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What Time Does The 2018 Kentucky Derby Start? Here's When You Need To Tune In

by Annamarya Scaccia

This weekend there will be an extravagant festival of fancy hats, tailored sports coats, and majestic horses when the 144th Kentucky Derby takes over Louisville, Kentucky. The annual race weekend kicked off on Friday with the Kentucky Oaks, but the main event doesn't ramp up until Saturday. But what time does the 2018 Kentucky Derby start? Television coverage of the Run for the Roses begins on Saturday afternoon, but the day's festivities do start earlier in the morning.

NBC, the official station of the 144th Kentucky Derby, will begin its broadcast of the main Derby event at 2:30 p.m. ET, with the races kicking off at 6:46 p.m. ET, according to The Bleacher Report. But the Run for the Roses will actually get underway at 10:30 a.m. ET with the Kentucky Derby Undercards. Broadcast coverage of the undercards will begin at 12 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, and end at 2:30 p.m ET. The 2018 Kentucky Derby, hosted at Churchill Downs, will wrap up around 7:30 p.m. ET.

Both events, though, will be live-streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, according to The Bleacher Report. The Derby will also broadcast on Facebook Live from the Churchill Downs Backside on Saturday starting at 7:30 a.m. ET, according to the official event website.

For those throwing a Kentucky Derby party on Saturday, you'll have the chance to have your Derby garb, food, and decor featured on various social media channels for Kentucky Derby by using the hashtag, #KYDerbyParty, according to the official website. And if you're still looking for some recipe ideas for either cocktails or small bites before your friends start filing in your home, the Kentucky Derby website has you covered.

Like always, the 144th Run for the Roses should be an exciting event, and not just for the variety of large, intricate hats you'll see in the stands and on the Churchill Downs' grounds. That's because the horse and jockey who win the 2018 Kentucky Derby will walk away with one pretty penny. The purse is $2 million guaranteed for the horse that gallops into victory at the end of the two-minute race, The New York Times reported.

Last year's winner, Always Dreaming, and its jockey, John R. Velazquez, finished in 2.04 minutes, and collected more than $5.2 million in winning wagers, according to the Derby's list of past winners. The year before that, winner Nyquist pulled in more than $7.7 million after a 2-minute finish. Fans, then, could expect an intense race on their hands Saturday evening when 20 of the most talented 3-year-olds rush out of the gate.

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The Kentucky Derby has been going strong since 1875 at Churchill Downs, which is considered "the world's most legendary racetrack," according to the Derby's official website. The 2018 Kentucky Derby line up will feature some amazing horses, too. There will be two winners ready to race to victory, according to ESPN: 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and Eclipse Award winner Good Magic and 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn. This year's favorite, Justify, hopes to make history by winning the Run for the Roses as a horse that hasn't raced as a 2-year-old, ESPN reported.

The last time that happened was in 1882 — seven years after the Derby's inaugural race —when a gelding named Apollo was named winner, according to The Wall Street Journal. Since 1937, when stats were first collected, 61 horses entered the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2-year-old, and none of them won. Because of that, Apollo has become synonymous with a curse, the Curse of Apollo, The Wall Street Journal reported.

If history tells us anything, you definitely won't want to miss this year's Kentucky Derby.

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