Hi! I would love to surprise my BFF w Derby tickets for her bday so we can have a girls' trip. All I can afford are GA tickets. Who out here as gone to the Derby w GA tickets and can you offer me any tips?
Is it anything like a Kenny Chesney concert when you have Sandbar tickets (floor space) so first one at door has the best chance of grabbing the best space by the stage?
Is there any way to "save your spot" once you get into the infield?
I went way back in '82 and '88 with a big group and of course we were in the infield. We brought blankets, folding chairs, coolers, etc They will check your cooler for alcohol and throw it out. It is a huge crazy party. You hardly see the horses and end up watching it on the big screens or TV's that people brought with them.
We hid our alcohol: small rum bottle in box of ritz crackers, vodka in orange juice, amaretto in milk, etc. I had fun, but swore I wouldn't go back unless I had a real seat - I haven't been back yet.....
Last edited by Heart's Journey; Feb. 23, 2015 at 05:30 PM.
Churchill Downs has to be the worst track in America for general admission. It can be hard to find a good vantage point without a seat on a busy stakes day, let alone Kentucky Derby day. They don't have a big apron like most other tracks (it's all seating for derby day), the paddock area is small, and there isn't much of a view from the grandstand unless you are in a seat.
As far as it being like a concert-- sort of. If you get there when the gates open, you have a *chance* at claiming a spot with a track view or a spot with a view of the paddock. But, you'll need to stand at that spot all day to keep it. If you're with a group of people, it's possible to leave in flights and hold your spot for a bit, but when it gets close to race time there are just too many people to get in and out.
And it gets crowded. I mean really crowded. Crowds don't bother me, but some people (like my husband) can't take that. If you don't want to stand in a crowd shoulder to shoulder with strangers all day, you're much better off bringing in chairs, blankets, and food and setting up camp in the infield.
I totally will not deter you, but it's a looooong day! I've done both-- with a seat and the infield. It's quite the experience either way! I'd do GA every year if it wasn't so expensive-- paying $50+ just to be there is too steep IMO.
Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO
Maybe do the Kentucky Oaks instead? Still gonna be a huge crowd, but not the rowdy drunks. You can probably get decent grandstand tix for a not too bad price, so you'll have a seat. Baltimore does a HUGE Black Eyed Susan day that is really geared towards women, and it's much more fun that Preakness because you have all the great races but not the crazy crowd. I know that I like to have somewhere to park my butt when my feet get tired, so we usually spring for seats when we go to the races on a big day.