Choosing Seats for the Kentucky Derby
By Staff
Posted: 12/17/2018

A lot of the patrons of Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day are repeat customers. They have bought Kentucky Derby tickets in the past, from Churchill Downs, EBay, or a reputable third-party provider such as Derby


That said, there is also a contingent of people who want to cross the Derby off their bucket list, or have always wanted to simply have the thrill of being at the track for the “fastest two minutes in sports”. These first time customers may not always have a handle on where the best seats for their money are. The cheapest Kentucky Derby tickets are sold as “Infield” passes, which do not guarantee a seat and the most expensive tickets are in the Turf Club.


An “infield” ticket will get a fan into the track. Upwards of 70,000 people will be in the Churchill Downs infield on Derby Day, despite there not being seating and very little chance of actually seeing the race live, without the assistance of large screens. The infield can be an enjoyable party, especially for young people or those on a budget, but to really get into the Kentucky Derby experience, one should try to purchase a proper seat in which to view the races and have a “home base” to come back to after visiting concessions or placing a bet.


An economical way to enjoy the day would be to purchase grandstand seats. Grandstand tickets are mostly bench seating, with the exception of the third level. You can get a decent view of the track from the front stretch, but other than that there are no real amenities. Like most areas of the track on Derby Day, the grandstand area is very crowded and moving between your seat and concessions, the restroom, or betting windows can be problematic and time consuming.


A step up from the grandstand is clubhouse seating. Most of the seats in the clubhouse areas are folding chairs and decidedly more comfortable than the bleacher type seating offered in the grandstand areas. The clubhouse area offers a more convenient trip to the betting windows and concessions and some of the boxes have television monitors. These seats are great for fans who don’t want to break the bank open, but want a great view of the track and just a little more comfort. Keep in mind, sections closest to the finish line, whether in the grandstand or clubhouse, are going to be more costly.

If a person wants an even more convenient and lavish setting, he or she can try to find tickets in the Churchill Downs Lounge or Champions Bar & Lounge. These areas are considered to be premium as they have reserved table seats, betting areas and an upscale dining experience. These rooms also offer waiter services to ticket holders.

If you want to step up to the big time and rub shoulders with celebrities and the affluent you can consider buying your Kentucky Derby tickets in the Sky Terrace or Millionaire’s Row. These are premium seating areas where patrons can order their meals from a menu, take advantage of a full, top shelf bar and have easy access to private restrooms and betting windows. This is the area you may find celebrities such as Michael Jordan enjoying the Derby. These areas are great for entertaining guests and impressing clients!

Finally, we arrive at Turf Club and Stakes Room seating. If you are purchasing your Kentucky Derby tickets from a third-party provider like, and are looking for the ultimate experience, then you need to ask about Turf Club or Stakes Room seating. These are usually the most expensive seats at the track on Derby Day.  These areas are set up for comfort and convenience. Included in your ticket price is gourmet, top shelf food and drinks as well as open bar service and a great view of the finish line. If you have the financial means and are looking to make your experience at Churchill Downs as full as possible, the Turf Club or Stakes Room will deliver.

As you can see, there are a lot of great options to choose from when considering your purchase of Kentucky Derby tickets. Many ticket providers can also help you find parking passes, tickets to great pre and post Derby parties as well as access to top rated hotels and restaurants. Tickets and accommodations go faster than the thoroughbreds you will see on the first Saturday of May, so what are you waiting for? Start making your plans today!