Big Media Parking Changes for 2018 Kentucky Derby Week

Posted April 21, 2018 - Updated April 26, 2018

With extensive ongoing parking renovations at Churchill Downs, media parking will be affected before and during Kentucky Derby week. Kevin Kerstein made himself available to NTWAB President Alicia Hughes and board member Nicole Russo to discuss the matter, and here's a rundown.

Kerstein said the guards at Gate 5 will still honor 2017 seasonal passes for those wishing to get on the backside before Derby week to cover workouts, etc. However, to park on the backside during Derby week, a pass will be strictly required. For those who don't get a backside parking pass for Derby Week, please see below.

Saturday April 28 to Wednesday May 2

- There will be media parking in the Papa Johns parking lot with shuttle service beginning at 4:00 a.m. The shuttles are supposed to drop media persons at Gate 1 where there will be  metal detectors. From there, golf cart shuttles are supposed to run back and forth to and from the backside every few minutes.

- Or you can try finding a parking space on the street in the surrounding neighborhoods OR the lot across from Gate 5 where the church used to be. That is now called the Purple Lot. That lot, we are told, will be open for media parking until Thursday, but be aware that it's first come, first served and could fill up before you arrive.

- There will be no parking on the Longfield lot on race days. Longfield was previously a free lot, but now it is reserved parking only. On non-race days, however (Sunday and Monday of Derby week) you should be able to get in there.

Thursday (Thurby) May 3, Oaks Day and Derby Day

- The media parking lot will shift to the EXPO CENTER which has entrances off both Phillips Lane and Crittenden Drive. At this post, NTWAB was awaiting word from Churchill Downs as to the preferred access point. Shuttle service is scheduled to begin at 4:00 a.m., and we are told will run until at least 11:00 p.m. if not later. Same protocol as before -- the shuttle will drop off at Gate 1, go through metal detectors, get on golf cart shuttles to the backside.

- UPDATE as of April 26: We are told that entrances to the EXPO CENTER on both Phillips Lane and Crittenden Drive will honor media parking passes.

- Expect closures on Floyd Street, in addition to Central Avenue, on Thurby/Oaks/Derby.

Parking Passes: Please refer to your credential approval about how to get them. You will need them to park at Papa Johns Stadium and at the Expo Center.

Bottom Line: Give yourself extra time to get anywhere. This is a new system, and it is highly probable there will be kinks during the course of the week.

Any Further Questions? Once you've read this memo thoroughly, if you are credentialed and there are unaddressed questions, please contact Kevin Kerstein via

By Dick Downey for NTWAB