Up above in the boxed seats, you'll find women in dresses that cost more than my rent, men envying the youth of one another's trophy wives, and the occasional celebrity. The food is good, the drinks are better, and there are no lines for betting.
We're not talking about them.
Down below, the infield teems with debauchery. It doesn't matter whether you like horses. You're paying for the people watching. The Derby is full of booze, boobs, and bad ideas - and we're here to share the best of the worst.
BEWARE THE PORTA POTTIES
"One year this dude climbed up on the portapots and started doing jumping jacks. He'd hop on one, do a couple jumping jacks, whip it out and waggle it at the crowd, then hop to the next one and start it all over again. Boom, boom, boom. Shocked the hell out of anybody inside," said Jake. He wasn't alone. Everyone seemed to have a story about someone climbing up the edge of the infield toilets and running for it.
Even though the lines are long, you'd think you could get a little privacy inside the porta potties. John said, "One year, I was in the restroom. I must not've locked it good enough. There was such a line to get in. This girl bust in, ran in, didn't even care that I was there. She dropped her drawers, caught the edge of the sink and just peed in place. She looked at me and said, 'I don't care. I already lost all my shame.'"
"That's nothing," said Darren. "This couple were going at it in the handicapped portalet. They thought they were being quiet, but we saw them both go in and there's all the thumping, I mean, that plastic isn't thick. Some guy tried to throw a condom through that air hole thing in the top. He didn't want their baby to grow up knowing he was concieved in a dirty infield toilet."
Frat boys and Sorority Girls put more thought into smuggling booze into Derby than they do into final exams.
"Derby is a zoo," said Ralph. "Last time I saw some crazy stuff. People come in with lunch boxes, baby carriages, anything they can to try and hide liquor, and security takes all that away and throw it in the dumpster. They've got security all around the dumpsters because drunks will try to climb in and drink whatever they can lay hands on. I saw 2 liters that look like Big Red, but it's beer with food coloring and they glue the caps back on. Vodka in water bottles with the caps glued back on, too. Security, they know all the tricks. Don't waste your glue."
The clever smugglers put some real thought into it. "I had this awesome lab partner in chemistry. He taught me how to punch a pinhole in the bottom of a Coke can and let all the coke out without the can exploding. That way, the top never gets popped, see? Once everything's out, you fill it back up with bourbon. Takes forever, so you need a few days. You can't wake up Derby morning and do this. Once the can's all full, you just put a little putty over the hole, go over with with a silver sharpie, and you're good to go - twelve ounces of bourbon!" said Nate.
Jessica smuggled hers in using more natural assets. "I have this crazy oversized bra. It's a double D." She looked down at her chest. "On a good day, I'm maybe a B. I fill up plastic baggies with bourbon and use them to pad my bra. No one can tell - it's perfect! Now I've got bourbon and great tits! Once I'm inside, I just bust open a corner and take shots out of it."
Mind you, clever smuggling doesn't always work.
"I saw a guy try to smuggle in a twelve pack strapped to his chest. Security took his shirt off - he looked like a suicide bomber! It was wrapped all around him. He must've had on four t-shirts to make it look less lumpy, but he had a tiny head on this great big body, he wasn't fooling anybody. Saddest part was he was drinking Natty Light!"
If you can't smuggle your own in, some people actually try to smuggle some out. "A couple years ago, my friend, who is now deceased, actually wheeled a keg out to the gate off a beer vendor's truck. They caught him at the gate, but he almost made it out with a full keg he'd swiped!" Wes grinned proudly at the memory.
GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS
"Every single year I see a drunk get a free ride home in an ambulance. It's always a girl," said Drew.
"One year I saw these two hotties get free drinks all day long. Guys had to bring two shots, one for each of them. They'd pour it in their belly button and the other one would lick it all out," said Amber. "Made me wish I looked that good."
This is a game only women can play. "Craziest thing I've seen on the infield? What, you mean other than boobs, boobs, and more boobs? One year I saw this guy, I don't know what he spent on Mardi Grass Beads, but he was totally covered in them, hanging off his arms and neck and out his fly. He kept trying to get the girls to buy HIM a beer and he'd give them beads. I don't know that he got a single taker," said Tim.
Johnny admitted to what some would consider alcohol abuse, but he considered his best year at Derby. "A few years ago, me and my friends had organized a slip and slide for the girls. We smuggled in a mini-keg and poured the beer down it so the girls were sliding. We were all dressed like big working Mexicans in matching t-shirts - because, you know, we were working their lawns."
"Topless mudslides!" said Lincoln. "I love Derby when it rains!"
Lincoln wasn't alone in his fondness for damp Derby days. "Craziest thing at Derby? Naked mud wrestling one year when it rained. I don't think it started naked. A couple girls still had panties on and there was one creepy dude who kept trying to jump in. Half the girls looked like they were done any time he'd get close, so the other drunks had to hold him back so they could see the show," said Dan.
"Best thing on the infield? Strip twister at turn 3. I didn't win. I just watched. Best part of the race." Wes toasted the memory.
GUYS GUYS GUYS
"Don't fall asleep," said Ralph. "No matter how drunk you get. I saw a dude passed out. His drunk friends shaved his head, cracked an egg over his head, and put his hair back on it."
Fill frat boys with enough booze ad they become invincible. "One of my buddies tried climbing on top of a fucking semi. He did a backbuster on the ground from 12 feet," said Jerry.
"Do guys still streak?" asked Crystal. "One year I was out there and this skinny guy takes it all off and starts running. The thing is, it's the infield. Where's he gonna go? He'd run ten feet, then couldn't get through the crowd no more, worm his way around, and run ten feet more. Nobody cared about his bony behind because they were all busy looking at the girls - who weren't wearing much more than the streaker."
Bailey's eyes got wide at his weirdest Derby memory. "Oh man, this drunk douche totally lost it. He'd roped off this huge space for his cooler and chair and it was all full up with empties. Some dude walked over it instead of going around and the drunk threw him to the ground and started whaling on him. I think he broke his nose before people pulled him off."
"Guys with tattoos. Are they required to take their shirts off just to get in the gate? Guys, if you look like you're wearing a sweater at the beach, don't get a tattoo under all that hair. It's gross," said Tiffany.
RESPECT THE LOCALS
One word of warning - pay for parking. Don't try to steal it. While you're at it, try not to puke in any stranger's yards. They may be armed.
"When I worked out at Showcase cinemas, I worked with a guy who lived on Central Avenue, out close to Churchill Downs. It's the prime parking area. Him, his son, and his wife would take it in turns all weekend with shotguns, just sitting on their porch, because people would just pull up into their yard and park in their yard, drive over the grass, drive over everything they'd made look good. They didn't want to mess up their yard, so they had to stand out there with a gun and shout at the drunks, 'Do not park here, we will shoot you!'"
Photo courtsey MCHardt via Flickr.