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127th Kentucky Derby this Saturday

Enjoy horsing around Louisville at Derby time

Fusaichi Pegasus was the winner of last year's Kentucky Derby, finishing 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Aptitude  

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Dress for excess

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(CNN) -- If the Derby's just the greatest two minutes in sports, you'll have a little extra time on your hands in Kentucky this weekend.

And it's a good thing, as the 127th running of the Kentucky Derby in Louisville approaches.

Whether you're fixing to hobnob with the horsy set or, like, road-trip in with the frat brothers, dude, there's plenty to occupy yourself during your foray into the Bluegrass State.

WHAT: 127th Kentucky Derby
WHEN: May 5. Gates open at 8 a.m. The first post is at 11:30 a.m. EST
WHERE: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
HOW MUCH: Reserved seating is sold out. General admission is $40.

For more on the 2001 Triple Crown, visit
What's the best part about going to the Derby?

The race, of course!
Mingling with the crowd
The mint juleps
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The big race for the 3-year-olds starts late Saturday afternoon, but folks will be mixing those mint juleps around Louisville a good bit earlier than that.

If you have reserved seating at Churchill Downs, congratulations, because those tickets are long-gone. The rest of you can invest $40 in general-admission tickets, which are unlimited and provide standing-room-only access to the first-floor paddock area and the infield. Gates open at 8 a.m. EST.

While the upscale horse enthusiasts are mingling in the stands, some of the heaviest-duty partying will be going on in the 40-acre infield, which draws some 80,000 fans each year. One word of caution: Don't expect a great view of the action -- not the equine variety, anyway.

Dress for excess

And lest we forget, this isn't any old sporting event; leave the tank tops and Tevas at home. The derby folks recommend business-casual attire for men, and hats and spring colors for women in the ground-level garden area, or still-dressier clothes for ticket holders. If you're in the infield, casual will do just fine.

There is, of course, more than one race during Derby weekend. On Friday, more than 100,000 fans are expected for the 127th Kentucky Oaks, described as the premier filly race in the United States. Again, reserved seating is sold out, but general admission tickets are available for $25.

Several other events will coincide with the Derby festivities, some on the very grounds of Churchill Downs. The Crown Royal Festival in the Field features music by Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, Tantric and Saliva on Thursday, followed by Cheap Trick on Friday

Kent Desormeaux and Fusaichi Pegasus in the winner's circle  

The Kentucky Derby Museum features an exhibition of works by singer Tony Bennett, the official artist for this year's Derby. An accomplished artist, Bennett created separate paintings for the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. The exhibition, featuring oils, watercolors, sketches and lithographs, will be displayed through May 10.

If you're in town on Wednesday, catch a race of a different sort -- this one on the Ohio River. There, local favorite Belle of Louisville takes on New Orleans' Delta Queen in the Great Steamboat Race.

On Thursday, the 46th Derby Festival Pegasus Parade brings an array of floats, marching bands and -- well, what else? -- horses.

Baseball, betting, browsing

Here's a sampling of other options for your Derby Week, or any time you want to visit Louisville.

• If betting on horses isn't enough gambling for one weekend, you'll find plenty of it at the Caesar's Glory of Rome, described as the world's largest gaming vessel. Berthed on the Ohio River about 15 miles west of Louisville, it has more than 140 gaming tables and 2,800 slot machines.

• Baseball fans will want to stop off at the Louisville Slugger Museum, which is devoted to the famed baseball bat. The museum features interactive displays, a playing field and full-size dugout, rare baseball equipment and memorabilia, and a tour of the manufacturing plant. Outside is the world's tallest baseball bat, 120 feet of hardwood.

• Some of Louisville's most grand and historic homes can be found in Old Louisville, a 48-block area that contains the largest collection of Victorian homes in a single historic district in the United States. It's also home to the Speed Art Museum, which has more than 3,000 works by Rembrandt, Monet and other famed artists.

• Visitors looking to check out animals other than the equine variety might want to visit the Louisville Zoo, a 133-acre park with more than 1,300 creatures. Want to see the largest Komodo dragon in North America? It's at the zoo.

• Another popular attraction is the Louisville Science Center. Located downtown, it features a variety of hands-on exhibits and an IMAX theater. A highlight is the $5.5 million exhibit "The World We Create," a collection of interactive stations showcasing human creativity and problem solving.

Destinations: Louisville
April 1998

Caesars Indiana
Louisville Slugger Museum
Old Louisville Guide
Kentucky Derby Museum
Churchill Downs
Louisville and Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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