If you can’t make it to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, the next best thing might be Keeneland, which boasts that the Lexington track hosts the Derby watch party. Admission is free on Friday for Oaks Day and $5 a person on Saturday, Derby Day. Kids 12 and younger get in free both days. Parking is free. Gates open at 9 a.m. each day. Fans are welcome to picnic in the paddock and walking ring, and to watch the races on the large video board overlooking the paddock or watch the Churchill Downs races on the infield tote board from the grandstand seats. More than 1,000 televisions throughout the track will be tuned to all the racing action.
On Oaks Day, fans can enjoy the Party in the Paddock from 4 to 7 p.m., featuring drink specials, live music and a simulcast of the Kentucky Oaks. Post time for the Oaks is approximately 5:49 p.m.
On Derby Day, tables in Keeneland’s dining rooms and the Derby Bash at the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center are sold out, but concessions and bars will be open throughout the grandstand. Mint juleps in the official Derby glass will be sold. The second-floor grandstand concession will open at 8 a.m. All other concessions will open at 11 a.m. Fans can enjoy live music from 1 to 6 p.m. and Kids Club children’s activities including pony rides, cookie decorating and face painting from are from 1 to 5 p.m.
And this year, for the first time, Keeneland’s popular tailgate lot, The Hill, next to the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, will be open on Derby day with local food trucks, a jumbo television screen, wireless wagering and wagering terminals, race-day programs and bluegrass music from noon to 6 p.m.
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Also on Derby Day, fans can dine and watch the races at Red Mile Derby Fest. Reservations include a buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., a Derby souvenir program and preferred seating in the Red Mile clubhouse. More information can be found at Redmileky.com.
And if you want to wager on Oaks and Derby days but watch from home, there will be drive-through betting at Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Park from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to Derby (post time is 6:24 p.m.) on Saturday.
▪ Proud Mary Honky Tonk BBQ, 9079 Old Richmond Road, will have a Derby Eve party from 8 p.m. Friday to midnight. For more information, call 859-913-5611. And on Mother’s Day on Sunday, Proud Mary will have a full buffet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will serve the regular menu from 5 to 10 p.m.
▪ Le Deauville, 199 North Limestone, will be open for Mother’s Day, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a brunch and dinner menu with favorites including omelets, eggs Benedict and steak. Reservations are recommended by calling 859-246-0999.
▪ Lexington cookbook author Barbara Harper Bach will be at the Pet Fair from noon to 5 p.m. May 6 at City National Bank, 3616 Walden Drive, with her cookbook for pet treats, Butler’s Doggie Dish of the Day. She will have lots of treats from the book for tasting.
▪ Lexington Farmers Market, Cheapside Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m Saturday and Southland Drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, will have more local strawberries, asparagus, fresh mint, eggs, chicken, beef, lamb and pork, greens, plants and more. And the farmers market is now open Tuesdays and Thursdays until 4 p.m. at Broadway and Maxwell.
▪ Bluegrass Farmers Market, at Azur, 3070 Lakecrest Circle and and Liquor Barn at Hamburg, 1837 Plaudit Place, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, will have fresh mint, asparagus, jams and jellies, plants, eggs, meat, breads, spring greens and more.
▪ Jessamine Growers Farmers Market, behind City Hall at the corner of Main and Rice streets in Wilmore from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, will have locally grown spring greens, and other seasonal vegetables, vegetable garden transplants, perennials and trees.