How to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby online right now

How to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby online
(Image credit: Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Run for the Roses is remote today, so find out how to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby online right now. Due to the current pandemic, the Kentucky Derby was postponed for only the second time ever in its 146-year history (the first time was in 1945, in the final year of World War II). 

The centerpiece of the Virtual Kentucky Derby 2020 on May 2 will feature a Triple Crown Showdown, pitting the 13 Triple Crown winners against each another in a computer simulation under the historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs.

The Kentucky Derby was postponed to Saturday, September 5. But to fill the gap this weekend, NBC Sports and Churchill Downs are throwing a Kentucky Derby at Home Party. That includes The First Saturday In May: American Pharoah’s Run to the Triple Crown, a look back at American Pharoah’s 2015 Derby win en route to his historic Triple Crown. 

That will be followed by the Triple Crown Showdown simulation. The virtual race, created by Inspired Entertainment, will use data algorithms such as historical handicapping information about each horse to determine the probability of their potential finishing positions. 

Virtual Kentucky Derby start time, channel

The Virtual Kentucky Derby 2020 started at 3 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. Eastern. It's on NBC, the NBC Sports app and

Fans can visit to "place their bets" on the winner, which will go toward COVID-19 relief efforts. Churchill Downs has pledged to match up to $1 million of donations for Team Kentucky Fund and Direct Relief. A small percentage will go to R.E.I.N. Fund (Relief for Equine Industry Needs), which benefits workers of the backside whose livelihood has been impacted by COVID-19 and also to help ensure essential care for horses throughout the pandemic.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about watching the Virtual Kentucky Derby online.

How to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby with a VPN

You don't need to miss the Virtual Kentucky Derby just because you're out of the country. Yes, geo-fenced restrictions might block international viewers, but with the help of a virtual private network (VPN), you can still watch the Remote Run for the Roses.

Our pick for the best VPN is ExpressVPN. It meets all the VPN needs and is easy to use and delivers fast internet speeds, making it simple to set up for streaming in no time at all. It also works on practically any device, starting with iOS and Android and including streaming devices such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Apple TV. Plus, game consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. 


Our favorite VPN service, ExpressVPN, is a top choice for anyone who wants to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby. It's got a solid mix of safety, speed and ease-of-use. Plus, you get an extra 3 months free if you sign up for a year. And if you've never used a VPN before and are curious and not sure, there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you just want to give it a try.

How to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby in the U.S.

Get ready for the starting gates to open: The Virtual Kentucky Derby 2020 will air Saturday, May 2 from 3-6 p.m. Eastern on NBC. The broadcast will also stream on and on the NBC Sports app.

At 3 p.m., The First Saturday in May: The American Pharoah Derby will chronicle the racehorse's journey to the Triple Crown. Then at 5:45 p.m., cheer on your favorite among 13 Triple Crown winners in the Triple Crown Showdown.

If you don't have access to NBC and still want to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby live on TV, you can choose one of the best cable TV alternatives. We like Sling (which offers NBC in select markets) for its affordability and customization and Hulu With Live TV, since it also comes with regular Hulu's vast library of movies and shows, including exclusive originals. 

Sling TV

Not only is Sling TV one of the most affordable services, but it's even more affordable right now, as Sling's chopped 33% off its first month's bill. NBC, in select markets, is on Sling Blue, one of the service's three packages.


Hulu offers a ton of content for prices starting at $5.99 per month. In addition to next-day airings of current TV shows and library content from FX, Hulu has acclaimed series like Devs, Ramy, Castle Rock, High Fidelity and more.

How to watch Virtual Kentucky Derby in the UK

Sorry, Brits who are missing Ascot and other horse racing events. The Virtual Kentucky Derby is not airing on any UK channels. However, Americans stuck abroad can use ExpressVPN to watch it from anywhere on Earth.

How to watch Virtual Kentucky Derby in Canada

Similarly, Canadians have no way to watch NBC. Yanks temporarily in the Great White North that want to watch the Virtual Kentucky Derby 2020 will also need ExpressVPN.

How to watch Secretariat online

While horse racing may be on pause right now, you can still watch a movie about the most famous Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown winner. Check out Secretariat on Disney Plus.

(Image credit: Future)
Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.