04/11/2007 11:00PM

1,000 Derby seats set aside for sale to general public

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Churchill Downs will hold a public drawing on Saturday that will allow fans to purchase two seats apiece to the Kentucky Derby on May 5, the first time the track has held such a sale. The track will sell 1,000 tickets on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern.

In previous years, Churchill has restricted sales to private parties, but "this year we decided to set aside a large block of reserved seats for the general public," Churchill's president, Steve Sexton, said Thursday in a press release.

Fans will be allowed to enter Gate 17 beginning at 5 a.m to get on line. Customers will randomly select vouchers from a hopper that will identify the locations of the seats they can purchase. The seats are on the first and second floors in non-prime sections 111, 112, 113, 114, 118, 120, 122, 222, 223, 224, and 225. Ticket prices range from $206 to $360 per pair, depending on location.