Watch And Wager On The Kentucky Derby At Woodbine’s Viewing Party

Written By Matthew Lomon on May 4, 2023 - Last Updated on May 5, 2023
Mint Julep

The 149th running of the Kentucky Derby is just two days away.

Now, don’t fret if a trip down to Louisville isn’t in the cards for this weekend, those floppy hats and fancy suits can still be put to good use.

For the first time since 2019, Woodbine Racetrack is playing host to a Derby Day Party at the newly renovated Champions Bar, on Saturday May 6.

“We are thrilled to host a Derby Day party at Woodbine Racetrack this year – especially since we weren’t able to the last few years due to the pandemic,” said Kelly Tyson, director, marketing, events, and experience at Woodbine.

“It’s going to be an amazing day. Guests will experience the Derby vibe without having to head down to Kentucky.”

Undoubtedly, that Derby vibe is what people crave. Luckily, Woodbine seems to have the formula figured out.

** Update ** Canadian content slides in under the wire

Woodbine’s own, Kazushi Kimura, will be riding in the Kentucky Derby aboard Japanese-trained horse, Mandarin Hero.

On Thursday evening, it was announced that Kimura, a two-time Sovereign Award winner as Canada’s outstanding rider (2021, 2022), would be heading down to Louisville for “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

At 23-years-old, he is currently the youngest jockey in the field and one of five other Derby first timers.

“I am so excited to get this opportunity and I hope it can be a memorable day for the connections, the horse and myself,” Kimura told Woodbine’s communications team Thursday.

Woodbine plans on bringing southern charm to viewing party

Canada’s premier horse racing venue is looking to infuse some of that Churchill Downs allure into Saturday’s viewing party. To make that happen, it’s basing the event around staples of the Kentucky Derby: hospitality, tradition, and pageantry.


From hors-d’oeuvres to hot and cold food stations, and decadent deserts, guests of the event are treated to a delectable selection of southern gourmet favourites.

Because it wouldn’t be a true southern experience without a wealth of delicious comfort food, right?


Nothing says Kentucky Derby like the mint julep. While the bourbon-based cocktail may generate mixed reviews, there is no doubting its role as a race day fixture.

Each mint julep will come in a collectible, take home glass that guests can hold onto as a relic, if they so please.


In true Derby Day fashion, all attendees should dress to impress. Break out the fedoras, sunglasses, suit jackets, clutches, or anything else that stands out.

There will be a photo booth to capture the collection of eccentric looks, along with prizes for the ones that stand out most.

Guests will have access to all this and more with the purchase of a $110 general admission ticket. However, inputting the code WBNGET at checkout will knock 20% off the ticket price.

Betting options are scarce, but available

Long story short, as part of Bill C-218, Ontario sports bettors will only be able to wager online through and the Dark Horse Bets app. Prior to regulation, Ontario residents could bet on horse racing through grey market sites, but that is now off limits.

Outside of the online game, punters can also wager on the Derby on-site at Woodbine. In addition to the marquee event, Woodbine will feature its own card of 10 races that day.

“We also have live racing at Woodbine on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.,” said Tyson. “It will be a super fun day with fashion and racing at the centre of all of it.”

Celebrate the ‘Run for the Roses’ in style at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday May 6 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Post time is approximately 6:45 p.m. EST.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Matthew Lomon

Matthew Lomon has been a contributor at Catena Media’s network of regional sites since July 2022. He first broke into covering the legal North American gambling industry with PlayCanada. Since then, Matthew's reporting has extended to PlayMichigan, PlayPennsylvania, and PlayIllinois. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, Matthew is an avid (bordering on fanatic) sports fan.

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