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

Held annually since 1875, the Kentucky Derby is rich in history and colorful tradition. This section will review its history, explain its traditions and relate what others have had to say about the Derby.

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Kentucky Derby News and Handicapping Information

Whether you're an experienced handicapper or a casual fan just trying to learn who's running this year, you'll find helpful news and handicapping resources in this section.

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  • Visit the official Web site of the Kentucky Derby for profiles of each contending horse, which includes a look at past races, pedigree information and biographies of the connections.

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Betting on the Kentucky Derby

Find out how and where to bet on the Derby and other races on Saturday.

Insights for Betting on the Kentucky Derby

  • Most racetracks that are open for live racing, and most off-track betting outlets, in the U.S. offer betting on the Kentucky Derby.  The NTRA provides a calendar of racing at all U.S. tracks.
  • The four online wagering providers listed below are the most reliable sites that permit same-day funding of a new account and operate on a national scale. There are other legitimate providers, such as Autotote and ones associated with racetracks, but most do not allow same-day funding of a new account. Be wary of any other operator; they may be located offshore and may not be legally permitted to accept wagers from U.S. residents.
  • Of the four sites listed below, only TwinSpires offer wagering to residents of all 50 states.

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Attending the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is an all-day party for everyone, from the big shots in Millionaire's Row to the masses on the infield. If you want to experience Derby Day for yourself, use this section for advice on getting to Louisville, going to the track and making the most of your trip.

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  • Buying from scalpers is another option, but be advised that Churchill Downs is particularly vigilant about cracking down on scalpers and resold tickets.

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Throwing a Kentucky Derby Viewing Party

You don't have to be at Churchill Downs to party on Derby Day. This section will help you plan the perfect Kentucky Derby party at home.

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