The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the US Triple Crown of Horse Racing, run on the first Saturday in May every year at Churchill Downs racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky. 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.
Horse racing betting is based on a pari-mutuel system. All the players that are betting on a race are setting the odds as they make their wagers. There is a different pari-mutuel pool for each type of bet, so there is a win pool, a place pool, a show bet pool, an exacta pool, etc.
Back in the day, you had to go to a brick-and-mortar racetrack to wager on horse racing, but that is no longer the case. You can sign up at a horse betting site like TwinSpires or TVG and bet the Kentucky Derby online.
These horse betting sites have first deposit welcome bonuses for new account holders, so you get a boost from the start. It could be a free bet, a deposit match, a risk free bet or a combination. If you bet on the Kentucky Derby at TVG, they will return your first win bet up to $10 if your choice is second or third.
There are many different types of wagers that can be made on the Kentucky Derby. From a betting perspective, this race is unique because there are 20 horses in the field. You will not see another race in the United States with this many horses entered.
A win bet is the first bet that most people will make when they are new to the horse race wagering. This is a good idea when you are wagering on the Derby. As you get more comfortable, you will recognize the value of exotic wagering like horizontal bets, exactas, trifectas and superfectas.
The odds are based on the amount of money that is bet into each pool. Since there are 20 entries, it is spread around, so you typically get reasonably good odds on every horse in the field. For this reason, there is a lot of money to be made betting the Kentucky Derby.
Win - This is straightforward and self-explanatory. Bet on a horse to win the race.
Place - This is a bet to come in second or better.
Show - This is a bet to finish third or better.
Exacta - You pick the horses that will come in first and second in the correct order when you bet an exacta.
Trifecta - This is like an exacta, but you pick the first three finishers.
Superfecta - This is like a trifecta, but you pick the first four finishers.
Quinella - You pick the first two finishers in any order when you play a quinella.
Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 - These are horizontal wagers. You pick the horses that will win four, five or six consecutive races.
Kentucky Derby futures betting is speculative. Odds are posted in advance on the horses that have a chance to make Churchill Downs history. A lot of them will never actually run in the race, so this is a risky wager on that level.
However, if you have a fully functioning crystal ball, you can be in a great position on Derby Day. You are in a sweet spot when you have a winning betting slip that will pay 20/1 in the futures market.
This can be a very smart way to invest some money if you think you have identified a viable futures bet. Plus, you will have action when the Kentucky Derby prep races are run because good performances are needed to qualify for the Derby.
Kentucky Derby futures pools are open during certain limited time windows, and the first one is around Thanksgiving of the previous year. It lasts for four days, and the next one is a three-day window in late January.
A third pool is released in the middle of February, and the fourth opens up a month later. The fifth and last opportunity to bet the Kentucky Derby futures is at the end of March.
Fractional odds are used in horse racing, so futures odds are posted in this format. If you bet a horse that is 10/1 in the futures and you are right, you win $10 for every one dollar that you bet, and you get your original stake back. So, the return on a $2 bet would be $22.
You will notice a glaring omission when you check out the 2022 Kentucky Derby futures odds below. Bob Baffert is a Hall of Fame trainer that conditioned 2021 Derby winner Medina Spirit. After the race, Medina Spirit tested positive for Betamethasone, a banned anti-inflammatory drug.
Bob Baffert contended that it was applied topically, and he thought it was permissible. In any event, he was suspended by the Kentucky Racing Commission, and he cannot enter any of his horses in races that are held in the state for two years.
2022 Kentucky Derby Futures Odds - Pool 1
|1||Ben Diesel||Dallas Stewart||30-1|
|2||Classic Causeway||Brian Lynch||15-1|
|4||Double Thunder||Todd Pletcher||30-1|
|6||Forced Ranking||Chad Brown||30-1|
|7||Giant Game||Dale Romans||15-1|
|8||Graphic Detail||Bill Mott||50-1|
|10||Howling Time||Dale Romans||20-1|
|11||Jack Christopher||Chad Brown||10-1|
|12||Major General||Todd Pletcher||20-1|
|13||Mo Donegal||Todd Pletcher||20-1|
|15||Oviatt Class||Keith Desormeaux||30-1|
|17||Rattle N Roll||Kenny McPeek||15-1|
|18||Smile Happy||Kenny McPeek||50-1|
|19||Tiz the Bomb||Kenny McPeek||20-1|
|20||Trafalgar||Al Stall Jr.||50-1|
|23||All fillies from the 2019 foal crop||N/A||50-1|
|24||All other colts and geldings from the 2019 foal crop||N/A||1-1|
Prior to 2013, there was no defined process for choosing the Kentucky Derby field. Officials used their best judgment, but a rigid system was implemented in 2013, and it is still used.
