Everything to Know About Saturday's Kentucky Derby — Including When and How to Watch
Saturday marks the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby — also known as the ‘Run for the Roses’ — which will pit 20 horses against each other in a two-minute-long race with $2 million on the line.
Yet, the iconic sporting event also doubles as a fashion show of sorts, as many of the hundreds in attendance will come in their most colorful outfits and hats to stand out amongst the legendary Churchill Downs crowd in Louisville — while sipping a mint julep, of course.
Here is everything you need to know leading up to Derby Day, from how and where to watch it, to which horses you should be putting your money on if you feel compelled to make a last-second bet come Saturday evening.
1. When Is It?
As is tradition, the race occurs on the first Saturday in May (this year that day happens to fall on Cinco De Mayo), and this year Derby Day will kick off on Saturday, May 5, with post time at 6:46 p.m. ET.
The event is the first of the Triple Crown races, with the Preakness Stakes scheduled for May 19, and the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
2. Where Can You Watch?
NBC will broadcast the race on Saturday evening beginning at 2:30pm ET (11:30am PT). If you don’t have access to a television —or a local sports bar — and you have a cable subscription sign-in, you can catch the race on your laptop at the NBC Sports website, or on your mobile device using the NBC Sports app.
3. Who Are the Biggest Contenders?
While there will be 20 horses on the race track come Derby Day, there are already a few standouts who are favorites to win the $2 million grand prize. According to Business Insider and the New York Times, a few of the favorites to win include Justify (who just won the Santa Anita Derby earlier this year), Good Magic, Hofburg, Magnum Moon, My Boy Jack and Bolt d’Oro.
4. Tara and Johnny Are Fashion Commentators
Coming off their popular Winter Olympic duties with NBC, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will be providing fashion commentary during the event. The duo have hosted three derbies together (their last being in 2016).
“It’s the first real sporting celebration of spring,” Weir, who competed as an equestrian as a child until he focused on figure skating, told PEOPLE leading up to the event. “I love that people bring out the pastels, the flowers and the pomp and circumstance.”
For Lipinski — a former gold medal-winning American figure skater — it’s the fabulous outfits that get her most excited for the big day.
“Obviously the race is incredible, that’s the big moment,” she says. “But the entire day is filled with so much excitement. Everyone’s excited to get dressed up and wear their hats and summer dresses and have fun with it. It’s the ultimate dress-up day.”
5. Which Celebrities Will Be There?
The spectacular annual event usually attracts a slew of celebrities to the derby itself and related parties, and this year will be no different.
Former *NSYNC member Joey Fatone is expected to make an appearance, as he has for almost every race over the last two decades. Kentucky native Jennifer Lawrence was spotted at a pre-Derby party in her home state last weekend, and according to the Courier-Journal New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has to miss the Derby for the first time in 17 years.
Kid Rock, Richie Sambora, Olympic skier Bode Miller and Travis Tritt are also regular Derby attendees.