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Old 01-07-2009, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14 posts, read 50,797 times
Reputation: 18

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I am looking for some advice regarding the Derby May 2nd. I want to surprise my wife for her birthday. Not looking to break the bank on tickets. I have heard you can purchase tickets the day of, for general admission or the infield for around $40 a piece? If I purchase tickets like this are they the same that I would get from a broker for $100? I also read that parking is a pain, and to utilize the shuttle from the fairgrounds. I have started looking at hotels and see that during derby time the rates in Louisville are high. Is it cheaper in Lexington? is the drive bad to get to Churchill Downs?

These are a few of my questions. Any help would be great. Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Pewee Valley
72 posts, read 203,625 times
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I just read in the paper yesterday that TARC is going to discontinue the Derby shuttles. Church Hill Downs my contract with someone else to provide the service, but I think a lot of things are still up in the air.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: The Bluegrass State
330 posts, read 620,670 times
Reputation: 196
My comment is that I hate the Derby so don't go.

I was in Law School in Lousiville and they had finals, every year, the week of the Derby. The Law School was about a mile from Churchill Downs. I lived about three blocks from the school. The combination of factors caused my blood pressure to spike upwards.

Seriously, traffic is a nightmare on Derby day, so I recommend by all means to use some form of mass transit that day.

As to hotel, the rates in Louisville will be nightmarish for the Derby. I would suggest you look at something south of Louisville on I-65 (Elizabethtown for example)and drive up to the fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds are easily accessible from I-65

As to the purchase of tickets, I can't help you as I've never been to the Derby.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:19 PM
 
6,295 posts, read 13,176,543 times
Reputation: 2789
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsruss6399 View Post
I am looking for some advice regarding the Derby May 2nd. I want to surprise my wife for her birthday. Not looking to break the bank on tickets. I have heard you can purchase tickets the day of, for general admission or the infield for around $40 a piece? If I purchase tickets like this are they the same that I would get from a broker for $100? I also read that parking is a pain, and to utilize the shuttle from the fairgrounds. I have started looking at hotels and see that during derby time the rates in Louisville are high. Is it cheaper in Lexington? is the drive bad to get to Churchill Downs?

These are a few of my questions. Any help would be great. Thanks!
What kind of person are you? The infield is like a college football tailgate with drunk college kids (and the young at heart). I see you are in Iowa. Think an Iowa football tailgate but waaaay crazier. General Admission may be up to 50 this year, and they can be bought the day of. There is also a quieter side of the infield, completely opposite where the college kids hang at the third turn, but you will pass to them to get to it. They drive in from every college within 500 miles of Louisville for this. On the other hand, you can find nice grandstand tickets and have decent seats for around 250 apiece if you act fast and now. If not, just show up the day of and buy "infield tickets the day of." If you think the infield is too rowdy, take the tunnel under the track to the grandstand side and hang out in the paddock area. You will still be able to bet and will be able to mix with the more fashionably dressed people, but there are many restricted areas you will not get access to. You also have no seat with a view of the track. Think of this as "standing room only" tickets.


I wouldn't stay as far as lexington, that will make for a heck of a commute, plus it wont save you much in many cases. For example, the Lexington Hyatt, one of the nices hotels there, is charging 300 per night that weekend! If I were you, I would plan on either anteing up for a hotel, or looking on craislist. Beware all hotels in the Louisville metro area require a 3 night minimum stay (Thurs to Sat for most people):


(found one in La Grange, a NE suburb of Louisville, for 220 per night)
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts Hotel Reservations | First Time Here? (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/hi/1/en/rates/lagky?ias=y&searchStartFrom=ebsmq&fromSearchResult =yes&start=11&viewHotelPackagesFlag=false - broken link)

Or, you can start looking on craigslist.
Also, the bed and breakfasts are very nice, and if you can get one for a reasonable price, around 300 a night, it may be worth it for you and your wife.

Louisville Bed and Breakfast Association

Also, start checking craigslist. Someone may rent you their home or small apartmemt for a decent price.

Either way, no matter WHERE you stay, do not drive to the event. Your best bet is to actually park downtown in a public parking garage.

Here is a list of some city owned ones.

http://www.louisvilleky.gov/PARC/


There are also many private owned ones and none will charge more than 15 dollars or so for 24 hours.

From there you can take the TARC bus shuttles from the designated locations downtown around 4th and Liberty (dont quote me on that intersection). Its cheap and easy and the buses have special access to drop you off rclose so you wont have to walk 1-2 miles like many people! The Fairgrounds is a very poorly designed setup. Plus, being downtown, you can join in some of the celebrations at downtown restaurants and night clubs after if you wish.

