2019 Kentucky Derby: Everything You Need to Know

Widely acknowledged as “the greatest two minutes in sports,” this beacon of competition and Southern tradition actually extends far beyond the riveting, rapid-speed lap around the track at Churchill Downs.

From food, to fashion, to the history that lives and breathes in-between – Ticketmaster has all the essential info for fans looking to make the most of this year’s Derby Week live from Louisville, Kentucky.

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Where and when does the Kentucky Derby take place?

Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky – since 1875.

Gates open at 8 am ET on Oaks and Derby race days.

There is no will call ticketing and no re-entry.

Click here for additional information on entry and gate times, and learn even more about the history and traditions grown from decades of Churchill Downs racing.


How can I get ready for the race?

Churchill Downs actively updates the standings of the horses lined up for the Derby, provides instructions on how to place wagers on the race, and provides great fashion pointers for the big day, too.


Key Dates + Events

  • Saturday, April 27 – Opening Night presented by Budweiser: A night featuring and celebrating local arts organizations in Louisville including food, drink, and thoroughbred races around the track. Purchase tickets here.
  • Tuesday, April 30 – Champions Day: An event being held for the second time as part of Derby Week this year, fans can meet famous jockeys and learn more about the history and sport of the Kentucky Derby while supporting care for the animals. Purchase tickets here.
  • Tuesday, April 30 through Thursday, May 2 – Dawn at the Downs presented by LaCroix: From 6:30 to 8:30 am throughout Derby Week, fans can get unique access to Churchill Downs for a Kentucky breakfast while the horses are guided through warm-ups, and introduced to the crowd with their racing history. Purchase tickets here.
  • Thursday, May 2 – Taste of Derby presented by Angry Orchard: try out regional food specialities, the best culinary talent from around the country, and wine pairings all benefiting local Louisville charity Dare To Care Food Bank.
  • Thursday, May 2 – Thurby: An all-day affair celebrating aspects of Kentucky pride with warm-up races woven into the agenda, this year’s event is a tribute to Louisville native and journalistic legend Hunter S. Thompson. Purchase tickets here.

For even more information on the happenings of Derby Week, check out The First Timer’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby directly from Churchill Downs.


What is Kentucky Oaks?

Kentucky Oaks is an accompanying race series that features female horses, taking place the day before the Derby on May 3. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and various activities benefit women-centric causes like the annual Survivors Parade, which honors breast and ovarian cancer survivors in partnership with the Breast Health Program at Norton Cancer Institute. Click here for more information, and click here to purchase tickets.



Fans can purchase single-day tickets for Oaks and the Derby, broken out by section on the race track:

To learn more about seating options and denoted sections at Churchill Downs, click here.

Can’t make it or need to switch your admission to another event? Visit Ticketmaster’s Verified Resale Marketplace – your official source for safe and secure ticketing outside of general onsale.


Cross this iconic event of your bucket list – make a day (or two) of it at the 2019 Kentucky Derby and witness another thrilling chapter in sports history.

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