Updated: 2023 Feb 3

Kentucky Derby 2023 Betting

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How To Bet On The Kentucky Derby

Betting on the Kentucky Derby is easy. Well over $130million is bet each year in the US on the Kentucky Derby odds, with more than $200million wagered across the Kentucky Derby Festival. There are many popular Kentucky Derby betting markets beyond the ‘win’, ‘place’, and ‘show’ standard horse racing wagers:

  1. Exacta - Pick the first and second horse home in any race, in the correct order.
  2. Trifecta - Predicted the first three home in the right order.
  3. Superfecta - Select the first four to finish the race in the right order.
  4. Quinella - This bet boxes an Exacta, meaning you still win as long as the two picks finish in the first two, regardless of their order. You can also box a Trifecta and Superfecta.

You can bet on the Kentucky Derby at the racecourse and online, including on betting sites outside the US, with many online horse racing bookmakers offering Kentucky Derby betting markets, such is the widespread appeal of the Run for the Roses.

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Kentucky Derby Future Wager Betting

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager allows punters to bet early on the potential Derby horse they think will earn a place in the race and go on to win the Kentucky Derby. Future Wager bets typically offer larger payouts than betting the same horse on the day of the race, because they are placed before the horse has been confirmed to run.

How the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Works

The Kentucky Derby Future Wager is a pool bet that can offer large payouts for small stakes. More than $1.5million of Future Wager bets are handled through various pools each year. In 2003 a record $188 for a minimum $2 bet was paid out on those backing Derby winner Funny Cide in the first pool - he paid $27.60 on race day. This is how Future Wager works:

Kentucky Derby Future Wager betting is available on North American betting sites like TwinSpires in the US. Online betting sites outside the US offer ante post betting on the Kentucky Derby odds, meaning you can place a win or each-way bet before the final field has been declared. This betting market works in a similar way to the Future Wager pools, but the payouts are smaller - even though the betting odds can still be better value than they would be on race day.

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Top Kentucky Derby Betting Tips

The Kentucky Derby is a uniquely prestigious race, in that results do not tend to show bias - and shocks have not been common. The best Kentucky Derby betting strategy is to find the best horse in the race, and then add them with others in one of the exotic bets listed above. These betting tips can help:

Internationals competing in the Kentucky Derby is new. With the Road to the Kentucky Derby series only recently extended to include races in Europe, and then Japan, it has become more likely that a runner not trained in the US will eventually win the Kentucky Derby.


Recent Kentucky Derby Odds

The Kentucky Derby betting tends to point the way towards the winner. The most recent recipients of the roses have all been favourites in the Kentucky Derby Odds.

YearHorseJockeyTrainerOdds / $2 Payout
2020AuthenticJohn VelazquezBob Baffert8/1f / $18.00
2019Country HouseFlavien PratBill Mott65/1f / $132.40
2018JustifyMike SmithBob Baffert29/10f / $7.80
2017Always DreamingJohn VelazquezTodd Pletcher47/10f / $11.40
2016NyquistMario GutierrezDoug O’Neill23/10f / $6.60
2015American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob Baffert29/10f / $7.80
2014California ChromeVictor EspinozaArt Sherman5/2f / $7.00
2013OrbJoel RosarioClaude McGaughey III11/2f / $12.80

The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sport

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, run on the first Saturday in May every year at Churchill Downs racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky.

It is US horse racing’s premier Grade 1 for three-year-old thoroughbreds, often called ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sport’, or ‘The Run For The Roses’, because the winner is draped with a blanket of roses.

With $2million in prize money, the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby attracts the US’s finest racehorses, as well as some internationals, all having earned their berth in the 20-runner field by accumulating points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby circuit.

The Kentucky Derby, the longest running US sporting event, is the highlight of the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival at Churchill Downs, attracting crowds in excess of 155,000 people and a total bet handle of more than $130million.

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What is the Road to the Kentucky Derby?

Since the 139th Kentucky Derby in 2013, runners have qualified to run by accumulating points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. In each of the series’s races, a tiered points system awards points to the first four finishers.

At the end of the series, the 20 horses with the most points earn their spot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs. The Road to the Kentucky Derby begins in September and ends in April, offering opportunities in America, Japan, Ireland, the UK, and France.

The second and third legs of the Triple Crown are the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

The Kentucky Derby Course Information

The Kentucky Derby is run over 1 1/4 miles on the dirt track at Churchill Downs in the US state of Kentucky. The racecourse is a 1 mile oval, specifically built to found the Kentucky Derby, and supporting Kentucky Oaks, races designed to showcase the breeding of thoroughbreds in Kentucky.

Colonel Meriwether Clark had been inspired by the Epsom Derby, and Epsom Oaks in England, so created US equivalents on a new course, made possible by land leased to him by uncles John and Henry Churchill. That’s where the name Churchill Downs was born.

The Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks - run on the Friday before Derby Saturday - have run every year since their inauguration in 1875, making them the longest continuously running US sporting events. Churchill Downs has become a horse racing landmark, highlighted on the Kentucky skyline by the iconic Twin Spires that sit atop the grandstands.

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Hi, I'm Dean Ryan

"A passionate sports betting expert and journalist with over 15 years spent in the gambling industry."

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