An unlimited number of tickets are available to anyone who wants to get into Churchill Downs on the day of the Kentucky Derby for an area of the track called the infield. The infield has no seating. There are few places in the infield to see the race, and chances are you could go the entire day without even seeing a horse. However, the tens of thousands of horseracing fans, the joyful atmosphere, and the abundance of alcohol combine to make the Kentucky Derby infield the site of the biggest Kentucky Derby party in town.
On average, 80,000 people spend their Derby Saturday partying in the infield. It’s crowded, the ground is the only sitting area, and nearly everyone is drinking. Unless you’re one of the first few hundred people to arrive in the infield, you’re not going to be able to get near the spots where you can watch the horses or the races. If it’s sunny or raining, there are not really many covered areas where you can get out of the elements. At least 50% of the attendees are going to be rowdy college students. The Kentucky Derby infield is, in essence, a party, and that’s primarily the reason people attend.