First Timer’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby

So, if you’re going to Derby for the first time, get ready for something really awesome! I went there with my best friend a few years ago, and I was kinda nervous because I didn’t know much about it or what it would be like.

But guess what? We had an amazing time! I realized I didn’t need to worry at all. Here’s some important stuff you should know for the day, but the most important thing is to just relax and enjoy all the cool stuff and friendly vibes! Let’s do this!

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What to Wear


You bet! Women at the Derby really do wear those big fancy hats or fascinators. It’s totally cool to have fun and be bold with your outfit! Most ladies wear pretty summer dresses along with their fancy hats.

Since you’ll be walking and standing a lot, it’s super important to wear comfy shoes. Think about trying out some wedges like Kate Middleton does! And it’s smart to bring along some flats or flip flops in your purse for later in the evening when your feet might need a break.


I kept saying how cool it was to see the colorful outfits the men were wearing! Picture something like business casual, but with really vibrant colors in pastels and plaids. Guys usually wear neckties or bowties and loafers (without socks!) to complete their look. If you want more details, you can check out this guide from Vineyard Vines—it explains everything!

How to Bet

Alright, here’s the simplest way to bet at the window or online, just visit 1xBet site:

Tell them the race number you’re betting on.

Say how much you’re betting (at least $2).

Mention what kind of bet you’re making (win, place, or show).

Finally, give them the number of the horse you’re betting on.

For example, you might say: “Race 6, $2 to win on Horse #4.”

There are three types of bets you can make:

Win: Your horse has to come in first.

Place: Your horse needs to finish in the top two.

Show: Your horse has to finish in the top three.

It’s a good idea to write down your bet beforehand so you don’t forget anything when you’re at the window!

What to Bring

Remember, because of current rules, your bag can’t be bigger than 12 inches in any direction. So make sure you have:

Cash: You can’t use credit cards for bets, and there are long lines at the ATMs. Plus, most food and drink places only take cash.

Sunscreen: Even if you’re sitting under cover, you’ll be walking a lot, so protect yourself from the sun. Also, think about bringing a small foldable poncho just in case it rains. Umbrellas aren’t allowed.

Your ticket: You need a physical ticket to get in, and there’s no option to pick up tickets at the gate. Once you’re in, you can’t leave and come back, so don’t forget anything in your car!

And don’t forget about comfy shoes! Maybe pack some foldable flats. Trust me, you won’t be the only one trading heels for comfort by the end of the day!

Where to Park

Unless you have a parking pass, it’s really tough to find parking at Churchill Downs. There are only a few spots, and the traffic is crazy.

But don’t worry! People who live near the track sometimes let you park in their yards for a fee, usually between $10 and $50. It’s worth paying a bit more to park closer because nobody likes walking miles to their car at the end of the day.

Your smartest move is to park at Cardinal Stadium or the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center and then catch a shuttle bus to the track. It’s way easier and less stressful!

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Tips & Tricks 

Here are some tips for enjoying DERBY day:

Use the restroom early: Don’t wait until the last minute because lines can get really long.

Try a Mint Julep: But remember, they’re pretty strong! If you’re not a fan, go for a Lily instead. They’re fruity and vodka-based.

Check out the Paddock: That’s where you can see the horses getting ready for each race.

Explore the Infield: It’s where the party’s at! It’s super casual with no view of the track, but tickets are cheaper. If it’s not your vibe, take a stroll and then head back in.

Stay hydrated: It’s going to be a long day with lots of sun and drinks, so make sure to drink plenty of water!

Remember, it’s DERBY day, so have a blast and soak up all the excitement!