LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For those looking for some Kentucky Derby flavor without the Derby expense — or just for those hoping to catch an early glimpse of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders — Churchill Downs is opening the track free-of-charge for morning training sessions beginning Saturday.
From 7-10 a.m., fans can enter the track through the paddock gate after parking for free in the adjacent White Lot. They will be directed to Sections 115-117, where they can watch the morning workouts. Kentucky Derby and Oaks contenders take to the track daily from 7:30-7:45 a.m. following a track renovation break from 7-7:30 a.m.
Derby colts are identified by special yellow saddle cloths. Oaks fillies wear pink saddle towels.
The free training hours will run through Wednesday, April 28.
“For the past 146 years, the Kentucky Derby has created memories and traditions for so many families and friends in our community,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Mike Anderson said. “There’s no better way to start the day than to watch our majestic Thoroughbreds train up-close and personal. We’re thrilled to deliver this new experience free of charge and open it up to the general public for everyone to enjoy.”
Churchill Downs will livestream the Kentucky Derby Morning Works presented by TwinSpires.com across its social media channels starting on Monday, April 19. Video also will be broadcast on Churchill Downs’ Big Board.
At the track, face coverings are required, and guests must practice social distancing. Churchill Downs will continue to rely on proven health and safety protocols and operate within the guidance of local and state health officials as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between Saturday, April 17, and Friday, April 23, guests may bring in their own food and beverage during the morning workouts. Food and beverage may not be brought into the facility between Saturday, April 24, and Wednesday, April 28, because of Kentucky Derby Week security protocols. But Churchill Downs’ new Paddock Grill will be open during that period to offer breakfast items for purchase.
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