Skip to Content

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

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

This list has been updated for 2023!

The Kentucky Derby remains the largest 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 with a crowd this large, you can expect heightened security measures.

Numerous 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. These include the Police Department, Fire & Rescue, Sheriff’s Department, County Corrections, State Police, the National Guard, the FBI, and even the Secret Service. Given the scale of this event, security rules will be strictly enforced, so make sure you familiarize yourself with the regulations before heading to the track.

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

Be aware that everything you bring to the track will be subject to examination, so entrance lines may be long during peak times. Exercise patience, engage with fellow attendees, 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 may 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 (except Infield Gate)
  • 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 headphones, portable speakers/sound systems
  • Pets, except for trained service animals
  • Poles or sticks of any size
  • Projectile items, balls, and Frisbees
  • Seat cushions 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

Prepare before you go and avoid bringing items that will end up being discarded. Remember that coolers and grills are too expensive to lose! By adhering to the guidelines and ensuring you bring only permitted items, you can enjoy a fun and secure experience at the Kentucky Derby and Oaks Days this year.

Thunder Over Louisville | Family Vacations U.S.

Saturday 29th of February 2020

[…] Derby Festival fun, take a look at our list of Kid Friendly Kentucky Derby Events! Wondering what you can and can’t bring to the Kentucky Derby? We have a list for that […]