It’s that time of year again: ice-cold juleps, a sea of ornate hats, and the two-day soundtrack of beating hooves and subsequent cheers. The Kentucky Derby is back in its 143rd renewal at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, and whether you’re going in the flesh or watching from afar, there are plenty of ways to make sure your julep-sipping, hat wearing, race-spectating experience is optimized. And we’re off!
CHURCHILL DOWNS ACCESS
If you’re headed to Louisville for a close-up view of the action, your concierge is here to ensure your experience is an unforgettable one. Here’s what we’ve got in our back pocket:
These standard tickets provide standing room access to the Paddock section, where guests can watch the races on the world’s largest 4K video board after enjoying a behind-the-scenes peek at the horses saddling up.
One of the best seats in the house; kick back between the start gate and the finishing stretch.
The Trophy Room is the perfect VIP experience with its prime location behind the Finish Line suites. Open bar and gourmet bites included.
This exclusive dining room offers three covered balconies with views of the racetrack and TVs above every table, so take advantage of the chef’s buffet either al fresco or indoors.
Rub elbows with celebs and socialites at The Mansion, where box seats and premier dining are the main highlights.
WHERE TO WATCH: NYC
As usual, New York City’s dedication to all things cultural means that even those who are hanging back to hold down the fort can take part in the festivities, too. Here are our favorite places to clink julep tins and cheer on thoroughbreds and jockeys of choice.
This NYC classic is the perfect place to celebrate any occasion, and the Kentucky Derby is no exception. On Saturday, May 6th, head to ‘21’ Club in your finest seersucker and enjoy Maker’s Mark mint juleps and two hours of Southern-inspired hors d’oeuvres while the races play in the background for all to enjoy. Contact your concierge to request tickets to this event.
Perhaps the julep capital of New York City, Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere is bound to have a good derby party. This first come, first served event will feature a live radio broadcast of the events, live music, expertly composed drinks, and chef’s derby specials.
SAXON & PAROLE
Saxon & Parole will go all out for its second annual derby party, offering guests live bluegrass music, old-fashioned betting on the races, unlimited bar bites, and several julep variations. This is a ticketed event; contact your concierge for details.
MASTER THE JULEP AT HOME
If you’re hosting or just enjoying the festivities from the comfort of your own home, make sure you’re stocked with the essentials to toast to the races in proper fashion. Here’s our favorite julep recipe courtesy of Four Roses bourbon:
2-3 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
2 tsp. sugar
12 mint leaves
Garnish: mint sprigs and orange slice
Gently crush mint leaves in a cool tall glass. (Lightly muddle the mint and sugar with a splash of soda water in a mixing glass.) Fill the glass with cracked ice. Add Four Roses and club soda and stir well. Garnish with a slice of orange and a few sprigs of mint.
Contact your LIVunLtd concierge for ticket procurement.