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150th Kentucky Derby: Chef Robert Lopez Unveils his menu for Run for the Roses

Churchill Downs Racetrack (“Churchill Downs”) and hospitality partner Levy released the official on-track menu for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby® presented by Woodford Reserve.

150th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4

Guests at the track for Longines Kentucky Oaks® on Friday, May 3 and the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4 will enjoy bespoke food and beverage experiences that pay homage to and celebrate this global entertainment event.

This year’s menu was created by Chef Robert Lopez, head chef for the 150th Run for the Roses® and Senior Executive Chef for Levy.

This year marks Chef Lopez’s first Derby and the 23rd consecutive year Levy has partnered with Churchill Downs to deliver world-class hospitality for the legendary race weekend.

Under Levy, Chef Lopez has led culinary teams at prestigious horse racing venues across the country, as well as storied ballparks and iconic entertainment events.

He now brings his expertise and an inspired new perspective to the dining scene at Churchill Downs, creating a menu that fuses Southern specialties and vibrant spring flavors, making for a culinary experience that will be as thrilling as the historic race itself.

“Any chef who’s created culinary experiences in a sports and entertainment venue dreams of the opportunity of the Kentucky Derby,”

Chef Lopez

“This event has an unmatched taste tradition built on contributions from so many incredible chefs. 150 will never happen again, so our approach in creating the menu was to elevate the classics and take advantage of the wealth of seasonal ingredients in our community and region.

We sourced local ingredients like asparagus, peas, bourbon, and cherries to strike a balance between rich, bold flavors of iconic Southern staples and the freshness of spring. My team and I are incredibly excited for guests to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience in every bite.”

In addition to the signature menu items, Churchill Downs will be offering an array of other delectable bites and pouring classic beverages and staple Kentucky Derby cocktails for all attendees to enjoy at the track.

For more information, including recipes and images for the official menu, please visit https://www.kentuckyderby.com/official-derby-menu.

To learn additional details about this year’s race, please visit https://www.kentuckyderby.com/.

The Official Kentucky Derby 150 On-Track Food Menu

Spring Pea Pasta Salad

Locally grown English peas, pecorino cheese, country ham, green onions

Spring Panzanella Salad

Lemons, English cucumber, scallions, sugar snap peas, croutons, asparagus, feta cheese 

My Old Kentucky Bibb Salad

Bosc pears, toasted walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, red onion, chives, herbed buttermilk dressing

Herbed Gournay Wiesenberger Grits

Chicken stock/broth, roasted corn, Boursin cheese, green onion, Kenny’s cheddar cheese

Roasted Cauliflower & Brussel Spouts

Garlic cloves, red onion, peppadew peppers

Bourbon Cherry Brisket Burnt Ends

Veal demi-glace, cherry juice, cherry preserves, Levy BBQ sauce, Woodford Reserve Bourbon®, fried onions

‘Nduja Shrimp Pasta

Dry white wine, crushed tomatoes, lemon zest

Kentucky Derby 150 Beverage Menu

Old Forester Mint Julep
Old Forester, simple syrup, fresh mint, crushed ice

Finlandia® Oaks Lily®
Finlandia, sweet and sour, Triple Sec, cranberry juice, blackberries, lemon wedge, crushed ice

Woodford Reserve Spire
Woodford Reserve, lemonade, cranberry juice, lemon twist, ice

Herradura Horseshoe Margarita
Herradura Silver, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, lime wheel, ice

Kendall-Jackson 2021 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Kendall-Jackson 2022 Mendocino County Chardonnay

Kentucky Derby Dining By The Numbers:

  • 20,000 pieces of assorted desserts
  • 10,000 lbs of smoked brisket
  • 9,000 lbs of shrimp
  • 1,000 lbs of cheese
  • 1,000 lbs of mint for Mint Juleps
  • 24,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julep Bourbon Cocktail are expected to be used
  • 20,000 bottles of Woodford Reserve are expected to be used

About Chef Robert Lopez 

Chef Lopez joined Churchill Downs as the Chef and Culinary Expert for the 150th Kentucky Derby. As Senior Executive Chef for Levy, he oversees Churchill Downs and Matt Winn’s Steakhouse. As a culinary leader for Levy, Lopez has dished out incredible elevated food and beverage experiences for fans at NBA arenas, MLB ballparks and F1 Grand Prix. For the 150th Derby, he brings his one-of-a-kind racetrack bites and fresh spin on classic Kentucky flavors to ring in this pivotal year at Churchill Downs.

About the Kentucky Derby

The $5 million Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Inaugurated in 1875, the legendary 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds is the longest continually-held major sporting event in North America and the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown series. Also known as, “The Run for the Roses®” and “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports®,” the Kentucky Derby is the most attended horse race in the nation. The 150th Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2024. For more information, please visit www.KentuckyDerby.com.

About Levy

The disruptor in defining the sports and entertainment hospitality experience, Levy is recognized as the market leader and most critically acclaimed hospitality company in its industry. Twice named one of the 10 most innovative companies in sports by Fast Company magazine and one of the top three Best Employers for Diversity in America by Forbes, Levy’s diverse portfolio includes award-winning restaurants; iconic sports and entertainment venues, zoos and cultural institutions, theaters and music festivals, and convention centers; as well as the Super Bowl, Grammy Awards, US Open Tennis Tournament, Kentucky Derby, Coachella and Stagecoach Music Festivals, and NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, and MLS All-Star Games.

For more, visit levyrestaurants.com or follow us on LinkedInInstagram, and X.

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