One year removed from American Pharoah’s historic blitz to the first Triple Crown in four decades, Churchill Downs is seeing a surge in ticket prices on the secondary market for the 142nd Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
According to data provided by secondary market site StubHub, sales have soared up by 10 percent as more horse racing fans from New York and California have traveled to Louisville for a chance to see the start of even more history.
The average ticket price is $552, compared to $538 last year when American Pharoah captured the first jewel of the Triple Crown. This year’s price range begins at $6 and goes as high as $8,305. In 2015, the price floor was higher at $46 and so was the ceiling at $10,964.
A recent StubHub search showed a range of $70 for a general admission pass to $3,223 for a spot on Millionaires Row and a view of the finish line.
Per usual, most of the 170,000-plus spectators at Churchill Downs will hail from Kentucky, but not as many as last year. Twenty percent of the expected crowd call the Bluegrass State home, while nine percent of sales are coming from California, seven percent from New York, and six percent apiece from Illinois and Ohio. Last year, Kentucky represented 23 percent of sales and with 10 percent coming from Texas.
As horse racing's biggest event, the Derby’s long stood out as a destination hotspot for a weekend getaway and for top-notch cuisine and food events. This year beer maker Stella Artois is sponsoring “Taste of Derby,” an event that brings chefs from around the region and country together and offers fine wine pairings while raising money for charity Dare to Care Food Bank.
Unfortunately, “Taste of Derby” is currently sold out, but spectators can still enjoy numerous local flavors throughout the track. Churchill Downs executive chef David Danielson announced the menu for the day back in March, complete with appetizers like Black and Blue salad and entrees like shrimp and grits and smoked turkey and brie.
The day won’t be complete for anyone attending the race live or at home unless they wrap their lips around a mint julep, the most famous drink tied to the Derby. Reportedly the track ordered 300 of mint for cocktail, which includes a simple syrup, crushed ice, and top quality bourbon served in a silver julep cup.
Kentucky Derby officials claim to sell about 120,000 mint julips on Friday and Saturday. At the track, a mint julip cost about $11 with a souvenir glass.