Kentucky Derby 141 breaks attendance record
With beautiful weather in the forecast, Churchill Downs saw a record crowd for the Kentucky Oaks with 123,763 people on Friday. On Derby day, crowds enjoyed sunny skies and the temperature was in the mid 70s at race time.
"This is the perfect weather," one fan said, "We couldn't ask for anything better."
"We have been here when it's raining which was okay too but the sunshine is most welcome," another fan said.
Officials had been expecting record crowds the weekend and they got them. The previous record for the Derby was set in 2012 at around 166,000.
"Great environment, great people," said one spectator, "I haven't heard a complaint about one person."
In combination with the record of more than 123,000 for Oaks Day on Friday, more than 294,000 people were at the Downs for its two biggest days of racing.
But how many people is too many? Officials say that's never happened.
"There is a capacity, although we don't have a specific number for capacity," Churchill Downs spokesperson John Asher said Friday. "It's more of an eyeball situation."
On an average race day at Churchill Downs, there about 1,000 staff members working. On Derby Day, that number swells to 12,000.
Generally, the infield is the most talked about area of the Kentucky Derby and this year was no different.
"Being a Kentucky boy, I'm real proud of the Derby," said one fan who has been coming for years.
Others were new to the chaos of the infield but said they enjoyed it.
"Dude, it's a tradition, if you were outside looking in you'd be like, 'Man I wish I was in there.'"
"Everyone kind of comes together to watch the horses and everyone it just great about getting along."
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