Louisville Stories and Tips

Churchill Downs on Derby Day

Riding to the Gate Photo, Louisville, Kentucky

Boy, when you first see those spires, you know you've arrived. I was actually surprised by the urban surroundings. I expected Churchill Downs to be a little more out in the boonies. It kind of sits in the middle of something akin to an industrial park.

When we walked in, there were just people everywhere. I mean everywhere. I'm glad I went just once, but I'm not sure anything could persuade me to tackle all those people again.

There are actually 10 races on Derby Day. We arrived around 11 after spending the moring at the Derby breakfast in Frankfurt, KY. There's one race each hour, each race is less than 5 minutes, so it's a long day.

The best way to fill the time is people watching. Certainly, the hats are the highlight, and then there's the occasional glimpse of someone that you just know has the primo seats on Millionaires' Row. I didn't see anyone famous there, but I saw in the paper the next day that Sarah Michelle Gellar (I'm a big Buffy fan) was there.

I was also surprised that not everyone was dressed to the hilt for the Derby. The attire ranged from prom-dressy to jeans and a t-shirt.

Our seats were in the grandstand, which was positioned just at the starting gate. Which means that the Derby started right in front of us, and finished right in front of us. I've got to say that I was a little emotional as the horses took off out of the gate. And my mom was so excited that she had placed a bet on the winner, Monarchos.

Been to this destination?

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