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How to watch the 2024 Kentucky Derby — and when to tune in

The prestigious horse race, also known as the “Run for the Roses," has a history dating back to 1875.
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Fans are getting giddy with excitement over the 2024 Kentucky Derby.

The 150th annual event is on Saturday, May 4, at the famous Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. This year's Derby will feature 14 races throughout the day, and the top five winners of the main event divide up the $5 million prize.

Horses competed in various races from September 2023 through April 2024 in order to qualify, and the top five finishers per race earned points based on their performance. The 20 horses with the highest score that are also 3-year-old thoroughbreds advanced to the Derby with a position at the starting gate.

First place will receive $3.1 million and a garland of roses. The runner-up will earn $1 million, third place gets $500,000, fourth place receives $250,000 and fifth place collects $150,000, according to the Derby's official website.

In addition to the prize money, the first place winner of the Derby will secure one of three wins needed to notch the coveted Triple Crown honor, when a 3-year-old horse bests the biggest three racing events that take place each year: the Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, all of which take place in May and June.

Sierra Leone has the most points entering the event at 155, followed by Fierceness at 136 and third is a tie between Catching Freedom and Stronghold at 125.

The Derby's race of 1 1/4 mile rarely disappoints fans watching from the edge of their sets. Here's how to tune in.

When is the 2024 Kentucky Derby?

The 2024 Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 4, with multiple race times throughout the day. There is also an annual event the day before the Derby called the Kentucky Oats, when 3-year-old fillies, or female horses, race for a cash prize and the winner gets a garland of lilies.

What time does the Kentucky Derby start?

The first race is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. ET. The main event is scheduled for 6:57 p.m. ET and the last race is currently scheduled to start at 8:35 p.m.

How to watch the 2024 Kentucky Derby

From 10:30 a.m. ET to 12 p.m. ET, Derby will air on FanDuel TV. Starting at 12 p.m. ET, the event will be on USA Network and Peacock until 2:20 p.m. ET. Then, at 2:30 p.m. ET, the Derby will be broadcasted on NBC and Peacock until 7:30 p.m. (Peacock is part of our parent company, NBCUniversal.)

From 7:30 p.m. ET until the last race, the event will go back to airing on FanDuel TV.

An audio-only version will also be available on NBC Sports Audio from 2:30 p.m. ET to 7:30 p.m. ET.

How are positions picked for the Kentucky Derby

Gate positions for each horse were drawn Saturday, April 27. Sierra Leone, Fierceness, Catching Freedom and Stronghold will be coming out of stalls 2, 17, 4 and 18, respectively.

Who is predicted to win the 2024 Kentucky Derby?

Experts have expressed a range of predictions for which horse will win the Derby. However, the expert-favorite appears to be the point-leading Sierra Leone, based on Courier Journal reporting.

Who won the 2023 Kentucky Derby?

Mage won the 2023 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:01:57, according to data collection agency Equibase.

What happened at the 2023 Kentucky Derby?

Around the time of the 2023 Kentucky Derby, 12 horses died at Churchill Downs. Seven horses died from training or racing injuries leading up to the Derby race, and the other horses died shortly after.

Churchill Downs reviewed its safety protocols and industry standards in June 2023 and implemented “key enhancements” for the 2024 races, according to a media brief released by the track. The updated protocols improved track maintenance, established a safety management committee, increased veterinarian oversight and implemented predictive technology to identify potential injuries before they happen.