Hailed as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports," the historic 2018 Kentucky Derby did not disappoint. Undefeated chestnut colt Justify won the victor's blanket of roses by 2 and a half lengths, barreling down mud and rain to snap a 136-year record.
Think your top performers and clients would be interested in watching next year's action in person while enjoying the VIP treatment?
Read on for details of one of the world's most prestigious stakes races and how to build your own unforgettable trip to Churchill Downs in 2019.
144 Years of Roses
The Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on the first Saturday of each May, is a Grade I stakes race for 3-year-old thoroughbred horses. The race has been held each year since 1875, even during both World Wars. It is also known as "The Run for the Roses" in honor of the blanket of roses draped ceremonially over the winner.
#KyDerby Fact #6: Ever wonder why the Kentucky Derby is called “The Run for the Roses”? Not only is the red rose the official flower of the #KentuckyDerby, the winning horse is draped with a garland of over 400 red roses, weighing around 40 pounds. 🌹🌹🌹 pic.twitter.com/nWPimQNmH8— Bovada Official (@BovadaLV) May 5, 2018
As the first leg of the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, the Derby is followed by the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes, in the ensuing months. To claim the title of the Triple Crown, the horse must win all three races. This feat has only occurred 12 times in history, including the victory of American Pharaoh in 2015.
Of all stakes races, attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America, drawing over 155,000 fans each year.
Justify Breaks "Apollo's Curse"
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It's hard to put the scope and electricity of this year's Derby into words.
First was the historic nature of Justify's win: Though it was the sixth year in a row that the odds-on favorite won the Derby, Justify became the first horse since 1882 to win without racing until age 3. To put that in perspective, the New York Times reports this was the year President Franklin D. Roosevelt was born, the electrical age began in Lower Manhattan - and the chestnut gelding Apollo won by a half-length.
To beat the so-called curse, Justify was trained by Bob Baffert, the same trainer who won the Triple Crown in 2015. By winning the Derby in just over 2 minutes and 4 seconds, Justify earned his jockey, trainer and owners a handsome $1,432,000 prize. Good Magic placed second, while Audible took third. Justify's rider was Mike Smith, 52, the second-oldest jockey ever to win the Derby. Smith has won once before, beating 50-1 odds on Giacomo in 2005.
In less than two weeks, Smith and Justify will compete again in the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Another incredible Derby headline came courtesy of one very lucky spectator in Selma, Texas. The unidentified woman has attended the Derby for years and picked her winners very carefully, choosing not only Justify to win the Derby, but each of the winners in four races leading up to the main event. With long shots up to 39-to-1 odds, she turned an unlikely $18 worth of wagers into an unprecedented $1.2 million payout.
See History Unfold in 2019
Next year's Derby race is all set for Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Churchill Downs, with the Oaks race on Friday, May 3.
You can sit and watch the telecast at home, or you can witness the pandemonium in person. Imagine breaking out your finest hat or bow tie, sipping a mint julep, then cheering on your chosen horse over the roar of thundering hooves...
Which do you think would leave a greater impression on those most important to your business?
Winspire can help you leverage the allure of the Kentucky Derby into an irresistible incentive. Check out just a few testimonials from our travelers this past weekend...
- “Just wanted to say what an awesome time we had. Best sporting event ever! Our table at was absolutely perfect with views of the Twin Spires and the ability to walk and see Paddocks and Races. Didn’t hurt to be close to the cigar bar either!” T.B.
- "Our Derby Experience was beyond amazing!! The staff were very professional, thorough & accommodating - just awesome all the way around!!!" - D.B.
- "Thank you for making our first Kentucky Derby an amazing and memorable event. We look forward to working with your Team again in the near future." J.S.
- "We loved EVERYTHING! We are already planning our next trip, and bringing our friends. Thank you so much for your organization and professionalism...it made the trip our favorite memory!" M.B.
- "No other event could compare to the Kentucky Derby - Best Time in my life." S.W.
Here are sample components we can put together for a customized incentive trip or corporate hospitality package:
- Grandstand Tickets: You’ll have an elevated view of the starting line and final stretch with intimate 5-row seating for increased visibility of all the racing action and the new video board.
- Deluxe Seating: Give your VIPs the best seats in the house. Options include:
- Clubhouse Box Seating. Enjoy first-floor, open-air box seating with exciting views of the first turn and the crossing of the finish line. This gives your party the feel of being right in the middle of the action.
- Infield Suites. Infield suites are located next to the home stretch, where viewers can watch the action from luxurious glass-enclosed rooms or the rooftop patio. The suites face the grandstand and clubhouse sections.
- Millionaires' Row. There’s arguably no vantage point of the Derby that offers more excitement than Millionaires‘ Row. Enjoy an unforgettable view from deluxe seating on the 4th, 5th, and 6th level clubhouse right at the finish line.
- Deluxe Hospitality: Churchill Downs has some of the finest hospitality of any sporting event. Each option we offer includes extravagant buffets, patios or rooftop decks, top-shelf bars, televisions, betting machines and breathtaking views of the track and field to make your entire party feel like a VIP. Some hospitality offerings:
- Affirmed Lounge. This exclusive in-track hospitality venue is located in the Kentucky Derby Museum at Gate 1. This venue offers live entertainment, all-you-can-eat buffets, a bourbon lounge, live wagering tellers, closed-circuit TV coverage and more, all in an indoor climate-controlled environment.
- Sunny's Halo Lounge. Situated outside on the rooftop behind sections 326-328, this in-track hospitality venue offers open seating, a live betting parlor, partially covered tables and plenty of fresh air. A celebrity jockey will make an appearance on the day of Derby!
- Turf Club. The Turf Club is an exclusive lounge and dining room located in the clubhouse section of Churchill Downs with panoramic views overlooking the racetrack’s finish line. Celebrities have been known to frequent this area of Churchill Downs, thanks to the gourmet dining, excellent views and first-class service. Your VIPs will also walk away with an Official Derby Experiences gift bag.
- Deluxe Hotel Accommodations in Louisville, KY (like the Hyatt Louisville).
- Private Transfers between Hotel and Churchill Downs. We work with trusted local vendors for seamless transportation and logistics.
- VIP Derby Private Parties Throughout the Week (like The Fillies & Lilies Party, a lively night at the Kentucky Derby Museum and official kick-off party of the Kentucky Derby.) Enjoy live performances, food stations, premium open bars and a private bourbon lounge.
- On-site Private Concierge.
- VIP Fast Access Pass allowing for faster and more secured access into Churchill Downs.
- Horse Farm Tours. Book a fun and informative tour through the heart and soul of Kentucky’s Bluegrass horse country. Tour the ivy covered grounds of Keeneland race course, also home to the world’s most expensive horse auction. Take a peek at the horse farm lifestyle, explore a working horse farm and visit their famous stallions.
- Bourbon Tours. Besides horse racing, Kentucky is known for distilling world-famous bourbon. Must-visit establishments include Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve.
We arrange details in the background, while your organization takes all the credit.
For more information, leave a comment or click below to contact us.