LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We haven’t had the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby and already plans are underway for the sesquicentennial—the 150th race.

What You Need To Know

  • Churchill Downs is planning a series of celebrations and fan experiences leading up to the milestone 150th Kentucky Derby in May 2024

  • The track rolled out a new website on Wednesday that included the official Kentucky Derby 150 logo

  • A $200 million renovation of the paddock behind the main grandstand began after last spring’s race, with completion expected by the 2024 Derby

  • Other changes to the track include premium club spaces, dining tables and rail boxes, plus new viewing areas

In May 2021, attendance was limited to 52,000 but by last spring, 147,294 watched in person as 81-1 long shot Rich Strike pulled off a stunning upset.

The track expects another huge crowd for the 149th Derby on May 6.

Churchill Downs announced the kickoff of a yearlong celebration of the 150th Run for the Roses. The Derby is the longest continually run sporting event in the United States, having gone off every year since 1875, even during World Wars and pandemics.

“150 years of tradition, hospitality and the best horse racing in the world takes center stage as the Kentucky Derby celebrates an extraordinary achievement,” said Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “To honor the significance of the anniversary, the rich history of the Derby and its place in our culture, we are excited to unveil new and enhanced guest experiences for decades to come.”     

The track rolled out a new website Wednesday, and it outlines new experiences coming to Churchill Downs for the race on May 4, 2024.

Improvements are being made now that will be completed by 2024. The most eye-catching is the $200 million renovation of the Paddock. The upgrade will double the size of the walking ring for horses, create almost 3,600 new seats and 3,250 standing room tickets. The new Paddock will also feature premium club spaces, dining areas and box rails.

“As we plan to celebrate our 150th anniversary in the year ahead, we are thrilled to debut new world-class hospitality opportunities to enjoy Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby,” said Sarah Contardo, Vice President of Sales and Strategy of Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Along with the Paddock, racing fans will be treated to new dining clubs and outdoor dining areas for Derby 150.

  • The Woodford Reserve Paddock Club and Paddock Club Enclosure: Both areas include special access to the paddock area through a private tunnel, a “curated dining experience,” a concierge team, private betting parlor and a view of the races trackside.

  • 1895 Club and 1895 Enclosure: This new club will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at equine life with a view of the paddock runway and saddling stalls.

  • Spires Terrace and Suites: This experience is a first for Churchill Downs. This area will allow fans to have an “outdoor luxury dining experience with a dedicated concierge team.” The suites are situated under the Twin Spires and will offer a 360-degree view of both the track and paddock.

Churchill Downs is also bringing race fans new covered outdoor dining areas that will create over 2,600 seats. The track is creating three outdoor balcony areas: the Silks Balcony and Loge, Plaza Balcony and Loge and the Triple Crown Balcony. That’s not all. The track is creating the Paddock Overlook, the Champions Balcony and Loge and they are expanding the Turf Club Balcony.

“Derby of a Lifetime” Experience

To celebrate 150 years of horse racing and tradition, Churchill Downs will offer fans a chance at winning a “Derby of a Lifetime” experience. Fans will win VIP tickets to Derby 150, Taste of Derby tickets, a Derby weekend hotel stay, airfare and ground transportation, an exclusive Vineyard Vines apparel line, designer headwear and exclusive visits to the Paddock, Stable Area and the Kentucky Derby Red Carpet Experience.

You can sign up for the “Derby of a Lifetime Experience” online. The chance to win will be hosted online through Jan. 31. 2024


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