Anne M. Eberhardt

Walk-Up Derby, Oaks Ticket Prices Increased

General admission upped to $50 for Derby, $30 for Oaks; advance purchases unchanged.

Churchill Downs announced March 9 it will increase walk-up general admission prices for this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), but will keep prices unchanged for online and advance purchases.

Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks general admission and tickets and seating for all racing dates and special events scheduled for the April 28-July 1 spring meet are available for purchase through Churchill Downs’ online box office at

The general admission price for the May 5 Derby will remain at $40 for tickets purchased in advance either through or at the track’s Gate 1 box office, which is scheduled to open in mid-April. General admission tickets for the May 4 Oaks will remain at $25 for advance purchase either through the online box office or at Gate 1.

Each advance general admission ticket purchased at either location will be assessed a “convenience fee” of $1. The “convenience fee” for reserved seating for both events is $5 per ticket.

The walk-up price for a general admission ticket Derby Day will be $50, an increase of $10 from 2011. The walk-up ticket price for the Oaks will be $30, an increase of $5 from last year. 

The increase in price for day-of-event walk-up purchases for general admission to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks is the first for either event since a $5 increase for both in 2001.
The 2012 spring meet will open under the lights with a night program that launches both the 39-day racing session and Kentucky Derby Week. Opening night will be highlighted by the $200,000 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (gr. III)

Three “Downs After Dark” night racing events are scheduled during the second half of the meet and, for the first time, all will be conducted on Saturday evenings and include stakes races among their highlights. The 2012 “Downs After Dark” dates are:

-- June 2-- Three $100,000-added stakes races--the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap, the Aristides and the Winning Colors--are featured on the card;

-- June 16 -- The first nighttime running of the $400,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) tops a racing schedule that also includes three other major stakes races in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II), the Matt Winn and the Regret (gr. IIIT);

-- June 30 -- The return of “The White Party’ and the $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-olds highlight the spring meet’s final weekend.