First Timers' Guide to the Kentucky Derby

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The Elusive Triple Crown: What Does it Take to Win?


California Chrome’s glory shot was almost a month ago, but don’t think that means the Triple Crown controversy is over. California Chrome’s owners are enraged regarding the regulations in place, allowing horses to race in some of the Triple Crown Series and not in others.

While some horse racing experts and fans share these sentiments, others do not. And when you look at the full picture, it’s not hard to see why this is such a controversial topic in the sport.

Let’s Recap, Shall We?

For those of you that haven’t been keeping up or have just being reading up here and there, here’s what went down. California Chrome entered the very competitive field for the 2014 Kentucky Derby and came out on top! Jockey, Victor Espinoza, pushed him forward to close at the right moment, and Chrome sailed beautifully to the finish line ahead of the field.


Read the full 2014 Kentucky Derby Recap>>

On to the Preakness Stakes. California Chrome shipped great and training was looking fantastic. His times were looking spot on to what they needed to be and he was running well. On race day, California Chrome was loaded into the gate with some of the same horses in his field for the Kentucky Derby, but some of the horses were also left out to rest for the upcoming Belmont Stakes.

Since these horses didn’t win the Kentucky Derby, their trainers had no stakes in making sure they ran all three races. So why wouldn’t they rest them and enter them in the longer Belmont Stakes where they could win more purse money than the Preakness?

And what happened at the Preakness Stakes? California Chrome didn’t let his fans down. He worked like a machine and made the same run he made in the Kentucky Derby a few weeks prior, securing the victory of the first two races in the Triple Crown Series.

Read the full 2014 Preakness Stakes Recap>>

Fans and experts began to get excited. Could this be the wonder horse? Could this be the first horse to attain the Triple Crown title since 1978?

Belmont is where the problems started arising for California Chrome. Right of the bat there was the question of whether or not New York would lift the regulation and allow Chrome to run with nasal strips. Once approval was granted, training moved forward, but there was no denying California Chrome was going to be up against a field of stronger horses.

So, What Happened?

California Chrome broke from the gate in the Belmont Stakes in normal fashion – clean and on the outside. Espinoza timed him and held him back with the goal of not exerting himself too early in this long run. However, when the horses rounded the final bend coming in on the stretch, Espizona asked Chrome for more, but they other jockeys urged their mounts forward also. While Chrome tried to regain ground on the outside, he just wasn’t fast or strong enough, finishing in fourth and erasing all dreams of the Triple Crown.

Read the full 2014 Belmont Stakes Recap>>

The Outburst

This is where things got real. When the cameras were turned from the track and into the stands for the media to interview California Chrome’s owners, co-owner, Steve Coburn, had plenty to say. He vocalized his annoyance regarding trainers and owners decisions to rest their horses after their shot at the Triple Crown is lost.

home page slide test

In his opinion, he believes that the horses that run in the Kentucky Derby should be the only horses allowed to race in the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Coburn stated that he thinks the Triple Crown series should be exclusive to the initial field of contenders.

Coburn considers it to be the “coward’s way out” for others to rest their horses when his is gunning it, competing in three long races in a short six week time span. In this case, the Belmont Stakes winner, Tonalist, didn’t compete in either the Preakness or the Derby. But on the other hand, California Chrome came in fourth place – it’s not as if he was right behind Tonalist.

Is Coburn Right?

All frustrations and emotionalism aside, Coburn does have a point. It has been 20 years since the United States has had a Triple Crown champion and it is because of the strategy behind resting your horse once he loses the Kentucky Derby. Additionally, on the Triple Crown trophy, there are three points on the trophy representing the three races, and the horses that race in these three are technically “nominated for the Triple Crown.” Does that make the late racers “cheaters”?

And on that note, once the Kentucky Derby winner loses, fans are not as interested in the remaining Triple Crown races because the winning contender no longer stands a shot at the trophy. What kind of toll does this take on the sport?

But by the same token, half the thrill of the Triple Crown Series is knowing the honor is not easily attainable. The thrill is in getting your hopes up to see a horse surpass all odds and come out on top not once, not twice, but three times in a row.

If the Triple Crown was an honor that was awarded out left and right, maybe once within each decade, would the honor lose some of its magnitude?

What do you think regarding this controversy and Coburn’s statements? Do you think it would be beneficial for the Triple Crown Series to only allow the field of horses that compete in the Kentucky Derby to compete in the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

See the First Leg of the Triple Crown LIVE!

Kentukcy Derby About Us Background Derby ExperiencesFans thought they would see history made in 2014, but it just wasn’t the year for a new Triple Crown Champion. But who says 2015 won’t be the year! Secure your spot to watch the running of the 141st Kentucky Derby LIVE from Churchill Downs!

With Official Ticket Packages including exclusive in-track hospitality access complete with open or cash bars and gourmet lunch buffets, celebrity meet-and-greets, jockey meet-and-greets, luxurious accommodations, and transportation, there is no better way to experience the Kentucky Derby!

Get more information today on how you can start your 2015 Derby experience by calling 1-888-834-7088 to speak to a representative or visit Derby Experiences website for more information.

Get Info on Attending the Kentucky Derby

Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #DerbyVIP and #KyDerby!

Wynonna Rocks the Stage at the Kentucky Derby Fillies & Lilies Party


On the eve of the Kentucky Derby, the first annual Fillies & Lilies Party, presented by Derby Experiences, was held in the Kentucky Derby Museum! A small, intimate crowd gathered amidst the exhibits and honors that flood the walls of the museum to hear a private performance by Wynonna Judd & The Big Noise!

