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Kentucky Derby 2021

When is the 2021 Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby returns to its traditional date of the first Saturday in May for 2021, running from Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY, with full coverage on the NBC Network. The 147th Kentucky Derby kicks off the American Triple Crown of horse racing, continuing on to the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes later in the 2021 horse racing season. Held on a dirt track, on which only the top three year old horses in the world compete, the Kentucky Derby returns to the first race in the Triple Crown this year, after moving to the the second race without any fans in the stands in 2020, due to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. ESSENTIAL QUALITY, HOT ROD CHARLIE and SUPER STOCK currently top the leaderboard of horses competing in 2021 for what is often called, “The Most Exciting Two-Minutes in Sports”. 

Boldly dressed racing fans will return to the stands at the Kentucky Derby this year, but spectator seating capacity will be limited due to the continued uncertainty over the health and safety of the local community and attendees. The number of tickets being made available remain fluid as the race nears, but expectations are that reserve seats will be limited to 40% or 50% of capacity. The release of general admission tickets are being delayed as the event date nears, the number of which are expected to be extremely limited based on social distancing requirements. If you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby in person this year, you can tune in starting at 12:30 pm ET on Saturday, May 1st for full coverage and analysis on NBC Sports Network,, and/or the NBC Sports App.

147th Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby Horse Racing

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Road to the Kentucky Derby - Leaderboard

RANK      HORSE                           TOTAL POINTS

1              Essential Quality           140

2              Hot Rod Charlie             110

3              Super Stock                    109

4              Like the King                   104

5              Known Agenda               102

6              Rock Your World             100

7              Bourbonic                         100

8              Medina Spirit                     74

9              Midnight Bourbon             66

10            Mandaloun                         52

11            Caddo River                        50

12             Highly Motivated              50


RANK        HORSE                                    TOTAL POINTS

13              Helium                                    50

14              Soup and Sandwich             40

15              Dynamic One                        40

16              Sainthood                             40

17              Hidden Stash                        32

18              Dream Shake                        30

19              O Besos                                 25

20              Get Her Number                   20

21              Hozier                                    20

22              King Fury                               20

23              Keepmeinmind                     18

24              Starrininmydreams               4

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