Southern IN business thankful for Derby following year marred by fire, COVID

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 6:42 PM EDT
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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - As a somewhat more normal running of the Kentucky Derby is set for this weekend, one business that sells tours, tickets and travel packages for it has the finish line in sight after what has been a grueling year.

With pandemic precautions limiting capacity for the week, Doug Dearen, the owner of, says high end, box and grandstand tickets are still available for both Oaks and Derby, through second hand sellers like him, but they are limited this year.

“Everything that had to do with social distancing and COVID-19 has changed everything for us,” Dearen said.

A small amount of both direct-purchase seats, and those advertised as verified resale tickets, still dotted the diagram beneath the twin spires on Ticketmaster Monday morning.

Dearen said many of those he’s working with are customers who had tickets pushed back from 2020.

“All of those things had to be re-adjusted and re-challenged for our customers,” he said.

That’s not the only thing that’s presented a challenge over the past year.

Equipment and memorabilia were destroyed in the fire.
Equipment and memorabilia were destroyed in the fire.(WAVE 3 News)

“In the middle of December, we get a call, and our building’s on fire,” he said.

Now, the business has relocated in an office across the street on Court Avenue in Jeffersonville.

It’s a spot that overlooks the office Dearen spent 17 years working at.

“Memories and a lot of memorabilia,” he said, discussing his losses. “All of our furniture and equipment was burnt. So, that was just a total adjustment and just a total wrench into the entire year.”

The year might convince any business owner to give up, but Dearen said he’s motivated to keep pushing forward.

“A lot of people ask if were going to make it, if we’re going to continue business,” Dearen said. “It’s our intentions to do everything we can to keep going.”

He adds some of those he works with now have been clients for nearly two decades.

“It’s been difficult for everybody, but like I tell everybody, we’ve got a Derby on the first Saturday in May and thank god for that,” Dearen said.

Customers have already reached out to Dearen inquiring about packages for Derby 2022.

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WAVE 3 News Now. Watch Anytime. Anywhere.(WAVE 3 News)

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