What You Need to Know About the Kentucky Derby

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The Kentucky Derby: “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports”

“This Kentucky Derby, whatever it is—a race, an emotion, a turbulence, an explosion—is one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things I have ever experienced.”
—John Steinbeck

On the first Saturday of May, all eyes turn to Churchill Downs racetrack for the Kentucky Derby, the first jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown. This guide prepares you for Kentucky Derby Day, linking to best sources for race history and traditions, race coverage, travel advice and party-throwing tips, as well as where to bet the Kentucky Derby.

What You Need to Know About the Kentucky Derby

  • The Kentucky Derby is a 1¼-mile race run by 3-year-old thoroughbreds. There are 20 horses in the race, who qualify based on their graded stakes earnings during the year.
  • The Kentucky Derby is the 11th race at Churchill Downs. It will be televised on NBC, which begins its coverage at 4 p.m. EDT. Scheduled post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:24 pm Eastern time. Other Kentucky Derby Day races from Churchill Downs, running from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., will be televised on the Versus network.
  • Radio coverage of the Kentucky Derby will be provided by Horse Racing Radio Network ("HRRN). Neither this site nor the Kentucky Derby site gives any indication of whether a live radio broadcast of the Derby will be available outside of Kentucky. However, HRRN will stream the audio from its Web site.
  • HRRN's coverage will be available on Sirius XM Satellite Radio starting at 5:00 pm ET on Sirius channel 93 and XM channel 209. The live broadcast will also be available to subscribers on the Sports Zone channel on SiriusXM Internet Radio and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for the Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, as well as several BlackBerry and Android-powered smartphones.
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History and Traditions of the Kentucky Derby

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