What you can and can’t take to the Kentucky Derby

What you can and can't bring to the kentucky derby

This list has been updated for 2020!

The Kentucky Derby is the biggest and most famous event for the people of Louisville, KY.  Around 290,000 spectators will visit Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May and whenever you have a crowd that large you can bet there will also be a large amount of security.

Dozens of local, state and federal law enforcement and government agencies will be involved in the security effort at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days, including the Police Department, Fire & Rescue, Sheriff’s Department, County Corrections, State Police, the National Guard, the FBI and even the Secret Service.  With an event of this magnitude, you can bet that security rules will be strictly enforced so make sure you read up before you head the track.

What you can bring to Churchill Downs on Oaks and Derby Days

Keep in mind that everything you bring to the track will be subject to examination so the lines at the entrance could be heavy at peak times. So, be patient make friends in line and most importantly, have your items ready when you reach the front of the line.

Allowed Items on Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days

  • Food items in clear plastic bags (maximum size 18” X 18” – no trash bags)*
  • “Box” lunches in clear plastic bags or containers (maximum size 18″ X 18″ – no trash bags)
  • Water and soft drinks – plastic bottles only (sealed, clear and unopened)
  • Purses, but none larger than 12” in any dimension (subject to search)
  • Baby/diaper bags – only if accompanied by a child (subject to search)
  • Small cameras – none equipped with detachable lenses or lenses of 6” or more **
  • Binoculars
  • Sunscreen (non-glass containers only)
  • Small personal music systems, radios and televisions** (No boom boxes)
  • Cellular phones, smartphones and tablets**
  • Seat cushions smaller than 15″X15″ that do not contain metal arms and/or backs, zippers, pockets or flaps
  • Strollers (ONLY if carrying a child)
  • Chairs (Infield Gate ONLY)
  • Blankets & tarpaulins (Infield and Paddock Gates ONLY)

* Limit of two bags per person
** Patrons could be required to turn on electronic items

What you can’t bring to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Backpacks, duffel bags and luggage
  • Bags (including purses)-larger than 12″ x 12″ in any dimension
  • Balloons and inflatables
  • Banners and/or signs, unless pre-approved
  • Cameras with detachable lenses, or equipped with a lens that is 6” or larger
  • Canopies and tents
  • Cans (any size or type), glass bottles or containers
  • Chairs
  • Confetti
  • Coolers
  • Drones and remote controlled aircraft
  • Fireworks, noise makers, air horns, laser lights/pointers, mace or pepper spray
  • Food & Beverage*
  • Grills
  • Hoverboards, skateboards and scooters
  • Illegal Substances
  • Personal music players without head-phones, portable speakers/sound systems
  • Pets, except for trained service animals
  • Poles or sticks of any size
  • Projectile Items, balls, and Frisbees
  • Seat Cushions that are larger than 15″ X 15″ that contain metal arms and/or backs, zippers, pockets or flaps
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Thermoses
  • Tripods
  • Umbrellas of any size
  • Wagons
  • Weapons (including guns, knives, and cigar cutters)
  • Any items deemed dangerous and/or inappropriate

Be prepared before you go and don’t take items that will end up being thrown in the trash. Coolers and grills are too expensive to lose!

what not to bring to the kentucky derby

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