TARC: (http://www.ridetarc.org - broken link) Call them and ask them about that day.

Any more questions, please PM me.
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Old 01-09-2009, 06:45 AM
 
Location: The Bluegrass State
330 posts, read 620,670 times
Reputation: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by stx12499 View Post
The infield is like a college football tailgate with drunk college kids (and the young at heart).
I second that. Though I have never been to the Derby, I have been to Court the week after Derby, IIRC they have a special Court day on the Sunday after the Derby for all the new cases coming out of the Derby. It was always entertaining, to say the least. If you can get a grandstand instead of infield, I would highly recommend it.

Also, leave yourself plenty of time to get to Churchill Downs and to actually get in to the Downs. Security has always been tight and expect a search of whatever you carry in.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14 posts, read 50,797 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by stx12499 View Post
What kind of person are you? The infield is like a college football tailgate with drunk college kids (and the young at heart). I see you are in Iowa. Think an Iowa football tailgate but waaaay crazier. General Admission may be up to 50 this year, and they can be bought the day of. There is also a quieter side of the infield, completely opposite where the college kids hang at the third turn, but you will pass to them to get to it. They drive in from every college within 500 miles of Louisville for this. On the other hand, you can find nice grandstand tickets and have decent seats for around 250 apiece if you act fast and now. If not, just show up the day of and buy "infield tickets the day of." If you think the infield is too rowdy, take the tunnel under the track to the grandstand side and hang out in the paddock area. You will still be able to bet and will be able to mix with the more fashionably dressed people, but there are many restricted areas you will not get access to. You also have no seat with a view of the track. Think of this as "standing room only" tickets.


I wouldn't stay as far as lexington, that will make for a heck of a commute, plus it wont save you much in many cases. For example, the Lexington Hyatt, one of the nices hotels there, is charging 300 per night that weekend! If I were you, I would plan on either anteing up for a hotel, or looking on craislist. Beware all hotels in the Louisville metro area require a 3 night minimum stay (Thurs to Sat for most people):


(found one in La Grange, a NE suburb of Louisville, for 220 per night)
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts Hotel Reservations | First Time Here? (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/hi/1/en/rates/lagky?ias=y&searchStartFrom=ebsmq&fromSearchResult =yes&start=11&viewHotelPackagesFlag=false - broken link)

Or, you can start looking on craigslist.
Also, the bed and breakfasts are very nice, and if you can get one for a reasonable price, around 300 a night, it may be worth it for you and your wife.

Louisville Bed and Breakfast Association

Also, start checking craigslist. Someone may rent you their home or small apartmemt for a decent price.

Either way, no matter WHERE you stay, do not drive to the event. Your best bet is to actually park downtown in a public parking garage.

Here is a list of some city owned ones.

LouisvilleKy.gov - PARC - Home Page


There are also many private owned ones and none will charge more than 15 dollars or so for 24 hours.

From there you can take the TARC bus shuttles from the designated locations downtown around 4th and Liberty (dont quote me on that intersection). Its cheap and easy and the buses have special access to drop you off rclose so you wont have to walk 1-2 miles like many people! The Fairgrounds is a very poorly designed setup. Plus, being downtown, you can join in some of the celebrations at downtown restaurants and night clubs after if you wish.

TARC: (http://www.ridetarc.org - broken link) Call them and ask them about that day.

Any more questions, please PM me.
Yeah- we have season tix to Iowa and tailgaiting is pretty crazy. Not sure if I want this experince to be like a home game . You said that there is a quiteter side of the infield, is that the third turn? We are in our late 20's so not looking to party as hard. Is this area more laid back and enjoyable? From the Paddock area can you see the course or a couple of the turns? I think my wife would enjoy wearing a "hat" but not going all out if you know what I mean.

Thanks for the heads up on the public parking downtown. Probably the route we are going to go. xxmagex mentioned looking at hotels in Elizabethtown. Rates seem more reasonable for hotels in the greater Louisville area compared to staying in city proper. I have been comapring room rates on all the typical travel search engines. I am assuming I need to call the hotel direct and ask about Derby policies.