Directly after the Kentucky Oaks race on Friday, guests attending the Fillies & Lilies Party were invited to exit Churchill Downs through Gate 1 (the main entrance) and to reenter through the Kentucky Derby Museum attached to Churchill Downs.

Fillies and Lilies

Once inside, guests were invited to walk the purple carpet and to take their picture with the Fillies & Lilies step-and-repeat just like the celebrities in attendance. Wynonna even came out to meet a few fans, sign autographs and take pictures directly after sound check before heading to her dressing room to prepare for the performance.

After guests had their pictures taken, they entered the main floor of the Kentucky Derby Museum through the “starting gate” exhibit Churchill had staged for guests to see. Then, the “oooohs” and “ahhhhs” could be heard.

The Fillies & Lilies décor was astounding, receiving the praise from the crowd! Tables filled the main floor and balcony area upstairs covered in purple and white linens. An array of heavy hors d’oeuvres was displayed with the main focal point being the large ice sculpture holding chilled shrimp.

Various open bars filled the space for guests to enjoy, including a bonus bourbon lounge on the second floor of the Museum. Guests were invited to taste a variety of samples while lounging on the comfortable couches and enjoying each others company.

Fillies and Lilies 2

Celebrities such as Nichole Galicia, model and actress from Django Unchained, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Olivia Rene, Jackie Bob, Lauren Williams and Mia Greenhouse, and Magician Matthew Furman were also in attendance to meet guests and take pictures.

And then it was time…

As the clock ticked closer to 9:30 p.m., guests began to crowd the oval room in the center of the museum to listen to Wynonna’s band play, and suddenly she was there! Wynonna hit the stage opening with “Tell Me Why” and the crowds went wild!

Fillies and Lilies 3

Because of the size of the oval room including the overhang for the upstairs crowd, the performance was incredibly intimate, allowing Wynonna to converse and share her passion with the fans.

After playing quite a few numbers and hitting everyone’s favorites, Wynonna bid her guests farewell as the first annual Fillies & Lilies was coming to a close.

There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Fillies & Lilies Party was a fantastic way to celebrate the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby and Derby Experiences can’t wait to bring the house down again next year!

View the 2014 Kentucky Derby Race Recap>>

See the 2014 Derby Experience LIVE from Churchill Downs>>

How can I attend the 2015 Fillies & Lilies Party?

Fillies and Lilies Derby ExperiencesThe second annual Fillies & Lilies Party is already in the works and is scheduled to be held on May 1 (the eve of the Kentucky Derby) in the Kentucky Derby Museum! The great news? YOU can be there!

Derby Experiences is prepared to once again fill the evening with exciting cuisine, complimentary drinks and live entertainment. It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

Get more information today on how you can attend the 2015 Fillies & Lilies Party with Derby Experiences today!

Get Info on the 2015 Fillies & Lilies Party

The 2014 Kentucky Derby Experience: LIVE from Churchill Downs!


untapableThe 2014 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks were events to be remembered! Guests watched LIVE from Churchill as the Kentucky Oaks favorite, Untapable, and the Kentucky Derby favorite, California Chrome, raced to victory at top speeds against challenging competitors.

See the full 2014 Kentucky Derby race recap>>

However, these weren’t the only races throughout the Derby weekend. Churchill Downs hosted 12 races on Oaks day with the 11th race being the Kentucky Oaks, and 13 races on Derby day, with the 11th race being the Kentucky Derby.

It was two full days of racing at the Downs and Derby Experiences’ guests were able to experience the entire two-day event from the best seats in the Grandstand and Clubhouse, with some guests right on the fence!

Not to mention, Derby Experiences boasts six deluxe hospitality areas where guests can unwind out of the crowded stands and enjoy open or cash bars, complimentary food buffets, celebrity meet and greets and much more!

And with Official Ticket Packages, guests’ accommodations in Louisville and transportation to and from Churchill Downs were included, so they were truly able to relax and enjoy the Kentucky Derby because everything was included.

Check out the 2014 Derby Experience through the eyes of our guests!

The Hospitality

Inside Sunny’s Halo Lounge

sunnys halo lounge

Located to the left of Gate 1, Churchill Downs' main entrance, lives Sunny’s Halo Lounge hospitality venue. It’s tucked away on the second floor past the brand new wagering stations and parallel to the newly build cafeteria. With high security keeping the space exclusive to Derby Experiences’ VIPs, guests were able to lounge at this rooftop party deck with impeccable views of the starting gate, final turn, and finish line.

Guests were able to help themselves to an open bar filled with beer, wine and soft drinks, and a complimentary lunch buffet. And celebrities such as Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Olivia Rene, Jackie Bob, Lauren Williams and Mia Greenhouse, and Kentucky Derby Champions, Pat Day and Chris McCarron floated around throughout the race weekend to meet and greet with fans!

Not to mention, the flow of Sunny’s Halo Lounge was incredibly accommodating with the stadium-style seating located right below the drink bar that lined the track. Sunny’s Halo Lounge was an incredible way to experience the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby!

Inside Affirmed Lounge

Located inside the Kentucky Derby Museum at Gate 1, the Affirmed Lounge hospitality area offered guests a climate-controlled escape from the Grandstand and the chilly weather on Oaks day and the heat on Derby day.


Guests were able to enjoy live performances by American Idol’s Elise Testone and Louisville’s local band Blaise Street. Not to mention, because the Affirmed Lounge was inside the Kentucky Derby Museum, guests were able to view all of the exhibits throughout the day, allowing the magnitude of the Kentucky Derby to really sink in.

