Everything you need to know about the Kentucky Derby

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August 31st, 2020

The stage is finally set for the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at historic Churchill Downs, four months later than its initial date on the sports calendar.

What would typically be the first jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown was initially scheduled for the first Saturday in May, however, the ongoing pandemic forced it to be postponed to Sept. 5. That meant a reconfigured schedule for the Triple Crown.

Excitement has been building, however, for the annual "Run for the Roses" and here is everything you need to know about the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

Where is the Kentucky Derby held?

The Kentucky Derby will run as it has every year since 1875, at Churchill Downs.

It was announced just last week that there will be no fans in attendance at this year’s event, but the history and exhilaration of the Kentucky Derby can still be shared across the country, as television coverage begins on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET.

How many horses compete in the Kentucky Derby?

The modern Derby almost always features a field of 20 3-year-old Thoroughbreds, but this year's altered Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race schedule may cut the field down a bit.

Who is the favorite?

Tiz the Law is the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. He is undefeated this year, with wins in the Holy Bull (G3), Florida Derby (G1), Belmont Stakes (G1), and Travers (G1).

The New York-bred Tiz the Law has enjoyed tremendous success this year, and a win at Churchill Downs would keep trainer Barclay Tagg’s hopes of a Triple Crown alive, with the Preakness (G1) scheduled for next month.  

Art Collector and Authentic are also among the pre-race contenders but will likely need to run the race of their live to overtake Tiz the Law at Churchill Downs.

How do you bet on the Kentucky Derby?

Those looking to get in on the excitement of the Kentucky Derby by placing a wager can do so with BetAmerica or Twinspires.

Both sites offer wagering on horse racing from tracks all over the U.S. and around the world.

What is the length of the Kentucky Derby? 

The Kentucky Derby is 1 1/4 miles, which should bode well for Tiz the Law.

His most recent result came in the Travers at Saratoga, which is also a 1 1/4-mile race.

How do horses gain entry into the Kentucky Derby?

The field is determined through the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which is a set of designated prep races. Points are awarded to the top four finishers in each race. The horses with the most points earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby and the maximum field size is 20.

What was the fastest time ever recorded at the Kentucky Derby?

Records are meant to be broken, but it will be a challenge for any 3-year-old Thoroughbred to top the historic feat set by Secretariat in 1973.

Secretariat won the 1973 Kentucky Derby in 1:59.40, the fastest time for any 1 1/4-mile dirt race at Churchill Downs, not just the Kentucky Derby.

The last Kentucky Derby winner to break the two-minute barrier was Monarchos in 2001. He hit the wire with a time of 1:59.97.

Who was the biggest longshot to win the Kentucky Derby?

One of the biggest upsets in the history of the Kentucky Derby happened just last year.

Country House was a 65-1 longshot to win, but did just that, afer a controversial decision to disqualify Maximum Security — who crossed the finish line first — for interfering with other horses during the race.

Country House is not the biggest longshot to win the Kentucky Derby, however. That title still belongs to Donerail, who won back in 1913 at 91-1.