Everybody loves to be in a Kentucky Derby pool, especially if you have 19 friends, or 19 people you think are your friends. You’ve gone to a neighbor’s house, usually one who was raised in Kentucky but for whatever reason thought living elsewhere was a better idea.
Honestly, your chances are 1 in 20. Imagine being the person who got stuck with Rich Strike last year, a horse that got into the Derby only when another horse scratched out. Oh, yeah, he won 80-1.
But whatever your reason, whatever your draw, whatever number of mint juleps you’ve had, everyone has the same question. What time is the Kentucky Derby?
We’ll answer this question with geographical accuracy.
If you are in Louisville, that’s local time, you can expect the race to go off somewhere around 6:57 p.m., although it rarely goes off right at the exact time. It’s usually a couple of minutes late. The actual decision, even though they won’t admit it, is made by NBC, which is trying to balance one last commercial against being punctual. And, of course, the load of horses can be problematic.
If you are lucky enough to live in Los Angeles or the Pacific time zone, set your watch alarm for 3:57 p.m.
If you are still experiencing some cold weather in the Chicago area, or Central time zone, get ready around 5:57 p.m.
Or let’s say you live in Denver or the Rocky Mountain time zone, and you still she patches of white on your deck, plan on a 4:57 post.
Of course, any of you who are reading this are likely not at Churchill Downs, so let’s talk about where you will be seeing it, on a television or your tablet or phone. Or maybe on the big screen that obscures part of the backstretch in the infield at Santa Anita.
NBC has the rights to the Kentucky Derby and it is going all in. There will be horse racing coverage from noon to 7:30 p.m. EDT (that’s 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Los Angeles) on the traditional television network and streaming on Peacock. The official Derby coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. That’s a lot of time to fill.
For years, NBC has carried all three Triple Crown races, but this year, the Belmont Stakes moves to Fox, which has purchased an interest in NYRA Bets, which means New York racing.
FanDuel TV, formerly known as TVG, will also have coverage from Churchill Downs but will not be able to carry the Kentucky Derby live. That’s what NBC paid big bucks for.