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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Although infield patrons are not allowed to bring personal coolers to the 139th runnings of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs plans to offer an affordable alternative.
Once fans enter the infield admission gates, they can purchase a 12" x 17" x 12" styrofoam cooler and a 7-pound bag of ice for $5.
The cooler and ice bag will be sold as a combo, but patrons can purchase additional bags for $2 throughout the day.
The coolers and ice will be available for purchase at two infield pavilions located near the tunnel that leads from the infield to admission Gate 1 and general admission areas of the clubhouse and grandstand.
When Churchill Downs announced enhanced security measures for the Derby and Oaks that included the cooler ban following the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, the track pledged to provide a temporary option for infield fans at a price comparable to those offered by retailers located outside of the track's admission gates.
The additional security procedures reinstated a ban on coolers originally put in place in 2002, but that policy was relaxed in 2009. The cooler ban was originally imposed as part of a roster of security procedures and policies adopted in 2002 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
A new ban on pop-up and personal tents in the infield was announced earlier in the spring, but that decision was prompted by weather and safety concerns rather than security issues.
Admission gates will open on both Kentucky Oaks Day on Friday, May 3, and Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, May 4. Post time for the first race on both days is set for 10:30 a.m.