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Everything you need to know for the 147th Kentucky Derby

What time is the Derby? How do you bet on a race? What is the weather forecast? We're answering your Derby questions here.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 147th Kentucky Derby is finally here! This Louisville tradition usually brings in thousands of visitors to the Bluegrass state, but things are still looking different for 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

When is the 2021 Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May. In 2021, that day falls on May 1. While races will be held all day, the true Run for the Roses is set for 6:57 p.m.

Where is the Kentucky Derby held?

The race takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

How can I watch the Kentucky Derby?

If you aren't going to the track, the Kentucky Derby race will be available to watch on your local NBC station.

Post positions

The post positions for the 2021 Derby were announced April 27. There are currently 19 3-year-old Thoroughbreds set to race on May 1. Essential Quality — trained by Louisville native Brad Cox — is the favorite, drawing the No. 14 position.

King Fury scratched Friday due to a fever. You can see the full list of post positions here.

RELATED: Kentucky Derby post positions, morning line odds

How much money does the Derby winner receive? 

Along with the lush blanket of 544 red roses, the Kentucky Derby Trophy and a spot of honor in the Winner's Circle, this year's purse for the Derby is $3 million. 

The winner of the Derby will receive $1.86 million or more than 60% of the purse.

How do I bet on the Kentucky Derby?

You can bet on the race anytime online through the Twin Spires website. If you're new to the betting game, you can check out the Betting 101 Guide from Churchill Downs or our Derby For Dummies series from 2019.

How many races are there on Derby Day?

There are a total of 14 races at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. The day of races is headlined by race 12, the Kentucky Derby at 6:57 p.m.

Here's a full schedule of races at Churchill Downs.

What is the weather forecast for Derby?

The last several years (excluding 2020) have not been kind weather-wise for the Kentucky Derby. 

Derby Day 147 is here and it would be difficult to come up with a better forecast! High pressure is keeping skies clear and will provide a south wind as the high moves east today. After morning lows in the upper 30s and low 40s, highs this afternoon in the low to mid-70s.

RELATED: You Can Bet On A Beautiful Derby Day! Sunny & Mild Is A Winning Ticket!

Who is singing the National Anthem?

Grammy-winning artist Tori Kelly will be singing the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Kelly is the eleventh major artist to perform ahead of the first leg of the Triple Crown.

What is the capacity of fans at Derby? 

Reserved seating for Oaks and Derby is limited to 40-50% capacity, while private premium areas have up to 60% capacity. General admission tickets for the infield allow for only 25-30% capacity. 

Around 50,000 spectators are expected to descend upon Churchill Downs for a day at the races.

Tips for going to the track

If you got tickets and are heading to Churchill Downs for Derby weekend, there are some rules you need to follow.

Due to the pandemic, masks will be required at the track. You can see Churchill's COVID-19 policy here.

On Oaks or Derby Day, you can bring small boxed lunches and bottled water, but many items are prohibited including:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Backpacks, duffel bags and luggage 
  • Bags larger than 12" x 6" x 12"
  • Cans (any size or type), glass bottles or containers
  • Drones
  • Pets, except for trained service animals
  • Selfie Sticks and tripods
  • Umbrellas of any size
  • Weapons

There's a full list of prohibited items online.

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