The 140th running of the Kentucky Derby is almost upon us. Watching the greatest two minutes in sports on TV is exciting, but attending in person is different from anything else in the world—and takes some preparation to do the right way.
This year will be my 16th consecutive Derby, and I've learned more than a few lessons the hard way. So let me help you avoid my mistakes and then...Go Baby Go!
1. Pay to park: Do not try to drive into the Churchill Downs parking lot unless you have a pre-assigned parking spot. Even then, I don't recommend it. As you near the track, the streets will be lined with people wielding cardboard signs offering parking. The lot is their front yard, and many of them ask you to leave your keys with them. Just do it. Don't go for the $10 parking; you'll regret it as you trudge back at the end of the day. The $50 spots will get you much closer and they're worth it.
2. Cash is king at the track: Bring lots of it. Parking requires cash, drink vendors require cash, betting requires cash. Bring more than you think you'll need. Spending an hour or so in line to use one of the few ATMs is not the way to spend Derby Day.