Kentucky Derby: What Time Does The Horse Race Start And End?

Written By Matt Burke on May 6, 2023
What time does the Kentucky Derby start end

One of the biggest sporting events in the US will take place on Saturday, May 6. The Kentucky Derby is the Super Bowl of horse racing as millions of people watch “The Run for the Roses.” Here we will answer the question as to what time does the Kentucky Derby start. Betting on the race is plentiful and we will also go over all the ways you can wager on the Derby here.

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What time does the Kentucky Derby start and end?

One of the most asked questions this time of year is what time does the Kentucky Derby start and end? This year’s Derby will go off at its traditional start time. 

The Kentucky Derby will start at 6:57 p.m. ET

Churchill Downs attempts to have the horses leave the gates as close to 6:57 p.m. ET as possible but rarely does the race begin at that exact time. Between how long it takes the horses to walk from the barn to the Paddock and how long it takes to get the horses into the gates, the start time can vary by minutes. All told, however, expected this year’s Kentucky Derby field to be galloping by 7:05 p.m. ET at the latest.

Here are the Kentucky Derby start times by time zone.

  • Kentucky Derby Start Time Eastern: 6:57 p.m.
  • Derby Start Time Central: 5:57 p.m.
  • Kentucky Derby Begin Time Mountain: 4:57 p.m.
  • Derby Start Time Pacific: 3:57 p.m.

Expect the Kentucky Derby to end by 7:07 p.m. ET.

How long does the Kentucky Derby last?

Another question that is often asked by those who are horse betting is how long does the Kentucky Derby last? The race has a nickname of “The Most Exciting 2 Minutes In Sports” and it always lives up to that mantra. 

Last year’s winner, Rich Strike, finished in 2 minutes and 2 seconds. The previous year’s winner finished with a time of 2 minutes and 1 second.

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Matt Burke

Matt Burke is the Managing Editor of Evergreen Content at He is the Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of MetroBet, a digital and print sports betting platform, and was the Executive Sports Editor at Metro US Newspapers (New York, Philadelphia, Boston) from 2014-2020. Matt has covered Super Bowls and Final Fours, and his work has appeared for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, The Eagle Tribune, Gloucester Daily Times and Newburyport Daily News. Matt is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.

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