Plus, since 2009 Kentucky Derby Champion Mine That Bird was being paddocked in the Kentucky Derby Museum, guests were given the fantastic opportunity to see the racing legend up close. Not to mention, Kentucky Derby Champions Pat Day and Chris McCarron made appearances, along with celebrity Magician Matthew Furman!

Inside Secretariat Lounge

Located inside the Clubhouse above Gate 17, the Secretariat Lounge is the largest hospitality area. Climate-controlled and filled with delicious food, open bars and comfortable seating, guests were able to get away from the crowded stands and hallways of the Clubhouse and relax with their groups.

Actress from Django Unchained, Nichole Galicia, could be found hanging out in Secretariat Lounge and Elise Testone and Blaise Street performed live on their respective days. Additionally, Pat Day and Chris McCarron made appearances to meet fans.


Since the track wasn’t in direct view, guests had access to simulcast TV coverage of the races and private wagering stations.

Inside Citation Hospitality Lounge


Citation Lounge could be found outside Gate 10 (where our transportation dropped off and picked up guests) and was accessible from inside Churchill or the parking lot, so guests were given the option of entering the track through the main entrance or hospitality.

Inside this climate-controlled venue, guests were able to enjoy complimentary gourmet fare, a cash bar and private wagering stations. Kentucky Derby Champion Pat Day also made an appearance to meet fans!

Citation Lounge also boasts seats in some of the best sections of the Clubhouse such as Section 111. It’s a prime spot to see the horses round the first bend, coming at you in full force! You can hear their steady breathing, see the dirt flying up from under their hooves and hear the jockeys giving their calls. There really is no closer seating!

Inside Street Sense Hospitality

Street Sense offered great accommodations for large group with long table seating. With delicious cuisine, cash bars and self-service wagering stations, guests were free to come as they please and avoid the long lines in the cafeteria.

Street Sense

Street Sense is a great escape from the Clubhouse, located right behind Section 121, and guests were even able to meet Kentucky Derby legends Pat Day and Chris McCarron!

Inside Smarty Jones Lounge

Adjacent to the Kentucky Derby Museum and Affirmed Lounge just inside Gate 1, Smarty Jones offers a prime location for guests to escape the Grandstand. You’re right next to a large wagering station and souvenir stands, and Smarty Jones boasts its own one-time lunch buffet, cash bar and wagering stations.

Smarty Jones

Guests were also able to meet Magician Matthew Furman and Kentucky Derby Legends Pat Day and Chris McCarron!

See More Pictures from the 2014 Kentucky Derby Weekend>>

The Parties

In addition, guests were able to opt in for VIP access at some of the Kentucky Derby’s most exclusive parties such as the Taste of Derby™ and the first annual Fillies & Lilies Party presented by Derby Experiences!

Check out these Kentucky Derby parties through Derby Experiences’ guests eyes!

taste of derbyInside the Taste of Derby™ Party

Held on the eve of the Kentucky Oaks, guests were able to taste delectable dishes made by national reknown chefs! With so many Kentucky native dishes being created with new twists, and popular dishes from all over the nation being served, everyone’s pallets were offered new and delicious tastes!

Celebrities walked the carpet, cooking competitions were held and guests were supplied plenty of commemorative souvenirs to remember the event. Not to mention, partial proceeds went to benefit hunger relief organizations!

Inside the Fillies & Lilies Party

Held on the eve of the Kentucky Derby, the Fillies & Lilies Party was everything it was made out to be! Guests were able to mingle with celebrities such as the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Matthew Furman and Nichole Galicia, and Wynonna Judd put on an incredible performance!

Because the attendance number was limited, the performance was intimate making it much more meaningful to guests. Derby Experiences’ guests were also invited to enjoy complimentary heavy hors d’oeavres, open wine, beer and soft drinks, and bourbon tastings in the bourbon lounge.

fillies and lilies

Not to mention, the Fillies & Lilies Party was held in the Kentucky Derby Museum and it was so surreal to be dancing and enjoying the evening amidst the exhibits that honor America’s greatest past time.

This is one Kentucky Derby Party you want to have on your bucket list for next year!

Secure My Place in 2015!

If you haven’t gotten there on your own yet, the 2015 Kentucky Derby will be THE event to be at! Derby Experiences already has 2015 Official Kentucky Derby Ticket Packages and party packages on sale with similar line-ups to this year!

Don’t miss your chance to have the hair on your arms stand up as the horses thunder pass you on the track competing in the first leg of the Triple Crown series! There is nothing like the Kentucky Derby! Call 1-888-384-7088 to speak to a representative or visit Derby Experiences website for more information.

Booking early is key as it will provide more availability and options to you. It’s time to start your Kentucky Derby experience; let Derby Experiences take you there!


Take Me to the 2015 Kentucky Derby

California Chrome wins the 2014 Kentucky Derby [Recap]


The 2014 Kentucky Derby favorite, California Chrome, did nothing short than amaze horse racing fans with his untouchable victory at Churchill Downs! He had always been a contender at the top of the watch list due to his size, pedigree and training, but it wasn’t until the Road to the Derby Championship Series was coming to an end that horse racing experts committed to saying Chrome has all the elements that could make him a Triple Crown Champion.

His time? 2:02.66, putting him three seconds behind the famous Secretariat, who holds the fastest Derby time ever.

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What was it like watching the 140th Kentucky Derby LIVE at Churchill Downs? And what lies ahead for Kentucky Derby Champion, California Chrome? Take a look:

Read about the Derby Experience>>

140th Kentucky Derby: The Race

IMG 2991At 6:24 p.m. ET, over 164,906 people crowded the Grandstand, Clubhouse and lawn to watch the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby, making this the second-largest attendance in Derby history! The weather was on fans’ side with sunny skies and a temperature reaching 75 degrees, making it a great day for horses racing with 13 races on the schedule.

