Ladies and gentlemen, when you come out for the music you're going to broil. I've spent hours on the infield and I'm here to tell you the three best places to sneak in a little free air conditioning.
1) Best Buy Trailer
You can find it near the Budweiser stage on the infield. In addition to the coldest air conditioning, they also offer a free cellphone charging station.
2) Smoking Lounge
Yes, you can smoke outdoors for free, or you can smoke indoors in the blessed air while sitting on a comfy couch.
3) Churchill Downs Gift Shop
Okay, this isn't in the infield, but it's still a great place to step out of the heat. Pretend you're there to buy a hat.
Honorable mention goes to the PS3 booth. They're still open air, but the fans there are still a ton better than the Home Depot clearance sale items duct tape to walls in the Cool Zones.
I will give Churchill Downs some credit for realizing people will collapse of heat exhaustion if they don't offer something. There are multiple shaded areas accessible to everyone.
However, I will warn you now that the cool zones are well intentioned but utterly inadequate. Sure, you can get out of the sun for a little while. If you're really desperate, you can stand in front of the mist equipped fans, but when all is said and done you're still going to be standing in 100 degree temperatures while fighting for a breeze.
Remember, you can bring 2 bottles of water with you. If you're on a tight budget, bring them both and stop by the Kentucky Heritage Market Place, where you'll find three precious free public water fountains for refills.
Photo credit Chris-Rachael Oseland