Have you considered going to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont Stakes for the first time? If you are a fan of the Triple Crown races, attending one in person can be a real treat. I have always had a unique relationship with the Kentucky Derby because my birthday is usually the same weekend as this event. I am also a long-time resident of Kentucky, and have spent the majority of the past 20 years living within a couple of miles of Churchill Downs.
This relationship eventually led me to start writing about everything related to the Kentucky Derby — except the race. The main reason I do not cover the race is because I have visual impairments, and there are already plenty of good turf writers out there. My main focus has always been behind the scenes research and history. Nevertheless, actually attending the Kentucky Derby in person is an experience I have always treasured.
My first Kentucky Derby
In the early 2000’s, I was working as an ESL teacher for Refugees and Immigrants a block away from Churchill Downs. Although many of the students were adult Refugees, there were also Churchill Downs workers that did not speak English attending my classes. In addition to several jockeys, there were farriers and groomers I got to know. When they heard that my birthday was usually the same day as the Kentucky Derby, they insisted that I attend with them.
In 2003, I got to experience the Kentucky Derby for the first from behind the scenes in the stables. Meeting trainers and other horse racing professionals reminded me of my childhood when my family was close to a Thoroughbred horse breeder. Over time, it was these initial experiences that led me to writing about horse racing history and horse betting for websites like DerbyCraze.com.
My second Kentucky Derby
The second time I attended the Kentucky Derby was in 2004. This time, instead of going with adult students that worked there, I bought a ticket to the Infield. To this day, you only need to walk up to the gates of Churchill Downs with money in your pocket in order to buy a ticket to the Infield. Over the past decade, the Infield ticket has always been less than $50. The Infield is not the fancy grandstand area, but you can still access bathrooms, drinks, and food. To be honest, it was a bit much for me to take in.
The races started around noon, and the Kentucky Derby was set to start between 6:15 PM and 6:30. While people were dressed up and patiently waiting in the grandstands, people in the Infield were partying like there was no tomorrow. After a couple of hours, I started to get a headache and had to leave because the parting was out of control. Since then, I have heard that the Infield is not as wild; but I have not been back to try it out for myself.
My third Kentucky Derby?
In the past 10 years, I have spent so much time writing about the Kentucky Derby during the Kentucky Derby that I usually do not have time to attend. What I do know is that I will need to get grandstand tickets, and they are not always easy for me to access. First of all, I do not have the ability to dedicate my schedule to actually attending because it is a peak time for my writing. This means that I could wind up wasting a lot of money on a ticket that I do not actually use. However, as I continue to write about organizations like Derby Experiences (the official ticketing partner of the Kentucky Derby), I know that the perfect seats are right around the corner.
Will I attend the 2015 Kentucky Derby? So far, it looks like I am headed in that direction. After all, I have met every business owner that sells the perfect Kentucky Derby hats and outfits. I also have all the insider tips I will ever need to place the perfect bet. Now I just need to figure out what my service dog wants to wear. I am thinking he will look perfect in a pastel bow tie that matches my outfit. If I am lucky, I will be able to do a full Triple Crown tour extravaganza … and have plenty to write home about.