The day passed quickly with each race building more anticipation to the one that mattered the most – the first leg of the Triple Crown – the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

And then it was time. The trumpets sounded and the crowds erupted sending shivers down your spine. The music began and “My Old Kentucky Home” began playing over the speakers throughout Churchill. The crowds sang with arms wrapped around each other and drinks swaying in the air, and a wave of emotion passed over the stands.

As the music ended, the field of 19 Kentucky Derby contenders (Hoppertunity was an early scratch) entered the track and the fans went wild! They warmed-up along the back stretch as they made their way to the starting gate. One by one the gates slammed behind the horses as they were loaded. As the last gate closed, silence filled Churchill Downs and fans held their breath.

describe the imageAnd they're off! 

The horses broke from the starting gate and fought for the inside rail. Chitu and Uncle Sigh broke early fighting for the lead and the remaining jockeys seemed to bide their time. California Chrome followed in third and with the urge from his jockey, Victor Espinoza, pulled away from the pack.

Leading by five lengths, Chrome pulled ahead of the pack, but Commanding Curve was not down for the count. Commanding Curve came to close and moved his way through the pack and encroached on Chrome’s solidified lead.

However, California Chrome was able to hold his lead and raced to victory across the finish line, followed by Commanding Curve and Danza. This victory makes Chrome the first California bred horse to win the roses since Decidedly in 1962, and it makes Art Sherman, trainer, the oldest trainer to win a Kentucky Derby since 1989. This was Espinoza’s second Derby victory.

View Video of the 2014 Kentucky Derby>>

A full 2 ¾ lengths behind the leaders, Wicked Strong, Samraat, Dance with Fate, Ride On Curlin, Medal Count, Chitu, We Miss Artie, General a Rod, Intense Holiday, Candy Boy, Uncle Sigh, Tapiture, Harry’s Holiday, Vinceremos, Wildcat Red, and Vicar’s in Trouble then crossed the finish line.

View Pictures from the 2014 Kentucky Derby>>

Many horse racing experts and fans alike hold faith that California Chrome could be the next magic horse – the one that could bring home the crown. With the Preakness Stakes on the horizon, Chrome has plenty of conditioning and training ahead of him these next few weeks.

Only time will tell if 2014 will grant us a new Triple Crown Champion!

describe the imageYOU can be at the 2015 Kentucky Derby!

With Derby Experiences Official Ticket Packages direct from Churchill Downs, you can experience the Kentucky Derby in the most unique way possible! With seats in prime locations throughout the Grandstand and Clubhouse, exclusive access to hospitality areas with complimentary food buffets and open bars, and meet and greets with celebrities, you’ll have an experience to remember.

Get more information on how you can attend the 2015 Kentucky Derby LIVE at Churchill Downs today. Call 1-888-384-7088 to speak to a representative or visit our website for more information. It’s time to start your Derby experience – let us help you get there!

Take Me to the 2015 Kentucky Derby

2014 Kentucky Derby & Oaks Contenders: Post Times & Post Positions


Steven Wargo   Kentucky Derby 2012 (125 of 145)The first Saturday in May is upon us, and it’s time for the 140th running of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby! Crowds are already beginning to flock to Louisville to watch the first leg of the Triple Crown Series LIVE from Churchill Downs (hopefully you’re a part of these crowds). But before you can unleash your excitement about the 2014 Kentucky Derby in full force, you probably have a few questions.

Who are the contenders for the Kentucky Derby? What fillies are taking the field in the Kentucky Oaks? What are the post times? What are the post positions? How do I not miss anything?

All fair questions and all questions that we’re about to answer for you! Churchill Downs will inevitably be a mad house on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby days – it’s known to host over 140,000 people! Knowing the answers to these questions before you head into the track will be important; it will allow you to plan in advance when you want to be in hospitality, when you want to be in your seats, what horses you want to bet on and much more!

In case you didn’t already know, the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks are not the only races run on their perspective days. Friday, the day of the Oaks, 12 different races are run, with the 11th race being the Kentucky Oaks.

On Saturday, Derby day, 13 different races are run, with the 10th race being the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and the 11th being the Kentucky Derby.

Knowing the post times will help you decide where you want to watch from: the hospitality area or your seat in the stands. Plus, if you decide to venture outside of your venue if your hospitality doesn’t have a private restroom or to see other areas of Churchill Downs, it’s important to keep track of time because maneuvering the crowded concourses will take you a while to get back to your seats.

So without further ado, here are the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks post times:

2014 Kentucky Oaks Post Times

2014 kentucky oaks post times

2014 Kentucky Derby Post Times

2014 kentucky derby post times

Download my Kentucky Oaks & Kentucky Derby Wager Cards

Now, as for 140th Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders, take a look at the fields and the post positions for each horse. Remember, the post positions can dramatically impact how the horse performs and the positions on the rail are considered the best positions. Otherwise, the horse will have to compete for the rail right out of the gate.

2014 Kentucky Oaks Contenders and Post Positions

Kentucky Oaks Post Positions

2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders and Post Positions

Kentucky Derby Post Positions Update

**5/1/14 IMPORTANT UPDATE: Hoppertunity has been scratched from the race due to a foot problem.

DSC 0690The Kentucky Derby is Calling!

The 2014 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks weekend is going to be one for the record books for those attending with Official Ticket Packages! With access to exclusive hospitality areas, coveted amenities, celebrity meet and greets, Official Derby party access, and much more, Derby Experiences guests are going to go behind-the-scenes to have the ultimate Kentucky Derby experience!

