Kentucky Derby Insider’s Guide

Dress Code

Being one of the more stylish sporting events of the year, it is important to know what attire is acceptable when attending the Kentucky Derby.

Business casual is required for the Jockey Club and Finish Line suites, Aristides & Stakes rooms, and the Turf Club.

Business casual is best described as the following:

  • Jackets and Blazers, vests, collared shirts, and sweaters, dresses, pantsuits and slacks

Denim, jeans, shorts and tennis shoes are not allowed

Millionaire’s Row, Matt Winn Dining Room and premium indoor box seats require Casual Attire:

  • Jackets optional, blazers vests, collared shirts, and sweaters, dresses, pantsuits, slack, golf shorts, dress shorts, dress jeans, and capris

Twin Spires Gold Rooms require casual clothing that includes:

  • Collared shirts and golf shirts, slacks, dress jeans and dress shorts

Torn or frayed clothing is inappropriate and not allowed.

Race Day Times

Gates open at 8:00 a.m. for the celebrated races. The first race takes place at 11:00 a.m. The Kentucky Derby begins at 6:34 p.m. and the last race is at 8:05 p.m.

Derby Do’s and Don’ts

As you prepare for your race day trip to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, security only allows certain items to be carried inside of the race track. Please note all items are subject for search by authorities.

Items permitted by Churchill Downs at the Kentucky Derby include:

  • Food items in clear plastic bags (maximum size 18” X 18” – no trash bags)*
  • “Box” lunches in clear plastic bags or containers (maximum size 18″ X 18″ – no trash bags)
  • Water and soft drinks – plastic bottles only (sealed, clear and unopened)
  • Purses, but none larger than 12” in any dimension (subject to search)
  • Baby/diaper bags – only if accompanied by a child (subject to search)
  • Small cameras – none equipped with detachable lenses or lenses of 6” or more **
  • Binoculars
  • Sunscreen (non-glass containers only)
  • Small personal music systems, radios and televisions** (No boom boxes)
  • Cellular phones, smartphones and tablets**
  • Seat cushions smaller than 15″X15″ that do not contain metal arms and/or backs, zippers, pockets or flaps
  • Strollers (ONLY if carrying a child)
  • Chairs (Gate 3 ONLY)
  • Blankets & tarpaulins (Gates 1 & 3 ONLY)

* Limit of two bags per person

** Patrons could be required to turn on electronic items

Items not  permitted by Churchill Downs at the Kentucky Derby:

  • COOLERS (Styrofoam coolers, ice available at infield purchase points)
  • CANS (any size or type), glass bottles or containers
  • POP UP OR PATRON TENTS – no poles or stakes of any kind
  • Laptop Computers and Camcorders
  • Cameras with detachable lenses, or equipped with a lens that is 6” or longer
  • Tripods
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Purses larger than 12″ in any dimension
  • Grills
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Illegal Substances
  • Thermoses
  • Backpacks
  • Luggage (includes briefcases)
  • Duffel bags
  • Wagons
  • Umbrellas
  • Weapons (including knives)
  • Fireworks, noisemakers, air horns, laser lights/pointers, mace or pepper sprays
  • Remote controlled aircraft
  • Animals (with the exception of service animals for guests with disabilities)
  • Any items deemed dangerous and/or inappropriate

How to wager

Ever been to a horse race and wondered what a Box Trifecta was? What about a Wheel? Well look no further, On Point has prepared you a betting guide to help you win your Kentucky Derby fortune!

Before you wager it is beneficial to be familiar with terms associated with betting options.

Win– You only collect if your horse finishes first

Place– You collect the place payout if your horse finishes first or second

Show– You collect the show payout if your horse finishes first, second, or third

Across the Board– Equal bets to win, place and show on a single horse

Exacta– Pick the horses that come in first and second in a race in exact order

Trifecta– Pick the first three finishers in the race in exact order

Superfecta– Pick the first four finishers in the race in exact order

Daily Double– Pick the winners of two consecutive races

Pick 3– Pick the winners of three races in a row

Pick 4 -Pick the winners of four races in a row

Pick 6– Pick the winner of six races in a row

Parlay– Pick horses to win, place or show from consecutive or non-consecutive races. If your first selection wins, your winning amount automatically is bet on your next selection. Parlay is allowed up to six races. You collect when your entire selections win.

If you are interested in increasing your number of outcomes and chances of collecting, you can boxwheel or key a horse as opposed to making individual wagers.

When you Box a bet, you collect if your selected horses finish in any order. In an Exacta Box, you combine your picks to finish first or second in every possible combination For example a 1-2-3 Exacta Box covers the following combinations: 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, 2-3, 3-1, 3-2.

Exacta BoxA $1 BetA $2 Bet
3- Horse Box$6.00$12.00
4- Horse Box$12.00$24.00
5- Horse Box$20.00$40.00
6- Horse Box$30.00$60.00
7- Horse Box$42.00$84.00

Trifecta wagers can also be boxed. You pay per combination. To calculate how much you will pay, use this formula: Your cost= $ Amount of wager x #of bets. Example: $1 Trifecta Box with 4 Horses = $24.

Wheel combines one horse with all the other horses in the race. An “Exacta Wheel #7 with all” covers the following combinations (in an 8 horse field): 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, 7-5, 7-6, 7-8. If this was a $2 bet, the total would be $14.

Partial Wheel allows you to pick only some of the possible combinations. For example: “Exacta Partial Wheel #7 with 1, 2, 3” wins and 1, 2, or 3 place.

Exact (Partial) WheelA $1 BetA $2 Bet
Wheel Horse w/ 3 Horses$3$6
Wheel Horse w/ 4 Horses$4$8
Wheel Horse w/ 5 Horses$5$10
Wheel Horse w/ 6 Horses$6$12

It is important to look at the betting options before a race, which can be found on the top of a program. Guest Service Centers at the Churchill Downs can also provide wagering information for free.


IRS Regulations

The IRS requires reporting of payouts on wagers that exceed odds of more than 300 to 1 and pay in excess of $600. Regulations also require automatic withholding on IRS payouts that exceed $5,000. There is no withholding on payouts less than $5,000.

The IRS requires the purchaser of reportable wagers to provide Churchill Downs with the following information that is necessary to complete official tax documents:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of current address
  • Social Security number
  • Purchaser’s signature attesting to ownership of the ticket

Churchill Downs will ONLY pay reportable winnings to ticket purchasers who supply this required information. Churchill Downs will not pay reportable winnings to any individual without proper documentation nor to any individual other than the initial purchaser of the ticket.

In the instance of patron disputes involving reportable winnings, Churchill Downs reserves the right to decide the issuance of tax forms in compliance with federal rules.

Still have questions? Contact our knowledgeable Experience Specialists to get more information.


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