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What to know about the 2022 Kentucky Derby

Hall of Fame jockey and NBC Sports analyst Jerry Bailey gives Beyond the Fairway the lowdown on what to know about the Kentucky Derby and who to watch in this year's race.

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most iconic sporting events in the world. Every year, millions of fans tune in to NBC to watch top racehorses from around the globe compete in “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.”

The 2022 Kentucky Derby will air on Saturday, May 7 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

Related: How to watch the 2022 Kentucky Derby

NBC Sports will also air the Kentucky Oaks the day before on Friday, May 6th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on USA Network, and the NBC Sports app.

What is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby, historically on the first Saturday in May, is one of the most well-known Grade 1 Thoroughbred stakes races in the world. It is usually the first leg of the American Triple Crown and is only one of the Triple Crown races to have run uninterrupted since its inaugural race in 1875.

How long is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is 1 1/4 mile or 10 furlongs. The race has also been dubbed as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” due to its approximate duration. Secretariat owns the fastest Kentucky Derby time ever, running a blistering 1:59.40 in 1973.

When is the 2022 Kentucky Derby?

The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, May 7, 2022. Watch NBC Sports’ coverage on NBC, Peacock, or on and the NBC Sports app. Post time for the 148th Kentucky Derby is at approximately 6:57 p.m. ET.

Where is the 2022 Kentucky Derby?

The Derby is run on the dirt track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where it has been held since its inaugural running in 1875.

How can I watch the 2022 Kentucky Derby?

NBC is home to the 148th Kentucky Derby, providing comprehensive race coverage and analysis live on TV, Peacock, and the NBC Sports app before, during and after. The 2022 Kentucky Derby will air on May 7 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

NBC Sports will also air the Kentucky Oaks the day before on Friday, May 6th from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on USA Network, and the NBC Sports app.

NBC will also broadcast the 2022 Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup.

How are horses picked for the Derby?

Only 3-year-old Thoroughbreds can qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Eligible horses compete in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series of 35 races around the world. Horses win points for finishing in the top four spots, and the 20 horses with the most points at the end of the series gain entry into the Derby. However, sometimes horses will scratch, giving horses outside of the top-20 the opportunity to run in the Derby.

Read more: Kentucky Derby 2022 post positions, odds announced

Which horses should I watch for on Saturday at the Kentucky Derby?

  • Zandon enters the First Saturday in May as the early favorite with 3-1 odds and qualified for the Kentucky Derby by winning the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. The speedy black colt breaks from the No. 10 spot out of the gate. He’s only run in three graded stakes, but never finished lower than third. Trainer Chad Brown looks is looking for his first Kentucky Derby win after being best known for his success with turf horses. Jockey Flavien Prat won the 2019 Kentucky Derby via disqualification riding Country House and will be looking for his first championship moment in 2022. Owner Jeff Drown is making his first entry into the Kentucky Derby.
  • Epicenter comes in behind Essential Quality at 7-2. Many consider him to be trainer Steve Asmussen’s best chance to finally win the Kentucky Derby after holding the record for most Derby starts without a win among trainers. Epicenter has four wins in his last five races, including a win at Churchill Downs. He enters the Kentucky Derby with Joel Rosario in the irons, who is hunting his second Derby win (Orb, 2013).
  • Former Bob Baffert trainee Messier, named after the New York Rangers legend, has 8-1 odds to win the Kentucky Derby. Messier’s current trainer Tim Yakteen, who is a former Baffert assistant, is making his first Kentuck Derby appearance. Riding Messier will be John Velazquez, who will be seeking to reclaim his fourth Kentucky Derby win after Medina Spirit finished first in last year’s Run for the Roses but was disqualified for a positive drug test.
  • There are two women who own horses that are in the Kentucky Derby field. Tami Bobo, who went from single mom to boutique Thoroughbred owner, has Simplification running out of the No. 13 spot with Jose Ortiz in the irons. Whisper Hill Farm owner Mandy Pope, who bought her first horse in high school, has Charge It coming out of the No. 8 stall. Luis Saez will be riding the colt and will look to get his first Kentucky Derby win after he finished first but was disqualified in 2019 for interference.
  • Crown Pride, running out of the No. 7 spot, is set to be the second Japan-bred horse to run in the Kentucky Derby. This will be trainer Koichi Shintani’s and jockey Christophe Lemaire’s first time competing at the Kentucky Derby.

Read more: Handicapping the 2022 Kentucky Derby | Behind the scenes of betting at the Derby

Who won the 2021 Kentucky Derby?

On February 21, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission disqualified Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit from the Kentucky Derby due to a failed post-race drug test.

Churchill Downs now recognizes 2nd-place finisher Mandaloun, trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, as the winner. Cox, who is now the first Louisville-born trainer to win the Derby, said at the time: “To not really have that [thrill of victory], it’s a race that’ll have an asterisk by it.”

What are the biggest Kentucky Derby traditions?

Flashy and bold formal outfits for both men and women are synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. Celebrities and fans alike don creative and colorful hats, bright colors and wild patterns. In fact, hats and outfits are such a big part of the Kentucky Derby that the Derby Museum dedicates a whole exhibit for the most lavished fashions.

The Mint Julep, made with Kentucky bourbon, is the signature drink of the Derby. Kentucky’s state song “My Old Kentucky Home” is played during the pre-race post parade. After the race, the champion horse is given the iconic garland of roses in the winner’s circle, hence why the race is nicknamed “the Run for the Roses.”

Betting and horse racing go hand in hand. There will be a whole weekend of stacked racing cards at Churchill Downs, but the Derby is usually one of the most bet on sporting events of the entire year.

Watch the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Full coverage is also available on, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.