How to watch the Breeders’ Cup: Start times and TV channel

Knicks Go, ridden by an exercise rider, stands on a track during morning workouts at Del Mar racetrack.
Knicks Go, ridden by an exercise rider, stands on a track during morning workouts Thursday at Del Mar racetrack in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

If you are one of those people who only watch horse racing twice a year, this is one of those times. Sure, you’ve got the Kentucky Derby with all the pick-a-horse pools, crazy hats and Mint Juleps. But the real racing people will tell you the Breeders’ Cup is really racing’s biggest event.

It’s 14 races, all worth at least $1 million, over two days with horses of all ages, not just 3-year-olds wanting to win the Derby. The total purse comes to around $30 million. On Friday, there are five Breeders’ Cup races, all restricted to 2-year-olds. On Saturday, there are nine, all for horses 3 and up. Half of the races are on the dirt and the other half are on the grass, which is called turf.

Horses come from all over the world and most of the European horses come for the turf races.


The highlight Friday is the $2 million Juvenile because the winner is considered the favorite for the Kentucky Derby when the horse turns 3 at the beginning of the year. (All horses have Jan. 1 as their birthday, regardless of when they were actually born.) Only twice has the winner of the Juvenile also won the Kentucky Derby, Street Sense (2007) and Nyquist (2016).

On Saturday, the big race is the $6 million Classic for older horses, both male and female. Basically, any filly or mare can run in any race, and colts or geldings can’t run in any of the four races that contain the words “fillies” or “mares.” One of the greatest Classic races was won by Zenyatta, a mare, in a spectacular run from last place in 2009 at Santa Anita.

This year’s race is being held at Del Mar, which has a shorter than average stretch and means you better make you move early. This is the second time Del Mar has hosted the event.

Of course, you want to know how to watch. It’s pretty much on NBCSN, which is going out of business at the end of the year. Friday’s coverage goes from 2-6 p.m. PST. On Saturday, it’s on NBCSN from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., then it switches to the main NBC Channel (Channel 4 in Los Angeles) from 5-6 p.m. for coverage of the Classic.

As for streaming, you can also find it at and the NBC Sports App along with Peacock. You can also get it on the Breeders’ Cup YouTube channel. As a bonus the YouTube channel will also have the post-race news conferences with owners, trainer and sometimes jockeys, if they don’t have anything to do for the next race.

Ahead of hosting the Breeders’ Cup, Del Mar announced a horse death. It was the fifth horse fatality at the track so far this year.

Nov. 3, 2021


Here are the times in Los Angeles for all the races:


2:50 p.m.: $1 million Juvenile Turf Sprint

3:30 p.m.: $2 million Juvenile Fillies

4:10 p.m.: $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf

4:50 p.m.: $2 million Juvenile

5:30 p.m.: $1 million Juvenile Turf


12:05 p.m.: $1 million Filly and Mare Sprint

12:40 p.m.: $1 million Turf Sprint

1:19 p.m.: $1 million Dirt Mile

1:59 p.m.: $2 million Filly and Mare Turf

2:38 p.m.: $2 million Sprint

3:20 p.m.: $2 million (Turf) Mile

4:00 p.m.: $2 million Distaff

4:40 p.m.: $4 million Turf

5:40 p.m.: $6 million Classic