Are the lines long to buy general admission tix? Anybody know what the Paddock area is like?
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:38 AM
 
Location: The Bluegrass State
330 posts, read 620,670 times
Reputation: 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsruss6399 View Post
Thanks for the heads up on the public parking downtown. Probably the route we are going to go. xxmagex mentioned looking at hotels in Elizabethtown. Rates seem more reasonable for hotels in the greater Louisville area compared to staying in city proper. I have been comapring room rates on all the typical travel search engines. I am assuming I need to call the hotel direct and ask about Derby policies.
I might suggest you also look across the river, particularly if downtown is your place of parking, in Indiana. Jeffersonville and New Albany are both within minutes of downtown Louisville.
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Old 01-10-2009, 03:24 PM
 
6,295 posts, read 13,176,543 times
Reputation: 2789
Quote:
Originally Posted by xxmagex View Post
I might suggest you also look across the river, particularly if downtown is your place of parking, in Indiana. Jeffersonville and New Albany are both within minutes of downtown Louisville.
Those inner ring Indiana suburbs typically fill and sell out fast, but he needs to broaden his search to all of Southern Indiana, with most suburbs being closer to downtown Louisville than Etown. Places like Scottsburg and Corydon come to mind. Fan out to the next level of cities from there. For example, Seymour, IN is almost just as close as Elizabethtown, and most tourists and locals alike are not wise enough to realize Louisville is a bistate metro area, with over 300,000 people living in its Indiana suburbs.

Frankly, if you stay that far out, you are really missing much of what Derby is about: staying in the city, enjoying its culture, dining and going out to bars, visiting museums, pubs on Bardstown Road, seeing the Derby events and celebrity parties with national media, historic Old Louisville, boutiques on Frankfort avenue, the all night bar parties at Fourth Street Live, etc (bars do not close that weekend). This is why you must strongly consider the craigslist ads and at least trying all the bed and breakfasts.

The third turn is where the college kids hang. Lots of booze, some pot gets sneaked in, and people looking for girls to flash (which seems to happen less since I first went 4 years ago. The 1st turn is calmer, but frankly, you can't really see a horse from the infield, except on the jumbotron. Imagine being at an Iowa game, and trying to watch it from a large field behind the player's bench with all the guys in front of you, etc. Also, you won't want to wear nice clothes in the infield, it is usually a muddy mess.

The lines to get in the infield are not bad, especially if you get there around 10 AM. If you plan on getting dressed up and walking over to the paddock, be advised you may have to walk through crowds of people in Tshirts and shorts (or shirts off), then go under the track in a tunnel, where you will come back behind the grandstand. The paddock is where the horses are groomed and prepped for the race, and there is no view of the track, but a nice jumbotron. The majority of pepople in the paddock will be dressed up with hats, etc, and you can bet from here.

Botton line. If you want to see the horses "live" running around the track, you will have to ante up for the grandstand seats. If not watching on the TV from the paddock is a viable option, as you will still get to dress up and get a little of the pomp and circumstance, if only you can bear the walk from the infield. For example, your wife may want to wear a shorter dress and bring a change of shoes depending on if it has rained the week before derby. You may want to call Churchill, but I believe the only way to get the general admission (ie 40-50 dollar) "seats" (actually standing room only) is to enter through the infield. You must remember that over twice as many people attend this event as the largest football game you have ever been to.

That said, the infield is a blast. Tons of fun for people in their 20's or the young at heart, just don't plan on getting dressed up. Tshirts are the rule of thumb, if not goofy outfits, zoot suits, or Halloween looking costumes.

Again, also remember the Derby is by no means a one day event. It is the culmination of a 2 week festival, with a massive amount of things to do, as well as many more non "official" events (ie not listed in the website below) during that festive time of year in Louisville:

http://www.kdf.org/about-us/default.asp (broken link)
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:20 AM
 
Location: Kentucky
6,749 posts, read 19,553,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stx12499 View Post
.

That said, the infield is a blast. Tons of fun for people in their 20's or the young at heart, just don't plan on getting dressed up. Tshirts are the rule of thumb, if not goofy outfits, zoot suits, or Halloween looking costumes.

Again, also remember the Derby is by no means a one day event. It is the culmination of a 2 week festival, with a massive amount of things to do, as well as many more non "official" events (ie not listed in the website below) during that festive time of year in Louisville:

Kentucky Derby Festival:: About Us - Mission Statement (http://www.kdf.org/about-us/default.asp - broken link)
I've not been but from what I have seen, it reminds me of Mardi Gras in the infield lol
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
14 posts, read 50,797 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks for all the responses. I am seeking out the best deal on hotels and I think we are going to try the paddock area for our first time.
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