How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

How to bet on the Kentucky Derby – Win, Show, FAQs & More!

There aren’t many bigger betting days on the U.S. sporting calendar than the Kentucky Derby. It is a race that stops the nation, with both novice and experienced bettors all making a wager. Around the time of the opening Triple Crown race, there is a bigger search regarding how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, as newcomers to horse racing look to enhance their knowledge.

Hundreds of millions of dollars will be bet on ‘The Run for the Roses’ once again this year, and you can find out everything you need to know about how to bet on the Kentucky Derby right here.

Why Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

There are few sporting events that compare to the Kentucky Derby. It is an event that is watched around the globe, with novice bettors as well as seasoned professionals all working hard to try and find the winner of the opening race of the Triple Crown season. The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious events staged globally and has been run every year since May 1875. It has been dubbed the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” as well as the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.”

The race opens the Triple Crown season, but the Kentucky Derby is by far and away the most popular. This is evident by the fact that more people attend the meet at Churchill Downs than any other race day in the U.S., meaning that it eclipses the attendances recorded for the Breeders’ Cup, Belmont Stakes, and Preakness Stakes.

What Is The Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is unlike any other race on the calendar. Horses aged three will compete in the Grade 1, which is run over a total distance of 1 ¼ miles. Unlike the big races around the rest of the world, the Kentucky Derby takes place on a dirt surface. Meanwhile, a total prize purse of $3 million is available, with the winning connections picking up just under $1.9 million.

Churchill Downs is home to the Kentucky Derby, and the race is the pinnacle of its season at the course. Nowadays, a field of 20 horses line up in the race, with the contenders made up of horses that have accumulated enough points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Prep races that offer qualifying points are run between September and April, and the 20 horses with the most points automatically secure their berth in the race.

Is Kentucky Derby Betting Legal?

Bets can be made on the Kentucky Derby from around the U.S. Betting on horse racing is legal in 39 states across the country and has been since the Horse Racing Act of 1978. This law ensured that tracks could broadcast races around the U.S. and also offered the option for bets to be placed.

Further changes came into play in 2000, which enabled bettors to make wagers over the phone or via the internet. However, the states that enable bets to be made agree to interstate wagering.

Online Kentucky Derby Betting

The biggest advancements that have been made regarding how to bet on the Kentucky Derby have come with the rising importance of online betting. Nowadays, customers can make wagers on the Triple Crown race from the comfort of their own homes. Many of the leading racebooks will also offer an HD quality stream to watch the race after a qualifying bet has been placed. The emergence of online betting has also enabled bettors to get the best value on their selections. A number of the leading racebooks offer ante-post Kentucky Derby betting markets.

This means that bets can be placed on the race up to a year before the final declarations have been made. Bettors can also find the latest information regarding the horses involved in the Kentucky Derby, as the leading racebooks will show the relevant jockey, trainer, and owner information and the latest form of all the runners.

How To Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

Learning how to bet on the Kentucky Derby means understanding the markets that are available to you. Some of the markets are very straightforward to understand, while others may need some extra information. Below, you can learn all about the most popular ways of how to bet on the Kentucky Derby.

Win Betting

The most popular way to make a bet on the Kentucky Derby can be found in the win betting market. Here, you will place a wager on the horse that you think will win the race, and returns are awarded should your selection be crowned winner of the Kentucky Derby.

The odds that you make your wager on will determine the returns. For example, if you place a $10 wager on Messier at 14/1, then you will receive $150 in returns. Bettors will get their $10 stake returned, as well as the $140 in winnings.

Place Betting

Place betting covers the first two positions in the race. Therefore, you will get returns should your selection finish first or second. However, the returns will be significantly smaller should the selected horse finish second.

Offshore sportsbooks will typically offer a number of places when it comes to place betting, and due to the field size for the Kentucky Derby, many customers could get up to four places.

Show Betting

Show betting is most common on North American sportsbooks and covers the first three places in the race. Like the place betting market, returns will be slightly lower should your selection finish third and not first.

However, it is an interesting market to make a wager on should you fancy the chances of an outsider, and significant returns could be returned on bigger-priced selections.

Exacta/Trifecta Betting

The Exacta and Trifecta betting markets are among the toughest to get winners on. To land the Exacta, you will need to select the first and second horses in the Kentucky Derby in the correct finishing order.

Meanwhile, to win the Trifecta bet, you will need to predict the horses that finish first, second and third in the correct order. In order to get returns on this market, bettors must do comprehensive research and examine how a race could play out and what race styles could excel at Churchill Downs.

Multiple Betting

A popular wager across the big two days at Churchill Downs is a parlay. This is typically done in the form of a double, as bettors try and predict the winners of both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

However, to get returns on this wager, both selections must be winners. If one selection lets you down, then your stake is lost. But, it can be a profitable form of wagering should you have completed extensive research across both races. 

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How To Make A Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

Making a wager on the Kentucky Derby is easy for all customers to understand. Once you have chosen the horse that you want to bet on, you can follow these simple steps to place your wager:

  • Enter the stake that you wish to place on the selection

  • Select ‘Add To Bet Slip’

  • Confirm your place bet to ensure that you haven’t made any mistakes

  • The bet is confirmed

Understanding Kentucky Derby Betting Odds

The odds are one of the most important factors to consider before placing your bet on the Kentucky Derby. They will directly impact the returns that you can win from your selection, which means that you will want the best possible price before placing your wager.

Odds can be shown in a number of different ways. The most popular in the U.S. is the American format. Here, the price will have either a ‘-‘ or ‘+’ next to the number. Horses with a ‘-‘ will be considered a favorite, while outsiders will have the ‘+’. If you place a wager on a horse priced at +200, then you will get $30 in returns from a $10 wager. Odds can also be shown in fractional or decimal layouts. The same odds in fractional are displayed as 2/1, while decimal takes into account your stake immediately, and the same odds will be shown as 3.0.

Tips To Bet On The Kentucky Derby

A number of important questions need to be asked before you make your wager on the Kentucky Derby. Some of the important tips that all bettors should follow before placing their wager on the race at Churchill Downs can be found below:

  • Horse’s form (experience over distance, track experience, and record)

  • Trainer/Jockey strike rate and Kentucky Derby records

  • Churchill Downs track bias

  • Speed figures of horses involved

  • How the draw will impact all horses involved in the race.

How to bet on the Kentucky Derby

Yes. Bets can be made on the Kentucky Derby in 39 states across the U.S.

The Kentucky Derby in 2021 was won by Mandaloun for trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux. Medina Spirit was the first home, but the Bob Baffert horse was later disqualified.

To date, 13 horses have won the Triple Crown. Justify was the most recent to win the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Preakness Stakes in 2018.

The most popular way to bet on the Kentucky Derby is on the win market. Here, you will be placing a bet on the horse that will need to win the race to get returns.

The current favorite for the Kentucky Derby 2022 is Epicenter, who claimed success in the G2 Louisiana Derby and G2 Risen Star Stakes in preparation for the race at Churchill Downs.