The Kentucky Derby, or the Run for the Roses, is one of America’s most exciting sports events. Second to the Super Bowl in the excitement that it creates, it’s all about mint juleps, large hats, and even larger horse wagers. It draws in around 155,000 spectators. It’s association with the roses comes from the blanket made out of the flower that’s draped over the winner of the race.
Called “the most exciting two minutes in sports” for how long it takes, the Kentucky Derby is the first race in the Triple Crown series. It takes place on the first Saturday of May at the Churchill Downs Racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a 1 ¼ mile dirt oval that’s considered quite tough.
We at BestUSSportsBetting.com have compiled a guide to horse betting’s most exciting event.
What you’ll find in the Kentucky Derby betting guide:
- Kentucky Derby Types of Bets
- Common Derby Betting Angles
- Kentucky Derby Betting Online
- How to Bet on Kentucky Derby
- How to Pick a Winner
Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites
Below are our recommended list of horse racing betting sites that take Kentucky Derby bets, among others. You’ll find some of the best odds and betting lines available to American bettors.
There are several types of bets offered on the Kentucky Derby. Once you get the hang of them, they can be fun and easy. Let’s start with the three most basic wagers you can place, more so for the beginners.
- Win Bets: this type of bet is about predicting who will come first. The horse must win the race in order for you to win the wager.
- Place Bets: here you’ll be betting on who will finish in the top two i.e. if your horse comes first or second.
- Show Bets: finally, this bet option is about picking who you think will finish in the top three positions i.e. they’ll come first, second, or third.
- The minimum amount you’ll have to bet to enter is $2
The win bet is going to give you the highest payout, if you win, because it’s the most difficult to predict and win. On the other hand, the show bet may be the easiest to win but will have the lowest payout of the three.
Once you’ve mastered the win-place-show bets, you can move on to the more complicated types of bets. Let’s look at the exacta bets.
This wager is harder to win than the previous bet but yields a higher payout.
- In this bet you have to pick a minimum of two horses to finish first and second. They must finish in the exact order that you picked them.
- If this sounds too difficult, you have the option of a boxed wager: your horses finish in first and second but in any order. This results in an increased chance of winning.
- The minimum for placing an exacta or exacta box bet is $2.
Then there’s the final type of bet you can place on the Kentucky Derby, the trifecta bet.
This one is the most difficult of all three, but also has the highest payout of all of them.
- Pick a minimum of three horses to finish in first, second, and third position in that exact order.
- Here, you also have the option to box the wager, which will mean your three horses can finish in any order but they must all be in the top three.
- The minimum for a trifecta bet is only 50 cents. While a trifecta box is $3.
Below we’ll briefly go over the top five betting angles you can analyse and handicap a race before placing your bets.
- The Trainer: this is the most important aspect of racing. Trainers have trained and conditioned the horse for racing. They’ll have their own style and tendencies. Study their stats just like you would the horse’s.
- Speed Figures: this allows you to quickly and easily decide who to consider has a shot at winning. An improvement in speed usually indicates an improvement in form. There are many figures to choose from. Pick one or two and stick with them.
- Surface Changes: usually horses are bred for dirt or turf and they rarely adapt to any given surface. If there’s a change in surface for the horse race, follow their workouts, and insights and quotes from their trainer. Most bettors avoid horses who’ve experienced surface changes.
- Jockey/Trainer Change: generally, try to follow the jockey, especially if they change horses before big races like the Kentucky Derby and others. They know the horses and trainers so they’ll want to go with the winning horse and make money.
- Lone Speed: finding a horse that likes to go to the lead can be a solid angle. If the horse has a tendency of leading at the quarter pole, this is a good sign as they tend to hold that lead and maintain its advantage.
Betting on the Kentucky Derby online is very simple and easy.
- Go to your favorite Kentucky Derby sports betting site like TwinSpires, for example.
- Register with the bookie.
- After you’ve received your confirmation email, login to your TwinSpires account and go to the deposit section.
- Select your preferred banking method and enter the amount you want to bet with.
- Go to the betting and place your bets.
- Follow the action live on the website or on a television broadcast.
See our guides on important US horse races:
If you’re a sucker for the old school and want to visit the track on the day, here’s a quick how-to for betting at the mutual teller:
- Have your money in hand so that when you get to the counter you’re ready to place your bet.
- Tell them the name of the track.
- Give them the race number you’re betting on.
- Tell them how much you are betting.
- State the type of bet you’re placing.
- Finally, give them the horse’s program number.
Take your betting ticket and keep it safe. If it’s a winning ticket, head to the teller with it to collect your winnings.
Finally, let’s look at how you can spot a winner at the race.
- Read the program: the daily program has all the information that’ll help you choose your favorite horse and make smarter bets. In the program, you get detailed information about each horse, its odds, race history, work-outs, jockey, and other statistical information.
- Listen to the experts: a good sportsbook that prides itself on horse racing will include a section of tips from experts in the industry. Find a few you can trust and use their guidance.
- Watch the Horses: certain factors about the horse’s physical appearance can tell you about how it’s doing.
– if their ears are pricked and its head is held high and confident, you can assume it’s ready to race;
– a shiny coat of hair indicates that it’s healthy;
– look for toned muscles around the rib cage and chest area;
– if the horse is too sweaty and too fidgety then it’s wasting too much energy before it even starts.
- Have fun: plenty of people have won a race at the Kentucky Derby through pure luck. Do you research but also remember to have fun!