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Top Places to Watch the Kentucky Derby

With the Kentucky Derby approaching on May 5, here are some of the best places to celebrate and catch the big race!

It’s the biggest Derby Party west of Kentucky at Santa Anita Park racetrack in Arcadia, California, located just off highway I-210 west from the I-605 freeway. Saturday, May 5 is the 144th annual Kentucky Derby, also known as the Run for the Roses, one of this nation’s oldest traditions. At Santa Anita, you can watch live racing and witness the Kentucky action as you cheer on Southern California hometown hero horses “Justify” and “Bolt D’Oro” on the big screen. Derby day highlights at Santa Anita include the Kentucky Derby Trackside Craft Beer Festival, The Californian Vintage Motorcycle show, a Kentucky Derby hat contest, family fun zone, restaurant dining packages and a whole lot more! Gates open at 7:15 a.m. and first post for the first live race at Santa Anita is at noon.

If you’re heading down south on Saturday, the best places to watch the Kentucky Derby are at sports bars like Sammy’s Original in Lake Forest. There, you can wager on horse racing and eat exceptional grub. Try the buffalo wings and potato skins at Sammy’s — you won’t regret it. Sammy’s burger basket is also great food fare on the big day.

You can also check out OC Tavern in San Clemente, and if you happen to be in San Diego during the Run for the Roses, check out a neat satellite wagering facility and pub called Striders, owned by a racing enthusiast and horse owner. Located at 100 J St. in Downtown San Diego, Striders even has representatives there to teach you how to bet!

So journey on to one of these great venues, place a wager, have a mint julep, and watch those horses come thundering down the stretch!


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