The Derby Dream Trip Sweepstakes offered the chance to win a weekend trip to the Kentucky Oaks and Derby for two people. All the stops were pulled out for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, including limo transport, 4-star hotel digs, and all-inclusive VIP tickets for both the Oaks and Derby. The Kentucky Derby is the most famous horse race in the country, drawing over 150,000 fans to Louisville’s Churchill Downs annually. The day prior to the Kentucky Derby is known as the Kentucky Oaks, and is similarly popular, featuring younger horses during races, a pink theme, and charitable opportunities relating to breast cancer. For loyal DIRECTV customers Erica and Michael, this prize was a lifelong dream.
Erica and the track’s mascot, Churchill Charlie.
When Erica got the call that she had won, she almost hung up, later saying, “I just couldn’t believe I had really won, it felt completely unreal!” After the initial shock had passed, she couldn’t have been more excited, and knew immediately that she’d be bringing her partner Michael along for the ride. Both Erica and Michael are longtime residents of Kentucky, yet neither had ever had the chance to go to the Derby in person.
“We’ve been to other events [at Churchill Downs] in the past, but we usually just go to a friend’s house for a watch party on Derby Day,” Erica recalls. “This is a treat for us to see the races like this.”
Erica and Michael got to be right in the middle of the action with a VIP grandstand experience package.
After being picked up from their home by limousine transport and dropped off at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Louisville, Erica and Michael were ready for a deluxe weekend at the races. Well-known traditions of the Derby include mint juleps, a garland of roses for the winning horse, beautiful hats, and depending on the seating section, even group costumes. Both winners leaned into the opportunity to dress up and follow the custom of blazers and fascinators for the weekend. They looked amazing on the red carpet! The race itself is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fast, sometimes called “the most exciting two minutes in sports”, but a full day’s programming of races and performances is what really builds up the energy. With seats only three rows back from the track on the main straightaway, and unlimited food and drinks included in their package, Michael and Erica got to see over 20 races up close and personal across both days.
The winners took the opportunity to experience it all, including trying a famous Louisville Hot Brown, and tasting the two iconic drinks of the event, the Oaks Lily and the Mint Julep. They even placed a few winning bets! Finally, the unexpected cherry on top of the trip was that they ran into plenty of celebrities around Louisville and at the event, including Travis Tritt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Overall, the weekend was packed with excitement and glamor, and Erica and Michael loved every minute of it.
“We’ve been dreaming about attending the Derby for years. Thanks to DIRECTV, we can finally check it off our bucket list!”