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2014 Kentucky Derby Security still tight

Track Cautions: 'If You See Something, Say Something'

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Police at the Kentucky Derby horse racing

Nearly 40 local, state, and federal law enforcement and government agencies will be involved in the Derby and Oaks security effort at Churchill Downs.

© Cindy Pierson Dulay

Churchill Downs Racetrack has released its list of security and hospitality policies and procedures for this year's 140th celebrations of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 3, and the Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 2.

The list mirrors the revised list of policies and procedures from last year that was issued following the attack on the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. As it retains last year's adjusted roster of security and hospitality policies, Churchill Downs officials are again asking Derby and Oaks patrons to be aware during their visits on both days and to heed a simple, but important, reminder: "If you see something, say something."

Most prominent among the policies for this year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks are:

  • A ban on carry-in coolers. Patrons will not be allowed bring their own coolers; however, coolers and ice will be available at several infield purchase points;
  • Purses or bags measuring more than 12 inches in any dimension will not be allowed through any admission gate;
  • Cans of any size or type and glass bottles and containers will not be permitted;
  • Patron and pop-up tents are prohibited. Poles and stakes of any kind are not permitted.
  • A ban on laptop computers, cameras with detachable lenses, cameras with attached lenses measuring six inches or more, camcorders and tripods;

Most of the remaining security procedures on Churchill Downs' 2014 list have been in place since sweeping changes to those policies were formulated by the track and its security and safety partners and adopted for the 2002 Kentucky Derby.

Among the items permitted for carry-in on both days are:

  • Food items and box lunches contained in clear plastic bags or clear plastic containers measuring no larger than 18" x 18";
  • Water and soft drinks in plastic bottles that are sealed and unopened;
  • Sunscreen (in non-glass containers only);
  • Purses measuring less than 12" in any dimension, and baby and diaper bags, if accompanied by a child.
  • Cellular phones, smartphones and tablets (patrons could be required to turn on electronic items before being allowed to enter the track);
  • Small cameras with non-detachable lenses no longer than six inches.

"Our sincere hope is that every fan who visits Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks has an amazing experience," said Ryan Jordan, General Manager of Churchill Downs. "Our fans have told us that they feel safe when they visit our racetrack. We are thankful for the tireless efforts of nearly 40 law enforcement, security and safety agencies who work together with Churchill Downs team members each year on security and safety policies for these great events.

"In addition to maintaining tightened security policies, we are again asking that our patrons be aware of their surroundings and to say something to a uniformed security officer or a member of our Churchill Downs staff if they see something that seems out of the ordinary. 'If you see something, say something' is an important thought for all to remember."

As has been the case since 2002, when security procedures were completely overhauled following the 9/11 terrorist attacks the previous autumn, all patrons entering the track on those days are subject to electronic wand scans.

A complete checklist of what items are allowed and not allowed on Oaks and Derby day is available here.

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