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Kentucky Derby 2012: Party Starts Early On Infield At Churchill Downs

AP  |  Posted: 05/05/2012 11:36 am Updated: 05/06/2012 11:10 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Despite damp grounds, the Kentucky Derby party started early on the infield at Churchill Downs. Bourbon and bets were flowing by 10 a.m., and at least one bachelorette party wound into form.

Laura Snyder, a 26-year-old bride-to-be from Cleveland, and five bridesmaids bedecked in blue t-shirts identifying their roles in the wedding set out Saturday morning to pitch a tent and pick horses. Snyder says she set out to "have a blast" at her first Kentucky Derby.

A still-sluggish economy meant that 43-year-old Joe Ochsner of St. Louis made cheaper lodging plans with friends. Instead of a hotel, the group of four pitched in $175 each to stay in an RV.

Ochsner even planned to bet $3,000 on Bodemeister in the 138th Run for the Roses.

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  • 138th Kentucky Derby

    A horseracing fan is seen prior to the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • 138th Kentucky Derby

    A horseracing fan is seen prior to the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • 138th Kentucky Derby

    Race fans wearing ponchos with the words 'Cinco De Derby' on them, walk through the infield during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • 138th Kentucky Derby

    A mint julep is seen during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • 138th Kentucky Derby

    Race fans wearing decorated hat stand in the infield during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • 138th Kentucky Derby

    Race fans sit in the infield prior to the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • 138th Kentucky Derby

    A race fan wearing a decorated hat stands in the infield during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Filed by Chris Greenberg  |