The Kentucky Derby

Horse racing takes place all around the world at all times a year. Any time you want to see a good horse race, there’s a good chance you can find a video of one online, if not immediately then soon after. But the biggest horse race of the year, every year, is hands down The Kentucky Derby.

Every year, millions of people come together to watch this exciting race either in person or on television. It is a tradition that goes back over 100 years. Here’s what you need to know about the Kentucky Derby and where to watch it:


Okelleys Bar Customers Watching The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race – but also so much more than that. This is a special horse race that includes a 1 ¼-mile race run by 20 of the very best horses out there. These horses have to qualify to run in the race by meeting certain criteria and by achieving certain times in qualifying races. The Kentucky Derby starts the American Triple Crown of horse racing.

Which Horses Can Race?

Only horses that are three years old and are thoroughbreds can compete in The Kentucky Derby. Horses have to compete in a series of prep races to qualify to enter The Kentucky Derby. In each of these races, horses win points for placing in the top four finishers. The 20 horses who have the most points at the end of the prep races can compete in The Kentucky Derby.

When Is The Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is held the first Saturday of May each year. In 2021, The Kentucky Derby will take place on May 1. The race is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. The race has been held there every year since it was first run in 1875. The 2021 race will be the 147th running of the Derby.

The Derby is just one of many races run on that day. The races take place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Who Won The 2020 Kentucky Derby?

In 2020, The Kentucky Derby was moved to the first weekend in September because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The race took place at Churchill Downs as is tradition, but it was run without any fans in the seats (the second such time this happened). Fans watched from home as the colt Authentic edged out favorite Tiz the Law to win the race. Authentic is a Hall of Fame thoroughbred owned by Bob Baffert.

Where Can I Watch The Kentucky Derby?

Tickets are already on sale for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Multiple packages are available, giving you different options for where to sit, amenities included, and the number of races to watch. However, not everyone can afford to watch the famous race in person – and the situation surrounding COVID is still unclear. If you don’t want to shell out the cash, or you still feel uncertain about attending such large, in-person events, know that you can watch the Derby on television in high definition. You’ll see all the action better than if you were there in person.

What Are Some Kentucky Derby Traditions?

If you were to attend The Kentucky Derby in person, you would see a lot of people dressed in bold, formal outfits. You’ll see men in coats with tails and top hats, and women wearing their best dresses with large, outlandish hats. There are whole museum exhibits dedicated to the outfits that people have worn to the Derby.

But even if you don’t attend the Derby in person, you can enjoy another tradition associated with the race: The drinking. The traditional drink of The Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep, made with Kentucky bourbon. Other traditions include listening to the Kentucky state song played pre-race, watching the winner get draped with a garland of roses, and, of course, betting on the winner.

Off Track Betting

You can watch The Kentucky Derby and enjoy all of those traditions at O’Kelley’s Sports Bar & Grill in Mesa. We’ll have large, high-definition televisions playing the races all day on May 1, and we’ll be serving up Mint Juleps, bourbon, and other popular Derby drinks. You can certainly dress in your best, or you can dress for comfort. Pull up a chair, order some delicious snacks and drinks, and watch as these exciting races play out to determine the best and fastest thoroughbreds.


O'Kelley's Sports Bar & Grill Logo

O’Kelley’s Sports Bar & Grill

2120 W. Guadalupe Rd.
Mesa, AZ 85202

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 480-756-6069

SUN: 9AM – 2AM
MON – SAT: 6AM – 2AM