2018 Kentucky Derby: How to Watch

The Kentucky Derby is almost here, but many fans are still wondering how they can watch the biggest horse race of the year.

The 2018 Run for the Roses is scheduled to begin at 6:34 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 5, but the actual race will likely start at 6:46 p.m. ET. Fans will be able to watch the live on NBC or stream on the NBC Sports website or app.

There will also be pre-coverage of the Derby by NBC starting at around 2:30 p.m. ET, and coverage should run until around 7 p.m. ET.

The Kentucky Derby is always held on the first Saturday in May. It will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, making it the 144th Kentucky Derby held there.

Prior to the big Derby race, the Kentucky Oaks race will be held. This is a race for 3-year-old female horses, and it traditionally held the day before the Kentucky Derby.

Also known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports," this year's big race will feature 20 horses and their riders all competing for a grand prize of $2 million, according to Sporting News.

Interestingly, last year the organizers of the Kentucky Derby instituted the "Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby" rule, which allowed for horses from that respective country to be able to compete in the race.

This year, a similar rule has been created for European horses.

The origins of the Kentucky Derby go back to the late 1800s, when Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., who was the grandson of William Clark — of the Lewis and Clark expedition — first encountered horse racing derbies in England and France.

He returned to the U.S. and helped found the Kentucky Derby, which commenced its first race in 1875.

Considered to be "the biggest race in the world, the Kentucky Derby has millions of people from all over the world placing bets on which horse might win.

The actual race attendance is quite large as well, with a reported 150,000+ fans watching the horse Always Dreaming win the derby in 2017.

It also draws many celebrities and high profile guests each year. During a visit to the United States in 2007, England's Queen Elizabeth II attend the race. That year it was won by a horse named Street Sense.


One other notable fact about the Kentucky Derby is that only 3-year-old male horses are allowed to compete in it. This means that they only get one chance to win the championship title.