Watching from home this year? Check the Kentucky Derby off your bucket list in 2015 with Official Ticket Packages! Get more information on how you can make the trip to Churchill next year with Derby Experiences today!

Get Info on the 2015 Kentucky Derby

The Insider's Traveler Guide to Louisville during Kentucky Derby Week


Louisville, or “loo a vul” as the locals call it, is already an incredibly happening city, but add the Kentucky Derby to the calendar, and there’s suddenly a bounty of even more things to do and see in the town!

With Churchill Downs known to pack over 100,000 people into the track on Derby day, majority from outside of the city itself, it’s no surprise that the goal of Louisville is to share its many attributes that make it famous nation-wide and home to its locals. After all, if you’re a tourist visiting a city, you should go exploring and see all it has to offer, right?

Everything from Kentucky Derby parties, festivals, local hot spots, historic sites, bourbon distilleries, delicious restaurants and horse farms should be on your hit list of things to do while in town for the Kentucky Derby.

So without further ado, take a look at our Insider's Traveler Guide to Louisville during Kentucky Derby Week, because these 10 things should definitely be on your list of things to do!

1. Start at the Museums

Churchill downs andderby museumLouisville is home to a variety of different museums that hold all kinds history and stories within them. A few that should definitely be on your list of things to do are:

• Kentucky Derby Museum – tour the exhibits that represent one of America’s oldest sporting events, and be sure to check out the 360 video display to have your neck hairs stand up

• Louisville Slugger Museum – learn the story behind the bat and the family that still creates them to this day, and don’t forget to get your picture taken with the giant slugger

• Kentucky Art and Craft Museum – view all the wonderful hand made products made at home in Kentucky

2. Become a Foodie

This city is home to some of the most delectable tastes that will ever hit your taste buds! While in town, you have got to experience a few of the delicacies and Louisville native dishes:

• Hot Brown – you’ve got to try this dish where it was created at the Brown Hotel; it’s an open-faced sandwich filled with turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce that is baked until the bread is crisp

• Derby Pie – this sensational chocolate and walnut tart fills a pie shell with a pastry crust; best place to taste it is at the Melrose Inn, right outside Louisville

• Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce – this dessert can be found in many bakeries throughout Louisville; the sweetness of the bread pudding is offset by the hardy bourbon sauce which will leave you asking for more

• Fried Egg Sandwiches – this delicious breakfast entrée hits home; try it out at Wagner’s on 4th Street to treat your taste buds

• Grits – it doesn’t get any more southern than this! The best way is in a casserole with cheese

3. Experience the Nightlife & Kentucky Derby Parties

Derby Experiences Fillies and Lilies Party Wynonna JuddLouisville is home to some great nightlife for all ages! There are plenty of different bars that you and your group can check out throughout the city, and 4th Street Live is a great area, but during Kentucky Derby week, you should have these Derby parties on your to do list:

• Taste of Derby™ Party – held on Thursday night, you’ll be able to mingle with celebrities and enjoy live music while tasting dishes prepared by top chefs across the nation

• Fillies & Lilies Party – presented by Derby Experiences on Friday night, you’ll be able to hear live music performed by Wynonna Judd while dancing the night away with Hollywood stars

For more information on these Kentucky Derby parties and to get tickets>>

4. Find the Natural Beauty

This city is beautiful people! Situated off the Ohio River, Louisville has incredible natural beauty. Take a trip across the bridge that crosses the Ohio to see the city from the water, walk down the riverside to see the historic Belle of Louisville and go for a ride, or take a visit the falls of Louisville!

describe the image5. Tour a Horse Farm

You’re in Kentucky – you’ve got to visit some of the top horse farms! See how prize thoroughbreds are raised and trained, plus see how a horse farm operates on a day to day basis.

Check out Derby Experiences Concierge Services to see farms you could visit and tour>>

6. Visit Historic Landmarks

A lot of Kentucky’s historic landmarks are in and around Louisville. Take the time to visit a historic home, for example, and learn about Kentucky’s rich history.

• Farmington – the home of President Lincoln’s closest friend, Joshua Fry

• Locust Grove – the home of the younger sister of Lewis Clark from the Lewis and Clark expedition

7. Two Words: Mint Juleps

This tasty adult beverage has such incredible ties to Louisville, Kentucky that it’s the official drink of the Derby. Whether you’re inside Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day or stopping for a bite and a drink in the city, a Mint Julep will be on the menu and better be your drink of choice!

946674 575861095780464 30935580 n8. Attend the Kentucky Oaks

The day before the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks race is held to kick-start Derby weekend. Grab your pink attire and hit the track to help raise breast cancer awareness, and watch the fillies race for the lilies!

For more information on the Kentucky Oaks>>

9. Become an Adventurer

Louisville has plenty of things for the outdoor adventurer. For example, take a ride on a zip line in Louisville’s underground into the limestone caves. It’s not just any city that can offer an adventure like that!

describe the image10. Take a Flight

Everyone knows that Kentucky is known for its bourbon, so take a flight of Kentucky’s finest! Let the sweet nectar hit your lips and see for yourself why Louisville is home to this goodness. Guys, if Mint Juleps aren’t your thing, this had better be your drink of choice! Plus, you and your group can even plan a trip to tour a bourbon distillery while in town.

Check out Derby Experiences Concierge Services to see how you could tour a bourbon distillery>>

Obvious No. 11

Attend the Kentucky Derby

And the hidden number 11? If you haven’t already decided to go to the Kentucky Derby, you should obviously have that on your list of things to do Derby week! With Official Ticket Packages direct from Churchill Downs, you can have an incomparable Kentucky Derby experience with exclusive hospitality access, celebrity meet and greets, open bars and much more!

