Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kentucky Derby 2016 ticket info

Hello, friends! Long time, no see.

Tickets for the 2016 Derby go on sale November 10th at 10 am Eastern. Please make a note of that Eastern time thing! That means 9 am Central, 8 am Mountain and 7am Pacific (yikes!). I almost missed out one year because I forgot about the whole time zone thing. Be sure to register your email address here. If you aren't registered, they won't send you a link to buy tickets and you'll have to go the StubHub/scalper route. 

This year Churchill Downs has partnered with TicketSlaveMaster. This can't be good. Has anyone ever had anything positive to say about TicketMaster? 

The Details (all tickets include tickets to the Oaks and the Derby)

Sections 121-128 and 221-225 cost $340-500. These are bleacher seats.

Sections 226-228 cost $442-460. These are stadium style, flip-up seats.

Section 110 cost $695 for uncovered seats and $795 for covered seats. These tickets include food and drinks and "dedicated bathrooms." These are the only tickets to not increase in price this year. They're actually cheaper than they were in 2013.  But these have a crummy view. I talked about them at the bottom of this post

Box seats are being sold in sections 111, 120, 212, and 325. Boxes are sold as 6 seats together and the prices are:
Sections 111 and 120- $2,499-3,100
Section 212- $2,875
Section 325- $5,995 

Section 325 is where it gets fuzzy. Last year prices included 6 tickets to Taste of the Derby and this year's email doesn't mention that. In 2013 we had a box in 324 and paid $2,556 (did not include Taste of the Derby tickets, which I wouldn't want anyway. There are far too many great places to eat in Louisville). Now a box in 325 (not as good as 324!) costs more than double? I don't get it.

You also have the option of getting a 6 seat table on the Plaza Balcony for $6,300-7,200. The good news is you'll get to see the jockeys walk by on their way to the paddock. The bad news is you just paid over a grand for a seat that doesn't even have a view of the track. It does include a buffet (but a cash bar) and "walking access" to the third floor clubhouse to watch the races. I assume it's standing room only in the clubhouse.

New in 2015 was the Courtyard which offers "a front row seat to thunderous racing and winning celebrations." It's in sections 118 and 119 and is next to the winner's circle. Tickets are $1,400.

I know you're wondering, "What about you? Are you going to the Kentucky Derby in 2016?" Actually, I know you're not but I'll tell you anyway. The answer is no. I used to think I would absolutely DIE if I didn't go but we didn't go in 2015 and I survived. Granted, I had trips to Puerto Rico and London to look forward to but it just costs SO MUCH MONEY to go! It's a super fun amazing time but we spent almost the same amount on our week long trip to Puerto Rico as we do on a three day trip to the KY Derby. I know, comparing the Kentucky Derby and Puerto Rico is apples and oranges but if I'm going to drop that amount of money, I think I'm ready to see more of the world.

And I'm kind of pissed at Churchill Downs, to be honest. I've kept all my ticket emails and ticket prices have increased anywhere from 8-58% in three years. That's just stupid. My bank account certainly hasn't increased 58% in the past three years! Not to mention, we need a new roof and a bunch of other home improvement stuff. Being an adult sucks sometimes.

So if you decide to get tickets on November 10th, best of luck to you!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Derby ticket alert!

Derby tickets will be on sale November 10th!

My Kentucky Derby report- Volume 2- Derby Day!

Derby Day. I love this day so much.

We did another hearty breakfast at Bob Evan's and then donned our Derby finery- seersucker for him, black and white dress with a pink hat for me.

We had the same seats as Oaks Day and they were still fabulous. I don't think I won a penny that day but I had a blast.

One slightly amusing story- a friend of mine in Boston gave me $25 to bet on Wicked Strong. After Hoppertunity was scratched, I was under the assumption that since Wicked Strong had originally been in post 20, everyone would move down a notch, Wicked Strong would break from 19 and post 20 would be empty. I asked a few people who seemed to know what they were doing and it seemed it would be that way based on something I had from Daily Racing Form. So, I put my friend's money on the 19 horse. The Kentucky Derby race rolled around and I realized (too late!) that Wicked Strong would be breaking from the 20 post and I had my friend's money on Ride On Curlin instead.


Despite our great seats, I could barely enjoy the race. I was so worried that Wicked Strong would be in the money and I'd have to disappoint my friend or cough up the winnings myself. By the skin of my teeth, I was OK. Wicked Strong came in 4th and I was able to breathe again. I won't make that mistake again. Mostly because I don't think I want to place bets with other people's money ever again. Crap, that was nerve wracking.

