There are only three days left before the first Saturday of May and that can only mean one thing: The Kentucky Derby is upon us.
The big races of this weekend's festivities start on Friday. The Kentucky Oaks—the major stakes competition for three-year-old fillies—and five more Stakes races take place on Friday. The Oaks is shaping up with what is arguably one its toughest fields in recent years.
Dreaming of Julia, Midnight Lucky, Unlimited Budget and Beholder headline a superb 11-horse field. While they stand above the rest, any of the other seven have enough ability to win the race.
The approximate post time for the Kentucky Oaks will be approximately 5:45 p.m. Friday afternoon.
On Saturday, the full day of racing culminates with the Kentucky Derby, but there are also five additional stakes races, including the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
The Turf Classic will be headlined by reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan against Turf superstar Point of Entry. Wise Dan returned to action winning the Maker's Mile 46 with a solid performance two weeks ago.
Point of Entry defeated Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in early February. He has not run since but has had sharp workouts for the race.
That will be a difficult race to upstage, but the main event is the 139th edition of the Kentucky Derby. The race has all the makings to become a memorable rendition of the "Fastest Two Minutes in Sports."
A 19-horse field is expected to take the track for the race. Verrazano, Orb, Goldencents, Normandy Invasion and Revolutionary are the top-five horses on the race.
But there are at least 10 more horses that don't need to improve much to contend for the win, and if history serves us well, any horse that makes it to the gate, starts and runs on it can win.
There is another important event taking place this week. The Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw, which is where gate assignments are determined, takes place at 5:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 1.
The main coverage will be on NBC and the NBC Sports Network, but there will be exhaustive pre- and post-race coverage on the dedicated horse-racing networks TVG and HRTV as well as the Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN).
There are too many festivities and races to keep track of during the week, but do not despair, I have you covered. Here is a full rundown of all the races and TV coverage for both days of the Oaks and Derby days.
Kentucky Oaks Day Race Program and Schedule
|5||12:43||HRTV||OC $75k/N1X||3yo, f||8.5||Dirt|
|7||2:08||HRTV||G2-Eight Belles||3yo, f||7.0||Dirt|
|8||3:02||HRTV||G2-La Troienne||3up, f&m||8.5||Dirt|
|11||5:45||NBCSN||G1-Kentucky Oaks||3yo, f||9.0||Dirt|
|12||6:21||HRTV||OC $80k/N3$||3up, f&m||8.0||Turf|
Kentucky Derby Day Race Program and Schedule
|6||1:19||NBCSN||G3-Twin Spires Sprint||4up||5.0||Turf|
|7||2:08||NBCSN||G1-Humana Distaff||4up, f&m||7.0||Dirt|
|8||2:59||NBCSN||G2-Churchill Distaff Turf Mile||4up, f&m||8.0||Turf|
|10||4:46||NBC||G1-Woodford Turf Classic||4up||9.0||Turf|
Kentucky Derby 2013 TV Schedule
|Date||Time (ET)||Races||TV Network|
|May 1||4:00 p.m.||Kentucky Derby Classics||HRTV|
|5:00 p.m.||2013 Kentucky Derby Post-Position Draw||NBCSN|
|May 2||4:00 p.m.||Kentucky Derby Classics||NBCSN|
|5:00 p.m.||Kentucky Derby Access||NBCSN|
|May 3||9:30 a.m.||Kentucky Oaks Day Coverage||HRTV|
|4:00 p.m.||Kentucky Derby Classics||NBCSN|
|5:00 p.m.||2013 Kentucky Oaks||NBCSN|
|May 4||9:30 a.m.||Kentucky Derby Undercard||HRTV|
|11:00 a.m.||Kentucky Derby Undercard||NBCSN|
|4:00 p.m.||Access at the Kentucky Derby / Red Carpet Special||NBC|
|5:00 p.m.||2013 Kentucky Derby||NBC|