Get more information on how you can start your Derby Experience today!

Get Info on 2014 Kentucky Derby

What to Bring to the 2014 Kentucky Derby


Derby Experiences Kentucky Derby Grandstand vantage pointIt’s that time of year! We are a little over three weeks away from the 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, so you need to know what you can and cannot bring with you inside the grounds of Churchill Downs. Knowing in advance will help you plan what to pack and what to bring with you. After all, you don’t want face any confusions that will hinder you from attending!

If you’re looking for guides on what to wear, we have that for you here:

The Ladies Guide on How to Dress for the Kentucky Derby>>>

The Gentleman’s Guide on How to Dress for the Kentucky Derby>>>

This article is strictly to inform you on what you can and what you cannot bring with you inside Churchill. Because there are such large crowds inside the track, it’s important that the safety of spectators and the horses are taken into consideration. Let’s start by taking a look at the items that you are permitted to bring with you on Kentucky Derby day!

Items Permitted inside Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby & Oaks Days

The following items are allowed on race days:

• Purses no larger than 12” in any dimension

• Small cameras, however they must not have detachable lenses or lenses of 6” or more

• Sunscreen, in non glass containers only

• Binoculars

• Cell phones and tablets

• Seat cushions with no backs

• Personal music systems, radios or televisions

• Strollers and baby/diaper bags only if accompanied by a child

• Water and soft drinks in clear, plastic bottles that are sealed/unopened

• “Box” lunches or food in clear plastic bags or containers with max size of 18” by 18”, no grocery or trash bags

• Blankets and tarpaulins at gates one and three only

• Chairs at gate three only

**Limit of two bags per person

Items Prohibited inside Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby & Oaks Days

The following items are not permitted for any exception on race days:

• Cans, glass bottles or containers of any size of type

• Pop up or patron tents with poles or stakes of any kind

• Camcorders/video cameras

• Coolers or thermoses

• Cameras with detachable lenses or a lens larger than 6”

• Grills

• Alcoholic beverages

• Tripods

• Purses larger than 12” in any dimension or backpacks

• Luggage or duffel bags

• Wagons

• Umbrellas

• Weapons, including knives

• Fireworks, noisemakers, air horns, laser pointers/lights, mace or pepper spray of any kind

Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll reply promptly.

Yes, those lists are a little overwhelming. Fortunately, many of things you would want to bring inside Churchill with you that are either prohibited or a struggle to carry in while meeting regulations, you can find inside the grounds of the track.

An even simpler, less expensive solution? Official Ticket Packages through Churchill Downs Official Ticket Package and Hospitality Provider, Derby Experiences!

Get Coveted Access at the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks

Derby Experiences Kentucky Derby Grandstand OverviewThe best way to eliminate the hassle of planning what you can and cannot bring with you inside Churchill Downs is to purchase an Official Ticket Package instead of just a ticket!

Not only will this grant you access to both Oaks and Derby race days, you’ll also have access to an exclusive hospitality access with coveted amenities. Inside is complimentary gourmet food, an open or cash bar, comfortable seating, private wagering stations, interactive elements, simulcast TV coverage of track activities, and much more! It’s the ultimate Kentucky Derby party where everything is provided for!

Not to mention, Hollywood stars, athletes and celebrity jockeys will be making appearances throughout the day to meet YOU!

With Official Ticket Packages starting at just $299, getting unparalleled access is affordable and you’re ensured to have the experience of a lifetime! You can even upgrade your Official Ticket Package will access to the Fillies & Lilies Party or Taste of Derby Party.

Get more information on Derby Experiences Official Ticket Packages today and plan your Kentucky Derby experience with no hassles! 

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How to Get Tickets to 2014 Kentucky Derby Parties


Derby Experiences About The Kentucky Derby The Kentucky Derby Finish LineEveryone knows that half of the fun of attending the Kentucky Derby is getting access to all the exclusive Kentucky Derby parties! After all, when you’re going to an event that is flooded with celebrities, why would you not celebrate like them, with them!

Yes, getting an invite to these elaborate Official Kentucky Derby parties is clutch and not many get the opportunity. Luckily for you, I’m here to tell you that YOU can be on the VIP invite list! How do you score a ticket? Keep reading!

For starters, there are two big parties that you will want to be at. These two parties are where all the A-list Hollywood stars, professional athletes, models and rock stars will be. They are the Taste of Derby™ Party and the Fillies & Lilies Party, presented by Derby Experiences.

Take a look at these parties and figure out which one is the perfect fit for you and your group (OR just be at both!).

The Fillies & Lilies Party, Presented by Derby Experiences

Fillies and Lilies Logo FinalFeaturing live music performed by five-time Grammy Award winner, Wynonna Judd, the Fillies & Lilies Party will be popping! On Friday, May 2, the eve of the Derby and directly following the Kentucky Oaks, you’ll make your way right outside the gates of Churchill Downs to the Kentucky Derby Museum.

You’ll dance the night away to Wynonna & The Big Noise amidst the allure of the Derby exhibits that celebrate America’s oldest sporting event! As you mingle with the celebrities in attendance, enjoy complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres, a premium open bar, a bourbon lounge, and more!

Magician to the stars, Matthew Furman, will also be in attendance to surprise and thrill you will his latest assortment of tricks and mind illusions.

