The Ultimate First-Timer’s Derby Guide (by a local)

There is nothing as heart-poundingly exciting as watching your money sprint away from you down a track. Err, I mean a horse. That’s what I meant. Horse racing is SO thrilling, and cheering on your horse with a screaming crowd during the final stretch at the Kentucky Derby is incredibly exciting – even if you only bet $2!

So break out your biggest hat and your boldest suit, because the Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday in May.

But this is no simple horse race, y’all: the Kentucky Derby is the culmination of the world’s fastest horses paired with some of the world’s richest people in some of the most wonderfully ridiculous outfits you’ve ever seen. (We say that with deep affection: Derby fashion is possibly our favorite part of the entire event!)

With more than 150,000 people packing the stands each year, attending the Kentucky Derby means you’re guaranteed to see some questionable fashion choices, spot a few celebrities, drink a refreshing Mint Julep (or three), and watch very small jockeys in brightly colored silks ride sleek, shiny, fast horses in the “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. And, hopefully, have a blast!

But going to the Kentucky Derby for the first time can be super confusing. We know you have questions, such as just how big should my hat be (very big) and are there ways to save money at the Derby (yes)? In our ultimate Kentucky Derby guide for first-timers, you’ll find everything you need to know – and maybe a bit extra – about attending the “Run for the Roses!”