Live a Little
Guess how many horses have won the Triple Crown since 1919? Give up? Okay, the answer is 12, with American Pharoah being the most recent winner in 2015 (we still get goosebumps watching this).
We’re not saying we’ll see a triple crown winner this year, but we’re not saying we won’t see it either. Either way, it all kicks off with the Kentucky Derby on May 5, followed by the Preakness Stakes on May 19 and the Belmont Stakes on June 6.
Best ways to watch horse racing online
Streaming local channels like NBC can be tricky. Each streaming service has a certain number of NBC affiliates that cover different areas of the US. The higher the number of local affiliates, the better likelihood you can stream horse racing in your area. Affiliate coverage is super important when picking a streaming service to watch horse racing.
Your best bets for watching the Preakness, Kentucky Derby, and Belmont
Here’s a breakdown of how many NBC affiliates each streaming service offers. Remember, the more local affiliates, the better.
(44 local affiliates)
(76 local affiliates)
(66 local affiliates)
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#1 DIRECTV NOW: Watch horse racing online for the best price
What we like about it: The best price for streaming horse racing
Drawbacks: No cloud DVR (yet)
Who it’s perfect for: Fans looking for the cheapest option
If you have to pay for something monthly, it’s almost always better to go with the cheaper deal. If you get NBC coverage in your area with DIRECTV NOW, it’s a great deal. You can try out DIRECTV NOW and even watch the Kentucky Derby for free with a 7-day trial.
Stream the Triple Crown—but what else?
DIRECTV NOW has four different channel packages to choose from, and here’s the good news—the cheapest one has the channel we want. The Live a Little package comes with all your local channels, including NBC, plus other cool channels like ESPN, History Channel, and NBCSN (where you can watch the Breeder’s Cup), for a total of about 60+ channels.
Now the real question: can you, where you live, watch the horse-racing events on NBC with DIRECTV NOW? We’re not going to lie—you have a much better chance of streaming on NBC if you live near a major city. Thankfully, you can find out for sure by entering your ZIP code here. Just make sure that you see NBC in your area, and you’ll be good to go.
Plan on watching horse racing live
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but DIRECTV NOW doesn’t offer any cloud DVR currently. We know that will change soon, but it probably won’t be before the Triple Crown kicks off. Then again, some fans really like to watch the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, or Preakness live and react to it real time with friends and on social media. There’s a pretty good chance you wouldn’t even use the cloud DVR to watch the Triple Crown events.
Has DIRECTV NOW piqued your interest? Check out our review for more details on streaming quality, user experience, and more.
DIRECTV NOW device compatibility
You can watch the Triple Crown on DIRECTV NOW with most of the major streaming devices.
#2 Hulu with Live TV: Your best bet for streaming horse racing on NBC
What we like about it: The most NBC coverage
Drawbacks: A few bucks more expensive than DIRECTV NOW
Who it’s perfect for: Horse-racing fans with a penchant for binge-watching
In the great ongoing streaming war, Hulu with Live TV has the most local NBC affiliates on its side—but not DIRECTV NOW’s lower price. You can try out Hulu Live and watch the Belmont, Kentucky Derby, or Preakness for free with a 7-day trial.
Stream horse racing and tons of on-demand content
Hulu offers only one package with live TV channels, and it costs $39.99 a month. Yes, that’s $5 a month more expensive than DIRECTV NOW (which adds up over time), but you also get a lot of content to enjoy—all your local channels and over 55 other live channels. Don’t worry—Hulu’s channel list includes essentials like ESPN, FX, and NBCSN.
Our favorite part about Hulu with Live TV is the included access to Hulu’s entire on-demand streaming library. Let’s say you’re waiting to watch the Preakness, and you’ve got some time to kill. Why not watch a few episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Last Man on Earth, or Bob’s Burgers? Flipping between live TV and on-demand TV so seamlessly is pretty fantastic.
Record a horse race and save it for later
Are you a nervous better? Sometimes it’s too agonizing to watch your fate unfold in real time. It can help to record the event, watch it when you’re in a good headspace, and accept whatever the outcome. Fortunately, Hulu Live TV comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR storage with your subscription.
We won’t judge you if you record the races and watch them after the kids are asleep. Good luck with those bets, buddy.
Hulu Live TV device compatibility
You can watch horse racing on pretty much any device with Hulu Live TV, even Xbox consoles.
#3 YouTube TV: Best streaming quality for the best horses
What we like about it: Unlimited cloud DVR
Drawbacks: Few compatible devices
Who it’s perfect for: Fans who record everything
You’re probably familiar with YouTube—you might even be watching great horse racing moments highlights as we speak. Well, YouTube TV is YouTube’s new livestreaming service, and yeah, you can use it to watch the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont for free with a 7-day trial.
Watch horse racing in style
We’ve tested every major streaming service, and YouTube TV’s stream looks the best. PlayStation Vue and Hulu with Live TV come second and third in the streaming-quality race, but YouTube TV looks the best and stays the most consistently smooth. If you’ve got an eye for detail and want to watch the Preakness in peak quality, stick with YouTube TV.
With your YouTube TV subscription, you get all your local channels (with strong NBC coverage), as well as ESPN, FS1, and NBCSN, and over 50 other channels for $40 a month.
Record all the horse racing
One of the coolest things about YouTube TV is its unlimited cloud DVR. You can literally record every horse race that ever happens. Ever. If you play your cards right, you might never need to watch commercials again. Here’s the catch: your recorded content deletes after nine months. But that should give you plenty of time to watch everything, so just make sure to catch up on your recordings every few months.
YouTube TV device compatibility
You can watch horse racing online with YouTube TV on Apple TV, Chromecast, or on your mobile device or computer. Sorry, Roku users—you’ll be better off with a different streaming service.
Wildcard: Antenna: An almost foolproof way to watch horse racing
What we like about it: No monthly costs
Drawbacks: No cable channels
Who it’s perfect for: Fans living in an area without NBC streaming coverage
Thank goodness for antennas. If you find that you can’t stream NBC in your area, consider an antenna as your plan B. Just make sure to check what local channels you get in your area before you buy anything.
We can’t give you any horse racing insider info, but we can give you some antenna insider info. We recommend going with the Mohu Leaf 50 on Amazon. It’s got a solid range, looks sleek, and is made from recycled materials too.
Place your bets
Whether you watch the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, or the Belmont, we’d recommend any of these streaming services (or an antenna). Weigh out the pros and cons for your situation, choose your streaming horse (figuratively speaking), and enjoy all the action.
If you don’t mind sharing, let us know what streaming service you’ve picked to watch the horse racing events. Is it working well for you? Have you lost all your money? Let us know in the comments below.