Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race that first originated in 1844 and known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”. It is a Grade I stakes race for 3 year old Thoroughbred horses, with a field size of 20 and is run over a distance of one and a quarter miles. It is the longest continually held sporting event in America and is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world with a winning purse of $2 million and best attended with a crowd of 155,000 people.

The Kentucky Derby is the first race of the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. It is also referred to as “The Run for the Roses” because of the blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to winner.

The current winner is Authentic, who won the delayed 2020 race.


When is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year. The Kentucky Derby Festival is held during the two weeks preceding the race and features events such as the largest fireworks display in North America, an airshow, parade, hot air balloon race, steamboat race and marathon.


Where is the Kentucky Derby?

The race has been held at the Churchill Downs horse racing complex in Louisville, Kentucky since it was first run in 1875.

Address: 700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208, United States


How do I get to the Kentucky Derby?

Churchill Downs is located on Central Avenue in south Louisville, approximately 4 miles from the downtown area.

Airport – Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport offers a number of flights across the United States. The airport is approximately 3 miles southwest of the racetrack with driving directions below. The slightly larger Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport is about 100 miles away and offers a greater number of destinations.

Thinking of going to Louisville? Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.

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Driving (I-264 East (from I-64E – New Albany and St. Louis) – Take Exit 9 – Taylor Blvd. Turn left traveling north on
Taylor Blvd. Turn right on Central Ave. and then right onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs.

Driving I-264 West (from I-64W – Lexington) – Take Exit 10 -Third St./Southern Pkwy. Turn right heading north on
Third St. or Southern Pkwy. to Central Ave. Turn left on Central Ave. Turn left onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs.

Driving I-65 North or from Airport (from Nashville) – Take I-264 West (Watterson Expressway) to Exit 10 – Third
St./Southern Pkwy. Turn right heading north on Third St. or Southern Pkwy. to Central Ave. Turn left on Central Ave. Turn left onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs.

Driving I-65 South (from Indianapolis/Downtown Louisville) – Take Exit 132 – Crittenden Drive (exit will veer to
the right). Continue straight onto Crittenden Drive. Take first right at Central Ave. intersection. Continue straight on Central Ave. Turn left onto Kentucky Derby Drive to enter Churchill Downs

Parking – Parking is free at Churchill Downs in the frontside parking lots off Kentucky Derby Drive, except during Kentucky Derby week when it must be reserved in advance. If you have not reserved, parking will be available at Cardinal Stadium a short walk away or the surrounding neighbourhoods. Further information on parking is available here.


How do I get tickets to the Kentucky Derby?

General admission tickets for the 2021 race started at $75. Further information and booking is available on the official website here.


Where to Stay in Louisville

Use TripAdvisor to find some great places to stay in Louisville by clicking here.


Further Information

Kentucky Derby Official Website

Churchill Downs Official Website

Kentucky Derby Festival Official Website

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