11 Things to Know About the Kentucky Derby Infield
FNTSY Sports Network's Pat Mayo, Cam Stewart & Tim AnderCUST preview the post positions, historic trends, and types of bets while making their Kentucky Derby Picks for the 143rd running for the roses at Churchill Downs on May 6th. Then, Matt Wiley joins the show to explain his research methods and the different bets he makes. He closes with a few of his Kentucky Derby Picks form the back of the field.
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Back in 2008, I went to the Kentucky Derby with several friends, flying up from South Florida to hit Nashville and Louisville in a southern double dip in early May.
If you’re a partier – going into the infield at the Kentucky Derby is a must. If you’re there for the pageantry and the bluegrass, then you’ll want to stick to the grandstands surrounding Churchill Downs.
I thought I’d share a couple handfuls of interesting tidbits you should know if you are planning on going into the infield at the Kentucky Derby.
11 Tips for the Kentucky Derby Infield
It’s an event like no other, and really should be experienced by everyone at some point in their lives!
1. You enter at a different area than everyone else.
This is important because you instantly recognized that you are treated much differently than the fine folk sitting in the stands. Basically, you pay $20 to someone standing at an entrance to a tunnel. That’s your ticket – a $20 bill.
2. Food is allowed, but not alcohol – unless you’re really sneaky.
They allow coolers and you’re able to bring in food and sandwiches and all that stuff, but they will make you leave your booze and beer in the saddest 55-gallon drum bubbling over with full bottles of booze people were forced to throw out.
But if you want to be sneaky, you can do this move: hollow out a loaf of bread, stick a fifth of Kentucky bourbon in there, close it back up – and voila! You’re a drunk!
3. There are some creepy people in the infield.
Imagine Mardi Gras, but with pastel colors.
The infield is full of drunk college kids and the like, and there are plenty of weird gents roaming around. One guy was completely naked except for his underwear, and he was riding around on a horsie-on-a-stick. He also had a rubber stamp with his phone number, and he’d “ride” up and stamp his number on your chick’s hand before you realized what happened.
4. There are like 10 races that day.
It might be the fastest two minutes in sports, but there are about 10 races that day, including ones AFTER the Derby.
5. Make your bets early.
You don’t want to start drinking and then decide to make your bets, because it gets confusing and it gets crowded by the betting windows.
6. Get someone to help you with your bets.
Betting horse racing is much different than any other betting, and you just tell the cashier what you’d like to bet and she rings it up. I made the mistake of making bets for others, also, and it just turned into a huge clusterbomb.
7. Mint juleps are a must – but just one.
You have to drink a mint julep to celebrate the day with the local drink of choice, but you most likely won’t like it. Buy one in a commemorative glass and you’re golden.
8. You won’t really see the horse race.
What I mean is – you will only see a very small portion of it live – if you can see over people. But you’ll still be able to watch the race up on the jumbotrons that face the infield.
9. Tell the pretty women in their pretty hats that they look pretty!
In spite of the Mardi Gras atmosphere in the infield, a lot of the people still dress up. Women HAVE to wear a hat – that’s a big deal! Plus, in reality, they’ll want one because it gets hot out there – and dirty. You’ll see a lot of college guys wearing pastel suits, looking dapper, but I can’t help but think they’re from the douchey fraternity that doesn’t like the Delta House.
10. The walk through the tunnel is 9 times longer on the way out.
When you’re walking through the tunnel entering the race track, it seems so short, like half a block. But when you’re leaving, you realize you’re stuck under a tunnel with hundreds of crazy drunk southerners, with no police or security around. I’m a big dude, and I wasn’t afraid as much as just “on alert,” waiting for something to happen. But nothing did, because it’s the Kentucky Derby!
11. Maker’s Mark is in a dry county.
If you decide to check out the Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery on Sunday, the day after the Kentucky Derby, know that you won’t get samples – and you can’t even buy some bourbon because it’s in a dry county that doesn’t sell booze on Sundays!
Hopefully, this gave you a good idea of what to expect if you’re heading into the infield at the Kentucky Derby this year! Have fun – and drink some bourbon! Here’s a more detailed story of my trip, with some fun details I left out here.
Photo Credit: Jamey Squire, Getty Images
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