Security at the Kentucky Derby

Security at the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest sporting events in the U.S. and is right up there with the Super Bowl, PGA, and Daytona 500. Around 170,000 people will be at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday, May 5th for the Kentucky Derby and another 120,000 will attend the races on the day before Derby, known as Oaks Day.

As you can image security at the famous race track during these events is a massive undertaking that requires the collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement including the FBI and Kentucky National Guard.  To make the day safe for all there are a number of items that cannot be brought into Churchill Downs that you should be aware of before heading to the track.

The following items may be brought into Churchill Downs on Oaks and Derby Days and all items are subject to search and examination:

  • Food items in clear plastic bags (maximum size 18″x 18”) – LIMIT 2 PER PERSON
  • “Box” lunches if packaged in clear plastic bags or plastic containers (maximum size 18″x 18″) – LIMIT 2 PER PERSON
  • Cellular telephones, cameras, and camcorders
  • Small personal music systems, radios and televisions
  • Binoculars
  • Purses and baby bags
  • Chairs (Gate 3 only)
  • Blankets (Gates 1 & 3 for infield use only)
  • Tarpaulins (Gates 1 & 3 for infield use only)
  • Strollers (only if carrying a child)

Items that are strictly prohibited on Derby and Oaks Days include:

  • Weapons of any kind
  • Bottles and cans of any kind (includes hand sanitizer)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Thermoses
  • Coolers
  • Grills
  • Backpacks, luggage and duffel bags
  • Wagons
  • Umbrellas

All patrons entering Churchill Downs on Oaks and Derby Days will be subject to the following security procedures:

  • Metal detecting wand searches of all patrons at all entrances
  • Restrictions on carry-in items for guests and employees
  • High visibility of security personnel
  • Strategic placement of barriers outside the track’s gates
  • Security sweeps of vehicles (buses, limos and vendor vehicles) that enter the track
  • Any vehicle parked on Churchill Downs property can be subject to search