Kentucky Derby 2021: Horses, Time, Channel and How to Watch

The Kentucky Derby is back in action! Saturday's competition, he first horse race of the Triple Crown is slated to get underway shortly. It actually only comes a few months after the 2020 version of the Kentucky Derby, which took place in September. Last year's race was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but everything is back to normal for Kentucky Derby 2021. "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" will air on NBC this Saturday at 6:57 p.m. ET. It will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

How to Watch Kentucky Derby 2021

  • What: The 147th Kentucky Derby
  • Date: Saturday, May 1
  • Time: 12:00 p.m. ET - 2:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN), 2:30 p.m. ET - 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
  • Location: Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Online stream: Live on or the NBC Sports app, in-player above or on your mobile or streaming device. Can also be streamed via Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, YouTube TV and Sling, all available for a free trial.​

How Many Horses Are in the Kentucky Derby?

20 horses will compete for the win at Churchill Downs on Saturday, a larger field than most normal races you'll see at a horse race. As the first leg of the Triple Crown, including the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, many horses are allowed to enter to try their hand at becoming history.

"It got a little nerve-wracking with both horses still to go and the rail still being out there," Brad Cox, the trainer for Essential Quality and Mandaloun said to ESPN. "I think it'll be a good spot [for Essential Quality]. He's got good tactical speed that he'll be able to get into a good position from there."

Kentucky Derby Horses, Position and Odds

The biggest question about the 2021 Kentucky Derby is which horse is favored to win? Sportsline has Essential Quality winning the race to 2/1 odds. It's then followed by Rock Your World (5/1), Known Agenda (6/1), Hot Rod Charlie (8/1) and Highly Motivated (10/1). Essential Quality has won all five faces with Luis Saez abroad. According to ESPN, Essential Quality is the first gray horse favored to win the Kentucky Derby in 25 years.

  1. Known Agenda – 11/1
  2. Like The King – 49/1
  3. Brooklyn Strong – 39/1
  4. KeepMeInMind – 39/1
  5. Sainthood – 29/1
  6. O Besos – 35/1
  7. Mandaloun – 27/1
  8. Medina Spirit – 11/1
  9. Hot Rod Charlie – 11/1
  10. Midnight Bourbon – 11/1
  11. Dynamic One – 34/1
  12. Helium – 35/1
  13. Hidden Stash – 29/1
  14. Essential Quality – 5/1
  15. Rock Your World – 5/1
  16. King Fury (Scratched)
  17. Highly Motivated – 11/1
  18. Super Stock – 31/1
  19. Soup And Sandwich – 21/1
  20. Bourbonic – 24/1

Rock Your World is also unbeaten, having won all three stars this year. He is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert who said, "It's a good post and we're happy with it." Known Agenda has won two of three starts this season and has three wins in six career starts.

"Obviously, it's not what we were hoping for," Known Agneda's trainer Todd Pletcher said. "Of course, this is one of the things you can't control. With the new gate, we're hopeful that things will be better than they were in the past and the post won't be that bad."

So who will wins the Kentucky Derby? And which massive long shot is a must-back? Visit SportsLine right now to get Jody Demling's Kentucky Derby winner, see which huge long shot contends, and get the finish positions for every single horse, all from the expert who's nailed nine Derby-Oaks doubles.

Who Will Be Attending The Kentucky Derby?

There will be a number of celebrities attending the Kentucky Derby, but most notably Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear who will be at Churchill Downs to congratulate the winner. There will also surely be many more celebrities in attendance and showing off their Churchill Downs attire specifically bought for Saturday.

Historically, the Kentucky Derby has attracted a lot of celebrities. Churchill downs celebrates the tradition and the pomp and circumstance of race day. Past guests have included U.S. presidents, Dukes, Duchesses and even Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 2007.

Why is the Kentucky Derby Called 'The Run for The Roses?'

The race is known as the "Run for The Roses" due to the blanket or garland of roses the winning horse receives at the end of the race. Beginning as a socialite staple at parties where women would receive red roses, Colonel Lewis Clark adopted it as the race's official flower.

The winning horse first received a garland of roses in 1896, switching to the larger blanket of roses in 1932 for winner Burgoo King. Today the rose blanket is immediate freeze-dried to maintain it for a longer time.

What Other Names is The Kentucky Derby Known By?


The Kentucky Derby has many nicknames. It's been known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports." It is also known as one of the Three Jewels in the Triple Crown of Horse Racing along with the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

What is The Song Played Before the Kentucky Derby Begins?

"My Old Kentucky Home" written by Stephen Foster. It was adopted as Kentucky's state song in 1928, amended to remove racial language in 1986. Foster was likely inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, as evidenced by the title of a sketch in Foster’s sketchbook, “Poor Uncle Tom, Good-Night!”

Has the Kentucky Derby Ever Been Canceled?

No. The Kentucky Derby has never canceled. However, it was postponed in 1945 at the end of World War II and again in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. editors choose the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. PopCulture nor ViacomCBS are responsible for prices subject to change.