A few of the confirmed celebrities in attendance at the first annual Fillies & Lilies Party are:

• Wynonna Judd
• Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Oliva Rene, Jackie Bob, Lauren Williams and Mia Greenhouse
• Model and Actress from Django: Unchained, Nichole Galicia

Don’t miss your chance to bring in the 2014 Kentucky Derby right! Celebrate the night before at Derby Experiences’ Fillies & Lilies Party!

Get Tickets Now!

The Taste of Derby™ Party

Derby Experiences Kentucky Derby Parties Taste of Derby Food TastingOn Thursday, May 1, the eve of the Kentucky Oaks, make your way to the Kentucky Exposition Center for the 5th annual Taste of Derby party!

You’ll be invited to sample dishes from popular horse racing destinations across the country prepared by Masterful Chefs, all the while mingling with celebrities and enjoying the open bar. From the delectable cuisine to the live music, and red carpet, the Taste of Derby™ is a celebration to remember!

Not to mention, partial proceeds of the Taste of Derby™ go towards benefiting hunger relief organizations. So while you’re dancing the night away and enjoying all the 2014 Kentucky Derby has to offer, you’ll also be making a difference in the lives of others.

Get Tickets Now!

It’s Time to Select the Kentucky Derby Party Perfect for Your Group

Still not certain which Official 2014 Kentucky Derby party is perfect for you and your group? Not surprising. After all, with all the access, inclusions and benefits of each, it can be hard to choose!

Derby Experiences is here to help you select the perfect Kentucky Derby party to complete your trip to Louisville. For more information to help you decide, visit our website or call 1-88-384-7088 to speak to a representative. We're here to help you get there!


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Breeders’ Cup Race Replays and Handicapping Kentucky Derby & Oaks


breeders cup 2014 quinteventsLike the Kentucky Derby, the Breeders’ Cup Championships are never too far away in the minds of horsemen and horseplayers alike. The Breeders’ Cup two-year-old performances are especially fascinating to review this time of year for handicapping the Oaks and Derby as they give important insight into the way a particular horse has developed and matured.

Further, I have often forgotten how good those Breeders’ Cup performances were until I re-live them on video replays. Any two-year-old colt or filly that competed in the Breeders’ Cup had already displayed champion qualities with precociousness, willingness, talent, and soundness during the early rigors of training as “babies.” Often as “new” horses emerge on the Road to the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks, it becomes easy to focus on dazzling single race victories of the new names maturing this spring over the consistency of several horses who have remained good over time.

See 2014 Breeders' Cup Schedule>>>

Growing Up from the Breeders’ Cup to the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks

The first change of note when watching the Juvenile races is the most obvious: the physical change. Most of the horses are taller now, and are generally carrying more weight with more muscle mass and definition now as three-year-olds. But even more important than the physical maturity is to note mental changes of some horses in particular.

I saw a lot more anxious horses in the paddock and post parade. There were longer load times in the starting gate and generally more “green” behavior – all to be expected of youngsters. I digress to make a comparison with some of the popular singing competitions. The difference between the same competitors at the audition compared to the finale can be dramatic. For example, Kelly Clarkson showed her talent to sing in the audition at American Idol®, but as she honed her performance skills and style, she was barely recognizable as the same performer when the confetti fell on her winning night.

The most interesting aspect of reviewing the races on video was to observe how some Derby and Oaks contenders have defined their “style” of running. By style, I am referring to whether a horse is a pace-setter or a closer. And further, does this horse now show a pattern in their races leading up to the Oaks and Derby that suggest a predilection and success for that style. The answer is … yes!

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As an example, let’s examine two fillies who will likely command top spots for who I believe will win the Kentucky Oaks when I complete my final selection.


untapable kentucky oaks 2014 derby experiencesThe first filly to scrutinize is Untapable. I have observed this filly even prior to her win in the Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs, her run in the Breeders’ Cup and every major Kentucky Oaks prep race. She just keeps getting better.

Untapable has run her best races when she can be rated just off the pace-setting leaders. This suggests that the filly likes to have a target to run at, but does not like to be behind so many horses that she gets a lot of kick-back from the track in her face. She has good tactical speed so that she can break sharply and find her spot. She then relaxes and sets a pace where she is asked to quicken that pace with each increasing furlong.

In fact, Untapable’s worst effort occurred in the Breeders’ Cup where she was allowed to rate too far back into the field. Reviewing the race, you could tell that she was uncomfortable and was never able to settle into a cadence that allowed her to conserve energy.

Certainly trainer Steve Asmussen observed the same thing and he made certain to give the jockey instructions to get her closer to the pace in successive races and get her clear of too much track debris. She is undefeated since!

In the paddock, Untapable is flawless and knows exactly what to do – a professional race horse. She is extremely focused, attentive to her handlers and does not waste any energy by getting over-anxious or getting roused by the crowds.


The second filly I studied closely is Rosalind. I was also able to watch this filly develop as a two-year-old from her first days at the track at Churchill Downs. She also competed in the Pocahontas Stakes finishing a game third. But again, I had forgotten how good Rosalind’s race was at the Breeders’ Cup until I watched the race again several times.

The filly actually galloped out in front of the photo finish pair of She’s a Tiger and winner, Ria Antonia. With just a bit more distance or a split second move a bit earlier in the stretch, she would have won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies handily! The most telling was to examine still photos of Rosalind with her ears pricked forward as she crossed the wire – clearly believing she won – she just didn’t get the title in ink.

In sharp contract to Untapable, Rosalind does her best running in the final furlong. Rosalind’s closing style allows her to gallop comfortably behind the pack apparently not bothered by kick-back. She can observe changes in the race unfolding in front of her and she gains confidence as she passes rivals. This filly is able to drop into a different gear as she circles the field and then sprints to the wire with an amazing turn of foot.

