The Kentucky Derby 2023 is just around the corner, and horse racing fans from around the world are eagerly waiting for this prestigious event. Known as the “Run for the Roses,” this annual event has been held at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky, since 1875. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
If you are a horse racing fan and are planning to attend the Kentucky Derby 2023, this ultimate guide is for you. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the event, from the history of the Kentucky Derby to the best places to stay and dine while in Louisville.
The History of the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held sporting event in the United States. It was first run in 1875, and since then, it has become one of the most important events in the world of horse racing. The race is run on the first Saturday in May and is open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds.
Over the years, the Kentucky Derby has seen many great champions, including Secretariat, who set the record for the fastest time in 1973. Other notable winners include American Pharoah, who won the Triple Crown in 2015, and Justify, who did the same in 2018.
The Kentucky Derby Experience
Attending the Kentucky Derby is a unique experience that every horse racing fan should have at least once in their lifetime. The atmosphere at Churchill Downs is electric, with thousands of people dressed in their finest attire, sipping on mint juleps, and cheering on their favorite horses.
If you are planning to attend the Kentucky Derby 2023, here are some tips to make the most of your experience:
- Get there early: Gates open at 8:00 am on race day, and you will want to arrive early to secure a good spot. The infield can get crowded quickly, so it’s best to get there as early as possible.
- Dress to impress: The Kentucky Derby is a fashion event as much as a horse race. Men usually wear suits or sports jackets, while women wear colorful dresses and elaborate hats.
- Try a mint julep: This traditional drink is made with bourbon, sugar, water, and mint. It is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and a must-try for anyone attending the event.
- Bet on the horses: Betting on the horses is part of the Kentucky Derby experience. You can place your bets at the track or online before the race. Just remember to gamble responsibly.
Where to Stay
If you are planning to attend the Kentucky Derby, you will need to find a place to stay in Louisville. There are many options available, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly motels. Here are some of the best places to stay in Louisville during the Kentucky Derby:
- The Brown Hotel: This historic hotel is located in downtown Louisville and is known for its luxurious rooms and world-class dining options.
- The Seelbach Hilton: This elegant hotel is located just a few blocks from Churchill Downs and has hosted many celebrities over the years.
- The Galt House Hotel: This hotel is located on the banks of the Ohio River and offers stunning views of the city. It is also home to several restaurants and bars.
Where to Dine
Louisville is known for its Southern cuisine, and there are many great restaurants to choose from during your visit. Here are some of the best places to dine in Louisville:
- Jack Fry’s: This restaurant is a Louisville institution and is known for its classic American cuisine and cozy atmosphere.
- Proof on Main: This restaurant is located in the 21c Museum Hotel and offers a menu of contemporary American cuisine, as well as a curated selection of art and design exhibitions.
- The Silver Dollar: This restaurant is located in the Clifton neighborhood and is known for its Southern-style barbecue and whiskey selection.
- Butchertown Grocery: This restaurant is located in the Butchertown neighborhood and offers a menu of modern American cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients.
Other Things to Do in Louisville
While the Kentucky Derby is the main event in Louisville, there are many other things to do and see in the city. Here are some other attractions to check out during your visit:
- Kentucky Derby Museum: This museum is located on the grounds of Churchill Downs and offers exhibits on the history of the Kentucky Derby and the sport of horse racing.
- Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory: This museum is dedicated to the history of baseball and the Louisville Slugger bat. Visitors can take a factory tour and even create their own personalized bat.
- Muhammad Ali Center: This museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali, one of Louisville’s most famous residents.
- Louisville Zoo: This zoo is home to over 1,500 animals from around the world, including endangered species like the Sumatran tiger and the black-footed ferret.
The Kentucky Derby 2023 is shaping up to be another exciting event in the world of horse racing. Whether you are a seasoned fan or a first-time attendee, the atmosphere at Churchill Downs is sure to be unforgettable.
By following the tips and recommendations in this ultimate guide, you can make the most of your Kentucky Derby experience. From where to stay and dine to other things to do in Louisville, there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained during your visit.
So mark your calendar for the first Saturday in May and get ready for the “most exciting two minutes in sports” at the Kentucky Derby 2023.