Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., May 1, 2012 – Thoroughbred racing fans can watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby in style at Turfway Park Saturday as the Northern Kentucky track hosts its annual Derby party from noon to 8:30 p.m. on the fourth floor.
No Derby party is complete without traditional fare, and fans will find Kentucky Hot Brown as well as standard offerings on the menu. For early arrivals, breakfast sandwiches will be available at concession stands on the first floor.
Bloody Mary and Mint Julep cocktails head the libation list, and the Lily, the traditional drink of the Kentucky Oaks made with cranberry juice, vodka, and triple sec, also will be available. Stella Artois, the new official beer of the Kentucky Derby, will be on tap, and the first 100 party guests to order the Belgian import will receive the lager’s iconic glass chalice.
Top regional party band My Sister Sarah will provide the day's live music from 3:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Turfway's party boasts not one but three Derby hat contests, awarding prizes in the traditional hat category, most creative hat, and sexiest hat. Fans also can play handicapping games with a twist, such as choosing the last three finishers of the race.
In addition to Saturday’s free fourth-floor party, fans can choose reservations with buffet service in the Homestretch restaurant on the first floor and the Top of the Park on the fifth floor. Only a few seats at the bar remain in the Homestretch at $32.50 per seat, but the Top of the Park still has tables available at $20 per seat. Both the Homestretch and the Top of the Park are non-smoking areas.
Seats in Players' Row, individual handicapping stations in smoking and non-smoking sections on the first floor, are $5.
The star of the day is the simulcast of the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, the first of the Triple Crown races and the most famous race in the world. After seeing Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes winner Animal Kingdom storm home first in last year’s Derby, Turfway fans will be paying close attention on Saturday to local winners Went the Day Well, who earned his way to the Derby in this year's Spiral Stakes; Eclipse champion Hansen, who took the Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile in September; and undefeated Gemologist, who broke his maiden on the WinStar Kentucky Cup Day of Champions undercard. Post time for the Derby is 6:24 p.m. ET.
The filly counterpart to the Kentucky Derby is the Kentucky Oaks on Friday. The Lily cocktail will be available that day as well, and seating in the Homestretch is available for a la carte menu service.
Turfway’s gates open at 10 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday. The first race from Churchill Downs both days goes off at 10:30 a.m. Admission and parking are free; valet parking is available.
From about 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday, Turfway will accept advance wagers on Saturday's entire Kentucky Derby card. There is no advance wagering on the Kentucky Oaks card.