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The Real Cost of Attending the Kentucky Derby

By Bloomberg Rankings - 2012-05-03T16:31:25Z

Photograph by Al Bello/Getty Images

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"The Best Two Minutes in Sports"

Since its start in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has become the premier race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses, attracting 165,000 visitors a year to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. While the 1.25-mile race is the main attraction, the scene on game day can still be a colorful throwback to the horse races of the European aristocracy -- from the plentiful food and drink to the natty attire and those famously floral hats. The city is also home to a two-week Derby festival leading up to the big day. According to a local tourism official, the Derby and the festival before it should generate at least $345 million in spending.