The Kentucky Derby is arguably the most well-known horse race in the world. The race, held on the first Saturday of May each year at Churchill Downs, is known for many things aside from the actual race itself. People who attend this famous day at the races are always dressed to the nines, and you will see some of the most unique hats anywhere in America on a day like this.
Churchill Downs can hold over 50 000 people and on Derby Day you can be sure to find packed rafters to witness the race.
The party has extended far outside the state of Kentucky, with a whole host of parties being held around the world. Of course, the main attraction of the Kentucky Derby aside from the mint julep is betting on the race itself. This is the kind of event that brings so many fresh new gamblers to the space that it is a unique opportunity for gambling sites to attract new players. However, not every betting site is the same especially when it comes to horse racing, so we thought it would help to know what we look at when reviewing sites for Kentucky Derby betting.
We also wanted to give you some tips on how to pick horses to bet on in the race and how to watch the race live.
What is the Kentucky Derby?
The Kentucky Derby is a race for horses aged 3 years old, open to males and females.
To participate in the Kentucky Derby, horses must qualify by earning points in the Kentucky Derby preparation races. These races are not linked to the organizers of the Kentucky Derby or to the racetrack Churchill Downs, but they are high profile races for young horses.
By winning such races, the horses demonstrate their value and that they might have what it takes to win the Kentucky Derby.
It is necessary to have a qualifying system because every horse owner’s dream is to win that race. If it was not for this qualification system, too many people would try their luck and the race quality might not always be good. The qualification system means that the best young horses in America and the World take part in the Kentucky Derby and not some random amateurs.
The prize money in the Kentucky Derby is of 4 million dollars so winning it is both prestigious and lucrative.
It is important to note that, because the Kentucky Derby is a race for horses who are 3 years old, most horses will still be developing physically and will have few races in their resume.
In addition, the race is run on a longer distance than most of the horses will have ever run and there is therefore often a question mark on their ability to complete the course and win.
This makes the Kentucky Derby exciting and challenging to bet on as many surprises can arise.
How to bet on the Kentucky Derby?
The easiest way to bet on the Kentucky Derby to sign up for an account with one of the sites we recommend. These sites have been carefully reviewed by our specialists and have a stellar reputation. We explain below how we select the best sites to bet on the Kentucky Derby,
Once you have signed up for an account, don’t forget to claim your bonus, usually the sports betting site will award you a bonus to go along with your first deposit. This adds a lot of value to playing online and you can bet a larger amount or place more bets this way.
The Kentucky Derby is the largest race in America, both in terms of betting action, public and the number of horses in the field. All the possible betting options are available. Below we list the most important ones and offer some advice on how to select your horses.
This is of course the classic bet where you win if you pick the horse who finishes first. The odds on each horse are determined by the pari-mutuel pool, meaning that the price on each horse depends on how other people have bet. It is tempting to bet on the favorite but the Kentucky Derby is a tricky race with a lot of pitfalls and the favorite actually rarely wins.
So many people bet on the Kentucky Derby that for most people, the horse selection is almost random, with a lot of bettors electing to select the favorite, assuming that he is the best horse. It is often the case, however there is a vicious cycle with his status as the favorite: because he is the favorite, many amateur players bet on him which makes his price go down and down and down. It is therefore better select one of the other horses in the field if you are interested in betting value.
With the bet to place, you win if your horse finishes first or second in the race. When there are few horses running, this does not offer great value as the favorite will capture most of that betting money and if he does win, the other place bet is not paying enough for it to be worth it.
In the Kentucky Derby however, with so many horses running and the favorite being so vulnerable, the place bet offers a lot of value and you basically double your chance to win, compared to a straight win bet.
The bet to show follows the same logic as the place bet, you win if your horse finishes first, second or third. Just as the place bet, we would not advise betting this way on most races but in the Kentucky Derby, with this huge field, the Show bet can actually pay off well and you triple your chance of winning.
Players looking for a big payday on the Kentucky Derby can decide to bet on the Exacta. You need to select two horses and decide who will finish first and who will finish second. If they come in first and second, you win, usually a large sum. If they come in any other order, you lose the bet. You can place multiple Exacta bets, with multiple horses in multiple orders but then the price goes up. Still, the Exacta bet on the Kentucky Derby can pay off a lot, if you have a clear idea of who has the best chance of finishing first and second.
The trifecta follows the same logic as the exacta but is exponentially harder as you have now to decide who will finish first, second and third. If you hit that bet, it will pay off a lot, thousands of dollars often. But with such a large number of horses in the race and the tricky race to navigate, there are often surprises, if not for the win at least for the places. The Trifecta bet is therefore extremely hard to win at the Kentucky Derby but of course, if you select the right horses it pays off immensely.
If you understand the concept of the Exacta and Trifecta, you understand the Superfecta: you just have to add another horse and find who will finish first, second, third and fourth. If winning the Kentucky Derby Exacta or trifecta was hard, you can imagine how hard the superfecta is… The good news is that you can place that bet with only a 10 cents basis on most betting sites. Meaning that you can add multiple horses or play multiple orders and each combination sosts you only 10cents. Still, you have to be ready to lose that bet because finding the top 4 order of finish on the Kentucky Derby is really difficult.
Where to watch the Kentucky Derby?
The Kentucky Derby is the biggest horse race in America and it is rightfully broadcast everywhere in the country and abroad.
You can watch the Kentucky Derby on NBC or on the internet, on the NBS Sports website.
The broadcast usually starts early in the afternoon as they cover some of the high-quality undercard, other high profile races run at Churchill Downs the same day.