Rosalind’s style has also become a consistent pattern and her most recent race in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland was a gutty performance where she came from way off the pace and six wide to hit the wire in a dead heat with Room Service. Trainer Kenny McPeek gave her a bit more time off over the winter to “grow up,” and he has added blinkers to her racing equipment so help her maintain focus in the midst of early traffic. Many will forget that her dirt races are as good as her polytrack effort. The Keeneland win will be the last impression for many who will dismiss her, but I will not!

Additionally, trainer McPeek has scheduled Rosalind’s races so that her third start of the season is the Kentucky Oaks. There is a bit of “magic” in the power of three in racing. The first race back off a lay-off is for fitness. There is just not a better way to get race fit than to race.

In the second race back, the horse is getting back in the groove – like the second shot at the free throw line or the second and third downs in football. Fitness is again honed in the second start. The third start, the horse is now in peak fitness and mentally ready. The old saying “third times a charm” is actually race track jargon and wise old handicappers knew when it was ripe to play their wagers.

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Colts Who Could Be Kentucky Derby Bound

Kentucky Derby 2014 First Turn Clubhouse Race Derby Experiences QuintEventsThe review of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for colts was not as telling since so many of those top-placed colts have been sidelined for injuries or are otherwise not competing.
A couple of horses to note include Medal Count. This colt showed early brilliance and he was in my picks at Breeders’ Cup. He is massive in size and I can only assume that trainer Dale Romans has had to use his best horsemanship and patience as this colt kept growing and adding weight to young bones and joints.

Medal Count showed he has worked through these issues with a stunning performance in the Transylvania Stakes just two weeks ago. He needs points to make the Kentucky Derby, so the Bluegrass Stakes this weekend is telling.

We Miss Artie is another colt that has shown consistency over time. He finished mid-pack in the Breeders’ Cup and in most of his dirt races. He seems to prefer polytrack as his wins have come over that surface at Keeneland and Turfway Park, but he comes to the Derby with his last race as a win and you can never discount the mental points given to a horse and his confidence with a victory.

His races might be “sneaky good” as the pedigree definitely supports the horse being able to go the Kentucky Derby distance. This might be one to keep in your exotics to hit the board.

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The Gentleman’s Guide on How to Dress for the Kentucky Derby


With the 2014 Kentucky Derby less than a month away, it’s time to start planning what you’re going to wear. While you might think that finding the perfect Kentucky Derby outfit would be the harder for the ladies and a cake walk for the gents, in realty, just as many factors come into play for the guys!

The Ladies Guide on How to Dress for the Kentucky Derby>>>

So fellas, don’t think we’ve left you out! Keep on reading so you know exactly what to bring with you to Louisville to have a rocking Kentucky Derby outfit, and be sure to bookmark this page so you can come back to it when you’re packing!

Sophistication Meets Southern Flair

One of the great things about dressing for the Kentucky Derby is that it gives you a chance to really go out of your element! Typically, when you’re thinking of a men’s outfit that is suave and sophisticated, you think of a suit in neutral colors. Guys are never really given the chance to rock bright colors and patterns in their everyday attire without getting some strange looks.

Luckily, this kind of southern flair is welcomed with open arms at the Kentucky Derby! So, check out these five tips that are going to help you select your most dapper Kentucky Derby outfit!

1. The Suit

RS25377 DT61487(2) 0Whether you want to go for a traditional material or seersucker, you can’t go wrong – after all, it’s more so about the colors! Don’t be afraid to try patterns such as stripes, checkers or pin points for your pants, jacket or both.

If you elect to wear a fully patterned suit or a patterned jacket or pants, be sure to pair it with a solid, complimentary colored button up shirt so your outfit isn’t too loud.

And if you’d rather select a suit that is bright and solid colored, find a bright patterned shirt to supply some texture to your attire!

As for shoes, you’ll want to choose a pair that is comfortable since you’ll spend majority of your days at Churchill on your feet. We’ve found loafers tend to complete this look the best.

2. The Tie

RS26873 DJD 9038Whether you prefer the necktie or the bowtie, a tie is essential to looking suave at the Kentucky Derby because it is what is going to bring your outfit full circle. If you’re selecting a patterned suit and jacket, it might be best to choose a solid color tie whose color compliments your pattern.

However, if you’ve chosen just a patterned jacket, pants or shirt, feel free to choose a brightly patterned tie!

Just remember to try and only have two different patterns in your Kentucky Derby outfit – your goal is to be bold, but you don’t want to lose the sophistication element.

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3. Accessories aren’t just for the Ladies

I know, I know. You hear accessories and you think that’s for the ladies! But nope, it’s time to accessorize, gents! How can you tack on the accessories to you outfit, you might ask?

Keep it simple! It’s easy to class up any attire with a fancy watch, and it IS the Kentucky Derby, so don’t rule out the idea of a tasteful hat! Find a hat that matches your suit or compliments the colors you’re wearing and you’re golden!

Another thing you’ll want to remember? Sunglasses! Although the Louisville weather is unpredictable, we’re hoping for sunshine and lots of it, so you’ll want to ensure your eyes are protected.

RS25171  MG 5588Final Words of Wisdom

Finally, as you’re selecting your Kentucky Derby outfit, remember that your confidence wearing it is what truly makes the attire! Take a little advice from the Kentucky Derby, “No matter what you wear, it’s how you wear it, gentlemen.”

And you’re ready! If you have any questions about whether or not you’re dapper enough for the Derby, or if you’re looking for more fashion tips, let us know in the comments below!

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