A few pictures from the race:
 And they're off!

 Up the backstretch
 And California Chrome wins the 140th Kentucky Derby!

 My lovely husband boxed the favorite and post 17 (because no one has ever won from 17) and he won $170! It was the most either of us have ever won on a horse race and I think it was probably the first ticket we've ever cashed on the Derby at all!

Some closing thoughts:

I'm going to have to rewrite my entry about lunch at the Kentucky Derby. With the improvements done to the grandstand, food was definitely better. Was it gourmet/organic/free range/remotely healthy? Not in the least but it was filling and tasty and a vast improvement over previous years. They had tacos, nachos, sausages, kebobs. Expect to spend about $10-12 on lunch.

Did I make any mistakes this year? Actually, I did. When I got my Kentucky Derby pedicure, the girl doing my toes asked if I wanted her to get the dead skin off the bottom of my feet. I said yes. Big mistake. The bottoms of my feet were baby soft but after all that walking on Oaks Day, I wanted to crawl from the car to the restaurant. The soles of my feet felt like they were on fire! Luckily it was short lived and I was OK for the Derby.

No Kentucky Derby for us in 2015. We'll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and as much as I love the Derby, I want to park my arse on a beach and relax for a week. The Derby is fun fun fun but for our anniversary, I want a drink in my hand, my toes in the sand and not a thing on my calendar.

My 2014 Kentucky Derby report- Volume 1- Thursday and Oaks Day

We had a fabulous time at the Kentucky Oaks and Derby this year! I apologize for the extremely lengthy delay in a trip report.

We rolled into Louisville on Thursday evening and checked into our hotel. Actually, I should say we rolled into Jeffersonville, Indiana because that's where our hotel was. We were early for our reservations at the Exchange Pub and Kitchen in New Albany, IN. We both ordered the steak frites. It was good but it came with an excess amount of fries. And when I asked our waiter who he liked in the Derby, he said he had no idea. Come on, people! It's Derby weekend! Get with the program!

After that we headed to New Albanian Brewery's Bank Street location for a couple of beers. I noticed a woman come in wearing an NBC Sochi jacket and soon after, she was joined by a couple guys and one was wearing an NBC London Olympics jacket. Long story short, they were a group of sound people who worked for NBC. It was so interesting to talk to them! One guy had been in Sochi for two months. Another one was from St. Louis. They were a very interesting group and I had a ball talking to them.

Friday morning arrived. We had a hearty but not very healthy breakfast at Bob Evans and headed to the track.We parked at Papa John's Stadium and walked over.

Our seats were in the second floor grandstand and WOW- I was so impressed with the new grandstand terrace! Gone is the old "scary, leaky basement" atmosphere of the first floor grandstand. There was so much covered space that even if it rained, it would be OK. The second floor was even better! They added a lovely section with planters, benches, and tables. It was so nice! And the bathrooms. The bathrooms! I waited in line once that day to use a real, porcelain toilet! No more ridiculous lines or port-o-potties! Kudos, Churchill Downs! Well done!

 View from our seats early in the day

Our seats were fantastic. They were in the first row of section 223 so we had a great view of the track.
I cashed a few tickets throughout the day, probably gained $20 or so. I gave up on exactas and daily doubles after a while because I was just throwing money away. So I started doing small win/place/show bets. I didn't win a whole lot but I didn't lose a whole lot either! And even cashing a ticket that gains you $4 is exciting. 

Speaking of exciting, the most exciting part of the day was when they started loading the horses in the starting gate for the Oaks. First of all, they did it right in front of our seats! Then Empress of Midway decided she didn't want to race and ended up almost upside down in the starting gate. That was intense. I have no idea how they got the horse upright in that tight space but they did and she was scratched. Then another horse bucked off her jockey! It was the first time I've ever had such a close up view of the starting gate and, wow, that was exciting.

 Empress of Midway decides, "Nope. I'm not racing today."

That night we went to Feast in New Albany for dinner. It was outstanding! Very laidback place,  lots of dark wood, fantastic food. Then it was time for a little TV and rest up for the BIG DAY. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sign up for 2015 Kentucky Derby tickets!

Get your name on the list here. But if any of you disrupt MY attempt to get tickets, I'll cut you.