Kentucky Derby

Where to bet, when to watch, how to follow Saturday’s Kentucky Derby

The largest crowd ever to watch a Kentucky Derby — 170,513 — was in attendance at Churchill Downs in 2015.
The largest crowd ever to watch a Kentucky Derby — 170,513 — was in attendance at Churchill Downs in 2015. AP

What you need to know, whether you’re heading to Churchill Downs, betting in Lexington or watching on TV:


General admission: $80 (gets you in the infield)

Gates open: 8 a.m.

First post time: 10:30 a.m.

Derby post time: 6:46 p.m.

Weather forecast: Overcast with rain showers at times, most persistently in the morning and early afternoon. High near 60 degrees. At Derby post time, the chance of rain is less than 40 percent.

Parking: All spots at the track were sold in advance. Nearby parking is available at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium ($20) and the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center ($8). Miller Transportation offers round-trip shuttle service: $15 from stadium, $15 from exposition center, $30 from downtown.

What you can bring: Amid a weather forecast calling for cold and rain, it’s important to note that umbrellas are not allowed at Churchill Downs but blankets are. Other banned items of note include coolers, backpacks, alcoholic beverages, tents, laptop computers, selfie sticks and animals (except service animals). Visit to view a complete list of items that are permitted or banned.

The crowd: Even if it rains, you won’t be lonely. The two biggest crowds in Derby history attended the last two years — 170,513 in 2015 and 167,227 last year.

The national anthem: Harry Connick Jr.


WLEX-18 and NBC: 8:30 a.m.-Noon and 2:30-7:20 p.m.

NBC Sports Network: Noon-2:30 p.m.

Horse Racing Radio Network: The Derby will be broadcast on WLXO-96.1 FM. Pre-race coverage and undercard races available on Sirius 93, XM 93 or at

TVG: Coverage throughout the day


Twitter: Follow our main Herald-Leader accounts: @HeraldLeader and @KentuckySports. Additionally, follow our entire reporting team: John Clay (@JohnClayIV), Ben Roberts (@BenRobertsHL), Jared Peck (@ItSaysHere), Mark Story (@markcstory), Jennifer Smith (@JenHeraldLeader), Rich Copley (@copiousnotes), Trey Crumbie (@CrumbieHLeader), Caitlyn Stroh (@caitlyn_stroh), Morgan Eads (@morganeads1), Fernando Alfonso (@fernalfonso), Daniel Desrochers (@drdesrochers), Charles Bertram (@cbertramHL), Pablo Alcala (@alcalafoto), Alex Slitz (@AlexSlitzPhoto), Mark Mahan (@MarkMahan), Jonathan Palmer (@JonathanPalmer).

Facebook: and

NBC Sports: Live stream available at



4201 Versailles Road, Lexington

General admission: $5, free for ages 12 and under

Drive-through opens: 7 a.m.

Gates open: 9 a.m.

Grandstand mutuel windows open: 10 a.m.

Activities: Live music, food, Derby hat contest

Information: (859) 254-3412;

Red Mile

1200 Red Mile Road, Lexington

Admission: Free

Gates open: 9 a.m.

Mutuel windows open: 10 a.m.

Information: (859) 255-0752;

Turfway Park

7500 Turfway Rd., Florence, one hour north of Lexington. From I-75, take Exit 182 ( Turfway Road).

Admission: Free

Gates open: 9 a.m.

Activities: Live music, food, Derby hat contest

Information: (859) 371-0200 or 1-800-733-0200;

Kentucky Horse Park

There will be no Derby betting available at the Kentucky Horse Park this year.


Winning connections: Nyquist won the 2016 Kentucky Derby, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, trained by Doug O’Neill and owned by Reddam Racing. The same connections will run Irap in Saturday’s Derby.

Chasing the greats: Kent Desormeaux (Sonneteer) and Victor Espinoza (Gormley) are seeking their fourth Derby wins. They’re chasing all-time leaders Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack with five wins each, and Bill Shoemaker with four.

Where’s Bob? Trainer Bob Baffert has won four Kentucky Derbys but won’t win this one. His best hope, Mastery, was injured in winning the San Felipe Stakes in March.

Other races: The Derby is the 12th of 14 races at Churchill on Saturday. Six consecutive graded stakes precede the big race.

Wet weather: The Kentucky Derby has taken place on a track labeled “sloppy” only seven times in its 142 previous runnings. Four of those have happened this century — 2013, 2010, 2009 and 2004.