LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Derby crowds will find much tighter security this year. 

Metal detectors have been installed at every gate, and police say they have visible presence at Churchill Downs. 

Race fans can only go in three newly-named gates. The Paddock Gate is the main entrance now.  It sits between the Kentucky Derby Museum and what was known as Gate 17. 

The Infield gate is what was formerly called Gate 4 on Fourth Street.  That's the best entrance for general admission ticket holders, and it's the only entrance you can bring in chairs. 

The Terrace gate is the former Gate 10. That's where people headed to the grand stand will want to enter. 

Leave time to get through the increased security at all gates.  Bags and purses are being checked, and security wands are also being used on patrons. 

There is a long list of things permitted and not permitted at Churchill Downs. Patrons should remember that no umbrellas are allowed at the track, but rain is in the forecast for Derby day. Bring a rain poncho, garbage bag or plan to get wet. 

Permitted Items

  • 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

Banned Items 

  • Coolers (Styrofoam coolers, ice available at infield purchase points)
  • Cans (any size or type), glass bottles or containers
  • Pop-Up or Patron Tents- no poles or stakes of any kind
  • Laptop Computers and Camcorders
  • Cameras with detachable lenses, or equipped with a lens that is 6" or larger
  • Tripods
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Purses larger than 12" in any dimension
  • Grills
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Illegal Substances
  • Thermoses
  • Backpacks 
  • Luggage (includes briefcases)
  • Duffel bags
  • Wagons
  • Umbrellas (Umbrellas are not allowed during Derby Week: Opening Night- Derby Day)
  • Balloons
  • Weapons (including knives)
  • Fireworks, noisemakers, air horns, laser lights/pointers, mace or pepper sprays
  • Drones and remote controlled aircraft
  • Personal transportation devices (e.g. Hoverboards)
  • Animals (with the exception of service animals for guests with disabilities)
  • Any items deemed dangerous and/or inappropriate


In case you haven't heard, there's a new parking and transportation plan for Oaks and Derby. Here's a link that explains it all.  CLICK HERE.  

Parking at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Kentucky Derby day on Saturday costs $20. There are no shuttles from the stadium. Wear comfortable shoes because you'll have to walk about 20 minutes to the track.  

Shuttles do run from the Kentucky Expo Center on Oaks and Derby, but you have to have a permit that most people purchased with seating. If you don't have one, plan on getting in your steps on the way to the entry gate. 

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