Kentucky Derby: 9 places to watch live and celebrate


This Saturday is the Super Bowl of horse racing, as the top animal athletes will be heading to the Kentucky Derby for a nail-biting race that lasts about two minutes. There will be classy hats, mint juleps, and hordes of intoxicated people. 

Minnesota will be celebrating the race as well, as quite a few places plan to screen the event live. So if you need an excuse to day drink, this is it. This list consists of rooftop parties, rock-club viewings, racetrack happenings, benefit parties, and other fun to be had.

Kentucky Derbatante Party

(Betty Danger's Country Club, 2501 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-315-4997)

At this celebration you’ll not only be able to watch the races live on big-screen TVs, you’ll also be able to partake in all the traditions. Mint juleps will be poured, crazy hats and fascinators are encouraged (and might win you a prize), and violins will keep things classy and set tensions high. There will be horses and ponies on hand for you to pet and pose with, and less traditional fun includes an '80s dance party, a food truck serving up Tex-Mex treats, and folks racing in person with inflatable horses. $16.95; includes one mint julep. 4 to 9 p.m. 


Derby Day Party

(Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-647-0486,

Saturdays at the Turf are usually reserved for cartoon screenings and rock shows. This Saturday, they'll be getting sporty with mint juleps on the menu, food specials, and contests for the biggest hat, the best hat, and the ugliest hat. Oh yeah, and the Kentucky Derby will air on the big screen. Free. 4 p.m.

Annual Kentucky Derby Party

(Brit's Pub & Eating Establishment, 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis)

Watch the races from a variety of locations, including the outdoor Veranda bar. Before and after the two-minute race, there will be plenty of mint juleps, bluegrass with Pocahontas County, cigar rolling, a photo booth, and other shenanigans. 1 to 6 p.m.

Run for the Roses Kentucky Derby Party

(Union Restaurant, 731 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-455-6690,

At this downtown party, you'll be able to watch the races on both levels. There will also be best hat and best dressed contests, carnival games, live music from the Jack Brass Band, and tunes from DJ Strangelove. Admission scores you complimentary mint juleps, so drink up! $25. 2-7 p.m. 

Derby Day

(Running Aces Casino and Racetrack, 15201 Zurich St. NE, Columbus, 651-925-4600,

What better place to watch the races than at a racetrack? Saturday at Running Aces will offer food and drink specials, a Derby hat contest, prizes, and a viewing of the race. Free. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. 


Derby Day Party

(Canterbury Park Racetrack and Card Casino, 1100 Canterbury Rd., Shakopee)

Meanwhile, at the other racetrack, Canterbury will also be celebrating the race, as you'll be able to watch live from any one of their 500-plus TVs. Three levels will be open to the public, and the infield toteboard will be screening the race as well if you prefer to sit outside. Admission is free, and VIP packages are available, call 952-496-6445 for more info. The first race at Churchill Downs is at 9 a.m.

Artful Derby Party

(The University Club of Saint Paul, 420 Summit Ave., St. Paul)

This party features picnic fare, bourbon and vodka cocktails, viewing of the race, cigar rolling, best dressed contests, a photobooth to commemorate your day, hats from local hat makers, and rides in Aston Martins, Bentleys, and Maseratis. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Smile Network. Purchase tickets here. $59.02. 3 to 7 p.m.

Kentucky Derby Day Affair

(Nicollet Island Pavilion, 40 Power St., Minneapolis, 651-642-1049)

At this party you'll be able to enjoy carriage rides, live horse exhibits, polo demonstrations, and a viewing of the Derby. This event is also for a good cause, as proceeds will benefit for Faith's Lodge, a place where parents taking care of a terminally ill child or dealing with recent loss can mourn, recover, and plan for the future. Tickets and more info at $45-$85. 1-9 p.m.

Kentucky Derby Run For the Roses Celebration

(Warehouse Winery, 6415 Cambridge St., St. Louis Park, 763-232-3707)

Another party for a good cause: Proceeds for this one benefits Twin Cities Foster Care Youth C2i. Here there will be live music, Derby-themed activities, food, wine sampling, a silent auction, and a live screening of the race. Tickets and more info at $30 individual; $50 for a pair. 3-7 p.m.