There is a Road to the Kentucky Derby series of 48 races for three-year-olds leading up to the Run for the Process. It starts with the Iroquois Stakes in September of the previous year, and it concludes with the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in mid-April.
Points are awarded for the top four finishers, and the 20 horses with the highest point totals qualify for entry. The final 14 races are listed below along with the points that are up for grabs in these important Kentucky Derby prep races.
Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 12, 2022
Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs on March 12, 2022
UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse on March 26, 2022
Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds on March 26, 2022
Sunland Derby at Sunland Park on March 27, 2022
Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 2, 2022
Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 2, 2022
Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on April 2, 2022
Fukuryu at Nakayama on April 2, 2022
Cardinal Condition Stakes at Chelmsford on April 7, 2022
Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9, 2022
Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 9, 2022
Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park on April 9, 2022
Lexington at Keeneland on April 16, 2022
Venerable Churchill Downs opened its doors for the first time in 1875, and it was the brainchild of Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark. He was a horse racing enthusiast, and when he was in Europe in 1872, he attended the Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey, England.
He was taken in by the impressive spectacle, and he wanted to do something similar in Kentucky to promote the horse breeding industry. Henry and John Churchill owned 80 acres that would be a perfect spot for the new track, and they leased it to Clark, who was their nephew.
The rest is history and quite a history at that. In 2022, the 148th Kentucky Derby will be run, and the event has been held every year since 1875. A pair of World Wars, the Great Depression, 91, and the COVID pandemic could not get in the way of this beloved tradition.
It is run on the Churchill Downs dirt course at 1 ¼ miles on the first Saturday in May. Colts and geldings all carry 126 pounds, and fillies get a five-pound weight break. The Great Secretariat set the record that still stands today when he registered a winning time of 1:59.4 in 1973.
The Kentucky Derby is a great betting race because there are so many horses as we have touched upon previously. All of these three-year-old thoroughbreds are high-quality horses that are still developing, and there can be a significant improvement from one race to the next.
There can be live longshots because an equine athlete that is eligible to improve may not look like the likely winner on paper. You can always find a horse in the race at 8/1 or 10/1 that probably has true odds of 7/2 or 4/1.
Spectacular Bid was a heavy favorite of $.60 on the dollar when he won the Kentucky Derby in 1979. Since then, no winner has gone off at odds lower than 2/1, and that has only happened three times in the last 42 years.
The 2019 winner Country House went off at odds of 65/1, and Giacomo was 50/1 when Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith rode him to victory in 2005. Last year’s winner Medina Spirit was 12/1, and he paid a robust $26.20 to win.
You should study the past performances before you bet the Kentucky Derby, and you should devote sufficient time to do the research. There are going to be 20 horses to analyze, so a good bit of work is involved. We like to get our past performances for the Daily Racing Form (DRF) for one reason.
Though there are other publications that have past performances, the DRF has exclusive rights to Beyer Speed Figures. Andrew Beyer designed this system when he was a racing columnist for the Washington Post in the 1970s.
His book, Picking Winners: A Horse Players Guide was originally published in 1975, and it has become a must-read for serious handicappers. He has used the system to win a lot of money, including a $35,000 Pick 6 that he wrote about in his column.
Beyer Speed Figures for every horse in every race are published in the Daily Racing Form. You should assess all factors when you are poring over the past performances, but Beyers give added insight. It is just a single number that takes every relevant factor into account, including track bias on the day of a race.
When you are handicapping potential win bets, you should look for overlays. These are situations where the true odds of the horse winning the race are lower than the actual odds on the tote board. You are not looking for the most likely winner; you are trying to get the best value.
Your first bet on the Kentucky Derby should be a win bet because it is a simple and straightforward bet. Plus, you fondly remember a successful Kentucky Derby bet for the rest of your life. Since you can always find overlays, it is the best opportunity to place a win bet all year long.
For three-year-old horses, this is the greatest race of all, so there will be animals in the race that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of them may have been purchased at prestigious yearling sales for over $1 million and they are trained by the best conditioners in the country. You can count on peak performances in the big race.
If a horse is racing wide, they are covering more ground than the horses inside of them. They are running a longer distance, and this will cause fatigue. Since there are 20 horses, you have to take the post draw into the consideration when you are handicapping the race.
