Oaks, Derby Activities At Keeneland

Posted at 11:49 AM, May 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 11:49:38-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Keeneland)– Keeneland invites fans to watch and wager on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby while enjoying a variety of family-friendly activities and accommodations ranging from a casual picnic in the Paddock to Grandstand seating to tailgating on The Hill. 

Click here for more information.

On Oaks and Derby Days, fans may picnic at no charge in the Paddock and Walking Ring and view the races on the large video board overlooking the Paddock or sit in the Grandstand and watch Churchill Downs’ races on the infield tote board. TVs throughout the Grandstand also will show racing.

Dining rooms are sold out both days. Also sold out Saturday are the Derby Bash and corporate suites. However, several corporate suites are available Friday for the Oaks. 

Admission to Keeneland is free on Oaks Day and $5 per person on Derby Day when children 12 and younger will be admitted free. Gates open at 9 a.m. ET, and parking is free on both days.

On Friday from 4-7 p.m., the Party in the Paddock features drink specials, live music with the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys and the simulcast of the Kentucky Oaks. Post time for the Oaks is 6:12 p.m.

On Derby Day, The Hill, Keeneland’s official tailgate lot, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with food trucks from Mr. Gyro and Salsarita’s, and live music with The Ranahans. A big-screen TV will show the races, and fans will be able to wager.

Meanwhile, the Paddock will host several events, including live music with Aly’ An from 1-6 p.m. Patrons also may visit The Keeneland Shop tent to play the Keeneland Horse Racing Game. Winners will be able to spin the prize wheel for merchandise from The Keeneland Shop.

Derby Day at Keeneland also includes a Hat Contest and children’s activities.

The Hat Contest features three categories: Best Made, Best Style and Children. To enter, patrons can have their photos taken near Milliners Corner (outside The Keeneland Shop near the Grandstand South entrance). At 5 p.m., win, place and show prizes in each category will be awarded on the stage in the Paddock.

Children’s activities, including pony rides ($5), crafts, face painting and games, will be held in the Lower Club from 2-6 p.m. 

Post time for the Derby is 6:50 p.m.

In addition, advance wagering on the Oaks full card will be available at Red Mile only and start Thursday at 12:15 p.m.

Advance wagering on the Derby full card and Oaks-Derby Double will start Friday, when drive-thru windows at Keeneland open at 8 a.m. Wagering will begin at Keeneland Grandstand Mutuels and Red Mile at 10 a.m.

Patrons also can watch and wager on simulcast racing on Oaks Day and Derby Day at Red Mile.

Red Mile’s Clubhouse will host the Derby Fest with reserved seating, a buffet and access to wagering for $50 per seat. The event opens at 11 a.m., and the buffet will be served from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (Click here for more information.)

Fans also have the option to wager online through

Keeneland Oaks/Derby Day at a Glance

Oaks Day Derby Day
Admission Free $5; 12 and under free
Parking Free Free
Keeneland Drive-Thru Wagering 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 7 a.m. to Derby (6:50 post time)
Keeneland Gates Open 9 a.m. 9 a.m.
Grandstand Mutuel Windows Open 10 a.m. 10 a.m
Concessions Open 10:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m.*
The Keeneland Shop 9 a.m. to 30 minutes after last race 9 a.m. to 30 minutes after last race
Kentucky Oaks Post Time 6:12 p.m.
Kentucky Derby Post Time 6:50 p.m.

*Fresh Market Express on the second floor opens at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts.           

Note: Patrons may picnic inside the Grandstand. Tents, canopies, grills and glass are not permitted in the Paddock, Walking Ring or North Terrace. Patrons are not permitted to bring alcohol. Coolers are allowed but are subject to inspection. Pets are not allowed.