips on how to dress, what to bring and what to leave behind, and what to expect at Churchill Downs. Don't forget your sunscreen! 

Leading up to Derby Day, the Kentucky Derby Festival is a vibrant community event that opens with the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show. Visitors enjoy events like a steamboat race, a marathon and half-marathon, a car show, balloon race, and more! The day before the Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, a race for three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies, is held at Churchill Downs.

You might want to plan a few days on either side of the Derby to enjoy the festival and the Louisville area. Kentucky is a great state to visit for horse racing fans and other "horse people," with farms to visit, trails to explore, and even campgrounds designed for horse and rider

Visiting Louisville 

If you're traveling to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, purchase your tickets and reserve your accommodations as far in advance as you can! The Kentucky Derby draws over 150,000 attendees, and the Derby Festival also brings crowds to the area. 

Though the Galt House is known as the official hotel of the Kentucky Derby, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of places to stay in the Louisville area -- from home shares to hotel suites and everything in between. With an airport just outside the city, and several more nearby, you can fly to the Louisville area and rent a car, or make it a road-trip from wherever you are in the USA. 

While you're in town, check out the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and the Kentucky Derby Museum. Follow the steps of Louisville native Mohammed Ali through the self-guided Footsteps of Greatness Tour. Eat and drink along the Urban Bourbon Trail, go shopping downtown, or visit the Louisville Zoo. There's plenty of pre- and post-Derby fun for the whole family in Louisville. 

Derby Day Fun at Home

If you can't make it to Louisville in May, don't worry. You can still tap into the spirit of Derby Day and cheer for the horses as they run for the roses! Why not throw a party at home? Find inspiration and recipes online to make your gathering special. 

Join lots of other long-distance Derby fans and get together to watch the race, raise a toast, and dress up -- or dress down. Maybe your party crew prefers a baseball hat to a fancy one, and we're here for that! Make it a friendly competition when each partygoer picks the horse they want to win. The official Kentucky Derby website offers recipes, fashion tips, articles and more to help you plan an at-home Kentucky Derby party.

Frontier Trailers

Whether you're dreaming about the Kentucky Derby, barrel racing, skijor racing, or just riding for fun, Frontier Trailers has the right ride for your prized equines. If you're looking for a horse trailer for one to four, find your local Frontier Trailers dealer and get started finding your perfect aluminum horse mover. Get padded dividers and bars, drop-down feed windows, ventilation, and so many more comfort and safety features that your horses will love. Treat them like champions every time you travel with Frontier Trailers.


Kentucky Derby Official Site; GoToLouisville.com; Kentucky Derby Festival; Wikipedia

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