What to Expect in the 150th Year of the Kentucky Derby

Welcome to the Kentucky Derby, an event like no other! With over 150,000 people, tons of history, and its unique spectacle, Forbes has called it one of the best sporting events in America. Every first Saturday in May, folks gather at Churchill Downs for unforgettable fun with friends and family.


But this year is extra special – it’s the 150th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby! As we get ready for this big celebration, excitement is everywhere.


Let’s closely examine what to expect in this year’s Derby.

Opening Night Festivities

Prepare for a fantastic start to the Kentucky Derby celebrations on Saturday, April 27! It’s the kickoff to a week of fun leading up to the big race. Here’s what you can look forward to on this particular night:


  • Feel the thrill as your favorite horses and connections reveal their positions for the Derby and Oaks races.
  • Step into style with Rodes For Him | For Her and know the latest Kentucky Derby trends that will make you shine at this year’s event.
  • Take a journey through Derby fashion history with curated pieces from different eras showcased in our premium dining areas.
  • Be amazed by the original couture pieces from three talented regional artists at the KMAC Couture 2024 “Runway for the Roses.”
  • Upgrade your fashion with tips from Kentucky Derby milliners and learn how to make your hat the star of your ensemble.


Remember the thrilling Stakes Races, including the Roxelana Overnight Stakes, which will add to the excitement of this unforgettable evening.

Dawn at the Downs

Start your mornings at Churchill Downs with Dawn at the Downs, a memorable behind-the-scenes experience during Derby Week. On April 25 to May 1, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. ET, you’ll have the chance to see free kentucky derby picks and Oaks contenders up close as they warm up on the track. 


From 7:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. ET, catch exclusive training sessions with just the Derby and Oaks horses. This VIP experience includes expert commentary and is free for all guests. Upgrade your experience on April 28th and 29th with Dawn at the Downs Dining, featuring a tasty buffet breakfast on Millionaires Row. Tickets are limited, so grab yours early!


Get ready for the return of 502’sDay on Tuesday, April 30, as we celebrate the vibrant community that makes Louisville truly special. In its second year, 502’sDay continues to shine a spotlight on the enduring contributions of local businesses that have been the heart and soul of our city for over a century and a half.


As we also commemorate the 150th Kentucky Derby, this year’s 502’sDay takes on a special significance. Event Day Highlights:


  • $5 General Admission: Secure your spot at 502’s day with a $5 General Admission ticket. It’s your chance to be part of this celebratory event honoring Louisville’s long-standing businesses.
  • Louisville Business First Collaboration: We’re proud to partner with Louisville Business First to showcase and celebrate businesses that have been integral to our community for over 150 years. As a token of appreciation, acknowledged businesses will receive two complimentary tickets and the opportunity to secure a table at a special discounted rate.
  • Big Board Highlights: Test your knowledge of Louisville’s iconic businesses with our 502’sDay trivia. Throughout the day, meet the passionate individuals behind these remarkable establishments through interviews and featured highlights on the giant board.

Champions Day

Celebrate Kentucky’s sports heroes on Wednesday, May 1, at Champions Day. Presented by The Kentucky Sports Commission and The Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, this event honors the state’s athletic history. 


Watch as they announce the 2024 Hall of Fame inductees and enjoy interviews with sports legends. Plus, catch live racing with the William Walker and Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes. It’s a day of fun, inspiration, and celebration for all sports fans.


Thursday, May 2, brings Thurby, a celebration of Kentucky’s culture, blending bourbon, Bluegrass, and thoroughbred racing. Enjoy live entertainment, indulge in Old Forester activations, and experience the thrill of Stakes Races throughout the day.

Kentucky Oaks Day

On Friday, May 3, experience the elegance and tradition of the Longines Kentucky Oaks. Show off your finest ensembles at the Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest and join the Survivor’s Parade to support breast and ovarian cancer awareness.

Kentucky Derby Day

Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for arrives on Saturday, May 4 – the 150th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. Gates open at 9 a.m. for a day filled with excitement, style, and the thrill of the races. Experience the Red Carpet spectacle, indulge in the legendary Woodford Reserve $1K Mint Julep, and witness the solemn Military Enlistment Ceremony.


Don’t miss your chance to be part of history. Get ready to experience the magic of the Kentucky Derby like never before. Secure your tickets now and join us on this extraordinary journey to Churchill Downs. Let’s make the 150th year of the Kentucky Derby an event to remember!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *