Break out your fancy hats, ladies and gents. The 143rd Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 6.

Churchill Downs may be more than 600 miles away from Finger Lakes Wine Country, but we still get in on the celebration. Join the party with these festive events:

FLD Derby Party


Harness Racing Opening Day and Derby Fest

 Map Pin Tioga Downs Casino

Derby Fest (May 6) serves as the official kickoff to the live harness racing season at Tioga Downs Casino. Enjoy a full day of horse racing and entertainment with live music, live and virtual racing, a derby hat contest, special promotions, and, of course, a simulcast of the Kentucky Derby. Fireworks will top off the evening after racing.

Tioga Downs Racing

Events schedule:

  • Live music at Sideshow Lounge: Yada Yadas from 1-4PM & Splash from 9PM-12AM
  • Live music at Virgil's Real BBQ: Virgil Cain from 9PM-12AM
  • NY Lottery table, 1-4PM
  • Virtual racing, 1-4PM
  • Derby hat contest, 2-4PM ($500 first place prize)
  • Edward P. Maloney Pipe Band, 4:30-5PM
  • Live harness racing, post time 5PM
  • Fireworks following live racing
  • Kentucky Derby simulcast and wagering, post time 6:34PM
  • Cash hot seats, 8PM: $500; 9PM: $600; 10PM: $700; 11PM: $800; 12AM: $1,000

Also be on the lookout for special betting promotions and giveaways like race date schedule t-shirts and wall calendars.


8th Annual Kentucky Derby Party

 Map Pin Finger Lakes Distilling

Throw on your derby day attire join the party at the 8th Annual Kentucky Derby Party at Finger Lakes Distilling on Saturday, May 6th from 5-8PM. Watch the race and enjoy live music by the Notorious Stringbusters, house cocktails, ales from Seneca Lake Brewing, wines and hard ciders from Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, and heavy hors d’oeuvres from Nickel’s Pit BBQ to balance out all those mint juleps. To kick the party up a notch, Finger Lakes Distilling will also be releasing a new single barrel bourbon. This popular event sells out quickly, so purchase your tickets now!

Can't get enough horse racing? The Kentucky Derby Party is part of a Triple Crown Party series hosted by Finger Lakes Distilling, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards and Seneca Lake Brewing Company. Each horse race party will host live music, great food, and an awesome time! Attend all three parties and save $15 by selecting the Triple Crown Event Package when purchasing your tickets.

May 6, 2017 – Kentucky Derby Party @ Finger Lakes Distilling (5–8PM)
May 20, 2017 – Preakness Stakes Party @ Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards (5–8PM)
June 10, 2017 – The Belmont Stakes BBQ & Garden Party @ Seneca Lake Brewing Company (5:30–9PM)


Cinco de Derby

 Map Pin Krooked Tusker Distillery

Partying on Keuka Lake? Check out Hammondsport's newest distillery for a unique Cinco de Mayo/Kentucky Derby mashup celebration. Stop by from 12-8PM on May 6 to watch the Derby, and enjoy cocktails, live music, and authentic Mexican food and derby dogs from JR's Back Alley BBQ.

Cinco de Derby


Don't forget the cocktails!

Try these signature Kentucky Derby recipes from Finger Lakes Distilling.

FLD Kentucky Derby Cocktails


Mint Julep


Muddle mint and simple syrup in a rocks glass. Add crushed ice and bourbon. Stir and garnish with mint sprig.


The Derby


Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with mint leaf.

For more great events in Finger Lakes Wine Country, visit