Best bets on the Kentucky Derby
As previously mentioned, the Kentucky Derby gathers all the top three years old horses in America and in the world. It is therefore very difficult to separate them decisively and be certain of your bets.
Thankfully, this uncertainty translates into higher prices on the horses and if you do win your bets, they usually pay very well.
At the Kentucky Derby, it is better to keep bets simple. A Win/Place/Show bet on any horse can already offer good value and you have multiple ways of winning it. Try to find a horse other than the favorite however as his price is usually too low compared to his true value. The amateur betting public follows the favorite usually so there is often value in betting against him.
If you want to hit a big prize, try betting on the Kentucky Derby Exacta. You need to select the first and second finishers and it is pretty difficult to do but it can pay off a lot. Again, we advise to leave the favorite out of the bet. Most bettors will have him on the Exacta ticket so if he does not finish first or second (and the odds are that he won’t), the value is great on other combinations.
What horse to bet on at the Kentucky Derby?
This is the million-dollar question and thousands of bettors will be wondering the same thing.
A lot of luck is required to win the Kentucky Derby because of the field size and the race length. There are a few traits to look for in the horse however.
First of all, you need to bet on a horse who has some early speed and will be able to be in the leading group throughout the race. Horses who start slow will face a lot of traffic troubles and therefore are bad bets. It is very hard to overtake many horses without being blocked or impeded in some way.
Second, you need to find a horse with known or expected stamina. The Kentucky Derby is run on a mile and one quarter, which is longer than what most horses in the field will have ever done. Find a horse who has already won at one mile or more or find a horse with some stamina in his pedigree.
Third, pay attention to speed figures and class. Usually these two are separate elements to analyze but when picking a Kentucky Derby horse, we advise you look at them together. You want to find a horse who has run and won in high quality races such as the Florida Derby, the Blue Grass Stakes or the Fountain of Youth, and did it with a speed figure within 5 units of the best last speed figure. This ensures that the horse can perform in the best races and win in a decent time, which means that it was an honest win, not a lucky one.
Post position statistics for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
The Churchill Downs track tends to have a bit of track bias and being on the lead or near the lead is better. This is also why you should pick horses with some early speed at the Kentucky Derby.
You should try to select a horse who starts from one of the middle post positions. Post position statistics for the Kentucky Derby reveal that starting gates 5 to 15 win more often than the rest. Because of the field size, if you don’t have a lot of early speed and start from an inside position, you might end up being blocked all the way. If you start from way outside, you will probably run a longer race, being forced to the middle of the track on the turns.
Betting online on the Kentucky Derby
We have tested and reviewed dozens of online betting sites to find those with the best Kentucky Derby betting selection and overall quality. All the Kentucky Derby Betting Sites that we recommend on this website are fully licensed in the USA so you can rest assured that your deposits, and winnings, are secure.
Our reviews take into consideration many factors, some of which are general across all types of betting while others are focused on horse racing itself. Here is a list of some of the things our team researched when looking for the best places to bet on the Kentucky Derby.
These days, we tend to do so much on our phones that we rarely find ourselves in front of our PCs anymore. When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, the odds are that you will find yourself out at an event or in front of the TV, not in front of your computer, then you will be looking for a site from your phone. We look at all the mobile versions of sites, with an eye to speed and ease of making the bets. Extra credit is given to a site that has a native app for iOS or Android, but with the issues in the United States regarding online gambling, it is more likely that you will be using the browser-based version of a betting site.
Promotions and Pools
The Kentucky Derby is the kind of day that attracts new people to betting sites, so we want you to find the sites that are offering bonuses around the Kentucky Derby. Our recommended sites all offer a welcome bonus which allows you to place more bets or bet more money, risk free. The Kentucky Derby is so important for the betting industry that many sites will create special promotions or larger bonuses to attract new players. There is a lot of value in taking advantage of these offers.
Bet Types available
Many people won’t realize this, but the Kentucky Derby is actually the 12th horse race at Churchill Downs on that day. There are 11 preliminary races, and we want to recommend sites that offer odds on all the races. This not only allows you to bet all through the day but also lets you get into some of the more rare action like picking the winners of 6 races (the Pick 6) which tends to pay very well.
On the Kentucky Derby itself, we wanted to find sites which have all the regular betting options likes the Exact and Trifecta but also let you bet on the race at fixed odds in advance. This feature lets you lock in a price before the day of the race and if you are ready found of one horse, you can ensure that the price you get to bet on it is stable, and not influenced by the pari-mutuel.
We also want to make sure that sites you choose offer the most prop bets. Prop bets are bets that aren’t on the outcome of the race itself and have become very popular across many sports over the years. Examples of prop bets might be betting on the winning time, the lengths beaten, the color of the helmet worn by the winning jockey, etc. These are great bets for novice gamblers as they don’t require a lot of research or knowledge.
After reviewing all the criteria outlined above, we of course also take a look at other factors like payment options, site safety and security, and customer service when completing our reviews. Following our tests, we are ready to offer our ratings and recommendations and are convinced that the sites we selected are the best Kentucky Derby betting sites. On this page, you will find a list of the sites we feel are the best for players who are looking to bet on the Kentucky Derby. All of these sites come with our approval, which means we feel comfortable that you are going to have a pleasant gambling experience with whichever one you choose. Some of the names on this list are quite recognizable, while others you may be hearing for the first time.
Even though the sport of horse racing has seen better years, there is no doubt that the excitement around the spectacle of the Kentucky Derby will continue to prop up the industry for many years to come. This is not only one of the best sports days of the year, but also one of the best gambling days. The sites that do the best job of catering to players who want to bet on the Kentucky Derby are top-rated in our minds, and we hope that you find a great site from the list we have recommended on this page.