This does not necessarily mean that you should throw out horses that are draw outside posts. As long as the horse has enough speed to clear most of the field in the beginning, they can overcome a wide post position. Actually, the far inside post position is not a good one for horses that are not fast out of the gate.
The basic strategies for the Kentucky Derby are unique to that race because of the large field and the quality of the horses. Any horse that has qualified to compete in the Run for the Roses has a good bit of ability, and Giacomo and Mine That Bird proved that no competitor is without a chance.
You have to pick the top four finishers when you play a superfecta, but the upside is considerable with Kentucky Derby superfectas. The minimum bet is usually $0.10 on ordinary races, but it is $1 on this very special occasion. A ticket with ample coverage will cost a nice chunk of change, but it is a good investment.
From 2010 to 2020, the average $1 Kentucky Derby superfecta payout was $76,893. In 2010, Super Saver won the race at odds of 8/1, and the superfecta paid over $101,000. The previous year, Mine That Bird shocked the world under Calvin Borel and the superfecta paid $557,000.
Every Kentucky Derby is noteworthy in some way, but there have been some especially memorable performances. Secretariat’s record-breaking victory is one of them, and 1980 winner Genuine Risk was the first filly to win the Derby since Regret in 1915.
More recently, American Pharaoh’s 2015 Derby score was the first step in his quest to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years. Justify came along three years later to join him in the pantheon of the all-time greats. The following is a list of the last 10 Kentucky Derby winners:
|Year||Post Position||Winner||Jockey/Trainer||Time||Odds||$2 Win||$2 Place||$2 Show||$2 Exacta||$1 Trifecta||$1 Superfecta|
|2012||19||I'll Have Another||Gutierrez/O'Neill||2:01.83||15/1||$32.60||$13.80||$9.00||$306.60||$3,065.60||$48,046.40|
If you want to bet the Kentucky Derby online, we recommend TwinSpires first and foremost because the actual Twin Spires at Churchill Downs symbolize the event. You will get a risk free bet or some other bonus as a new customer, and you can watch the races through their live streaming feature.
Actually, the fun begins on the Friday before the Derby when the Kentucky Oaks is the feature race. Post time for the Oaks is about 6:00 p.m., and this is also the Derby post time. The Kentucky Oaks is for three-year-old fillies, and some of the greatest female horses of all time have competed in the Oaks.
You can use a credit or debit card, PayPal or a bank transfer to fund your account. It is wise to use a debit card or a bank account transfer so you are not tempted to go too far. There are other good races on Saturday before the Derby, so you will have a lot of wagering opportunities that weekend.
When you bet the Kentucky Derby online you can download a mobile app so you can wager from anywhere. Plus, there is live streaming of all the races from around the country. You can make a bet while you’re waiting at the DMV and watch the live stream to see how your horse finishes.
Once again, horse betting odds are established through the utilization of a pari-mutuel wagering system. When you bet on a horse in the Derby online, you are participating in a betting pool with other players.
Everyone is getting the same odds at every wagering outlet in the world that is on the pari-mutuel system. There is no reason to worry about going to the horse betting site that will give you the best odds on the Kentucky Derby because they are all the same.
In addition to debit and credit cards, bank transfers and PayPal, you can use PayNearMe to fund your account. With this option, you go to a participating convenience store and make a cash deposit that will be credited to your horse betting account.
If you live in or around Louisville, you can simply make a deposit at Churchill Downs in person at any time. Deposits are also accepted at the TwinSpires.com call center in Lexington, Kentucky and Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio. The site accepts checks or money orders sent by mail, wire transfers and MoneyGram deposits.
When you make a deposit and start betting, you intend to cash out, and there are adequate withdrawal options offered. You can request an electronic transfer to your bank account through EZmoney or PayPal, and TwinSpires will mail you a check. You can also request a withdrawal over the phone.
When you cash a win bet on the Kentucky Derby, you have bragging rights for the next 12 months. That’s a very good feeling, and if you hit a trifecta or superfecta along with it, you will bring home some serious money. The Sport of Kings can be very lucrative if you get lucky on Derby Day,
At the same time, even if you come up short, it’s an exciting way to spend part of your Saturday. Derby history is made on the first Saturday in May every year, and on that day, every starter is a potential Triple Crown winner.
"Gary Patrick Garry started out in the sports gaming field working for a major sports service in Las Vegas over three decades ago. He has written for a number of different gambling sites over recent years, and he is a regular Gambling.com contributor."