Churchill Downs has opened its on-site ticket office for convenient walk-up purchase of tickets for the upcoming April 28-July 1 Spring Meet that include general admission tickets to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and Kentucky Oaks (GI); a limited number of tickets for seating in Section 125 that include on-site hospitality in the Infield Club on either Derby or Oaks Day; and the third annual “Taste of Derby” party on Thursday, May 3.
The on-track box office at Churchill Downs is located at the Gate 1 entrance off Central Avenue, adjacent to the Kentucky Derby Museum. It was open for the first time in 2012 on Monday, April 16 and will open again this week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (all times Eastern) on Wednesday, April 18, and Friday, April 20. The on-site box office will operate next week on a Monday-through-Saturday schedule that includes Monday-Friday hours of 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and special hours on Saturday, April 28 – the date of the Spring Meet’s “Opening Night” – of noon-to-9 p.m.
During Kentucky Derby and Oaks Week, the on-track box office will be open from Monday, April 23, to Thursday, April 25, with daily hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The price of general admission to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks remains unchanged since 2001 for tickets purchased in advance, but walk-up tickets on the respective days of those events will cost more.
The general admission price for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5 will remain at $40 for tickets purchased in advance either through the on-track box office or the online box office at www.ChurchillDowns.com/tickets. 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 Saturday, May 5, will be $50, an increase of $10 from 2011, and general admission tickets to the Kentucky Oaks purchased at any of the track’s gates on Friday, May 4, will be $30, an increase of $5 from last year.
Fans still looking for a seat at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby or Oaks rather than the “standing room only” status provided by general admission tickets can, for a limited time, purchase some of the limited seating remaining in Section 125, which includes access to the Infield Club. That ticket also includes food served in the Infield Club and is now available as a single-day Oaks or Derby option. Those seats are available for purchase through April 20 at either the on-site box office or through www.ChurchillDowns.com/tickets.
The Section 125 tickets had previously been available for purchase only in a two-day, Oaks-Derby package.
The schedule of on-track events with tickets available for purchase either at Churchill Downs or online is headed by 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.
Tickets can still be purchased at either the on-track box office or online for the Taste of Derby party, an exciting addition to Kentucky Derby tradition that returns for its third year on Thursday, May 3 at Louisville Executive Aviation at Bowman Field. Award-winning chefs and racing personalities join Derby and Oaks fans at this great event that will benefit Blessings in a Backpack, Taste of Derby’s official charity partner. Information on this incredible evening is available online at www.kentuckyderby.com/tasteofderby.
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.