Derby, Oaks General Admission Ticket Price Steady for Online, Advance Purchase; Higher for Event Day Walk-Up

Mar 09, 2012 John Asher

There will be no change in the price of general admission tickets for the 138th runnings of Churchill DownsKentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Kentucky Oaks if tickets are purchased online and in advance of those events, but the ticket price will be higher for walk-up purchases at admission gates on those respective days.

            Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks general admission and tickets and seating for all racing dates and special events scheduled for the historic track’s April 28-July 1 Spring Meet are available for purchase through Churchill Downs’ online box office at The special event roster includes the spectacular ‘Opening Night” celebration on Saturday, April 28; three more “Downs After Dark” night racing sessions, including the first running of the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap under the lights on Saturday, June 16; the third annual “Taste of Derby” party on Thursday, May 3; and the return of Mother’s Day dining beneath the Twin Spires on Sunday, May 13.

The general admission price for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5 will remain at $40 for tickets purchased in advance either through or at the track’s Gate 1 box office, which is scheduled to open in mid-April.  Kentucky Oaks general admission will remain at $25 for advance purchase either through the online box office or at Gate 1.  A special low convenience fee of $1 will be assessed on each advance general admission ticket purchased at either location.  The convenience fee for reserved seating for both events is $5 per ticket.

The walk-up price for a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby on Derby Day, Saturday, May 5, will be $50, an increase of $10 from 2011.  General admission tickets to the Kentucky Oaks purchased at any of the track’s gates on Friday, May 4, will be cost $30, an increase of $5 from last year. 

The increase in price for day-of-event walk-up purchases for general admission to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks is the first for either event since a $5 increase for both in 2001.

Fans still looking for a seat at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby and Oaks rather than the “standing room only” status provided by general admission tickets can still purchase Infield Club seating for both days at  That ticket includes a reserved seat for both days in sections 124 or 125 with on-site hospitality and food provided in the Infield Club.

The 2012 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs will open under the lights with the “Opening Night” program that launches both the 39-day racing session including Kentucky Derby Week.  The first “Opening Night” attracted 38,142 fans a year ago – a record night racing crowd and the largest attendance in track history for a racing session other than a Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks or a visit by the Breeders’ Cup.  The $200,000-added The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial, a Grade III event that is the final major prep for the Kentucky Derby, is the featured racing attraction.

Three “Downs After Dark” night racing events are scheduled during the second half of the meet and, for the first time, all will be conducted on Saturday evenings and include stakes races among their highlights.  The 2012 “Downs After Dark” dates include:

  • Saturday, June 2 – Three $100,000-added stakes races – the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap, the Aristides and the Winning Colors – are among the evening’s highlights;
  • Saturday, June 16 – The first nighttime running of the Grade I, $400,000 Stephen Foster Handicap tops a racing schedule that also includes three other major stakes races in the Fleur de Lis Handicap, the Matt Winn and the Regret.  Stephen Foster night will be the greatest display of racing talent in the history of “Downs After Dark”; 
  • Saturday, June 30 – The return of “The White Party’ and the $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes for 2-year-olds – an early prep for the 2013 Kentucky Derby – top the entertainment schedule for this ‘Downs After Dark’ celebration during the Spring Meet’s final weekend.
  • Ticket Info

    Sign up for race updates and more


Thank You To Our Sponsors


Missed something? Catch up on past Churchill Downs news