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How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

How To Bet On Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the most popular betting race in the United States. It’s pretty much the Super Bowl of horse racing.

The first leg of the Triple Crown is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, typically on the first Saturday in May. The Kentucky Derby is a race for three-year-old thoroughbreds at a distance of one and a quarter miles at Churchill Downs.

How To Sign Up At A Racebook To Bet On The Derby

Step 1: Select a Racebook
Choose the one you like best. Racebooks are betting sites you visit to wager on horse racing. Each and every betting site we champion is trustworthy, safe, secure and meets our standards. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t recommend them. There are many places to bet on the Kentucky Derby. Head over to our horse racing sites article to find the racebook that’s a fit for you!

Our Favorite Horse Betting Sites

Step 2: Sign Up
Registration is easy and only takes a couple of minutes. Provide your name, email address, deposit information and birthday to verify that you are legally permitted to gamble. Enter all relevant information and wait for a confirmation email or link. Have your deposit info nearby because as soon as the sign-up process is finished, you can make your first Kentucky Derby bet.

Step 3: Make a Deposit
How you choose to fund your account is entirely up to you. Gambling for real money at your preferred racebook entails deciding on a deposit option that makes sense for your needs. Almost all betting sites let you make deposits with your credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX), e-wallets (PayPal, Neteller, Skrill) and debit. Some online sports betting sites will accept cryptocurrency as a deposit method. You’ll typically find gambling sites that take Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash and Ethereum.

Step 4: Place Your Bet
Select the track of Churchill Downs. Select the race number of the Kentucky Derby. Select your horse. Select your wager type. Enter your dollar amount, and submit your bet slip. Now that you’re on the fast track, choose a racebook from our list and giddy up!

How Do Kentucky Derby Odds Work?

Bettors can view Kentucky Derby betting odds at Bodog. You’ll see odds on horses like this:

  • Charlatan +400
  • Tiz The Law +500
  • Nadal +600

The horse with the lowest odds is favored to win the Kentucky Derby and the rest are underdogs.

If you think Charlatan will win the Kentucky Derby and you bet $100 on that horse, you’d get a payout of $500. You get your $100 back plus your winnings of $400. Our Odds Calculator will show you how much you’d win based on the odds and amount bet.

There are no guarantees at the Kentucky Derby. The winning horse is not always the best horse, and in a field that consists of 20 horses at the Derby, a little luck goes a long way at increasing your chances of winning.

Kentucky Derby History: Betting Odds and Winners at Churchill Downs

YearWinnerTimeOddsTrack
2019Country House02:03.9365-1Sloppy
2018Justify02:04.203-1Sloppy
2017Always Dreaming02:03.599-2Wet
2016Nyquist02:01.315-2Fast
2015American Pharoah02:03.023-1Fast
2014California Chrome02:03.665-2Fast
2013Orb02:02.895-1Sloppy
2012I’ll Have Another02:01.8315-1Fast
2011Animal Kingdom02:02.0421-1Fast
2010Super Saver02:04.458-1Sloppy

The winner of the Kentucky Derby receives an estimated $1.86 million. Second place wins $600,000. Third receives $300,000. Fourth gets $150,000 and fifth collects $90,000. The winning jockey receives 10 percent of the winnings.

Kentucky Derby Betting: Types of Wagers and Bets

When it comes to wagering on the Kentucky Derby, there are many betting types you can make, and each one offers an exciting chance to win big.

We’ll provide you with betting tips on the most exciting two minutes in sports, and how you can wager on the Run for the Roses.

Straight Bet: Win, Place, Show

If you’re looking to bet on the Kentucky Derby but you don’t know where to start, win, place, show is ideal for beginners.

Win Betting
A win wager is as simple as it gets. You bet on the horse you think will win the Kentucky Derby. If you bet $100 on a horse that has +400 odds (4/1), you’ll win $400 if that horse races past the finish line before the other horses.

Place Betting
If you bet on a horse to place, your horse has to finish in first or second at the Kentucky Derby. This wager offers two different options for success, but your payout will be smaller than with win betting because there’s less risk involved.

Show Betting
Betting on a horse to show means your chosen horse has to finish in first, second or third place at the Kentucky Derby. Since the wager gives you three different ways to win, the payout will usually be less than a victory in place betting or win betting. As with place betting, there is even less risk involved with this kind of wager.

Across the Board
This is a bet in which the horse you selected must win, place and/or show at the Kentucky Derby. Like a parlay bet in other sports, this is more than one bet combined on a ticket. If your horse wins the Derby, you get win, place and show payoffs. If your horse comes in second at the Derby, you receive place and show payouts, and if your horse finishes in third at the Derby, you only get the show payout.

Horse Matchup Wagering

Betting matchups in horse racing are appealing to sports bettors, because they are used to deciding between two teams with a point spread instead of a field of 20 horses. Rather than handicapping the field of 20 horses and selecting a winner of the Kentucky Derby, a matchup involves two horses in the field, with a moneyline like that found in team sports.

Regardless of whether or not the horse wins the Derby, the bettor is only wagering on which horse will finish ahead of the other horse. Your horse could finish fifth at the Derby, but the other horse has to finish sixth or worse for you to win your bet.

The favorite might be listed at -115 and the underdog listed at +115. In this instance, a bettor would have to wager $115 for a $215 payout on the favorite, or the bettor could wager on the underdog by betting $100 for a $215 payout.

The Kentucky Derby Futures Wager

futures wager requires you to wager on a winner weeks or sometimes months before the Kentucky Derby takes place. Horseplayers can get their betting action down early, and at fixed and often generous odds.

With a futures wager, there are no refunds on scratches. If your horse fails to make it to the Derby, you can rip up your ticket before they open the gate.

Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 6 Betting

For a more advanced type of horse betting, give Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 6 racing wagers a go. The Kentucky Derby, Breeders’ Cup and other Triple Crown events provide ample opportunity to bet on the horses.

Similar to a parlay bet, this is a group of racing bets. A Pick 3 means you have to select the winner of three races in a row, while a Pick 4 means you have to predict four successive winners. A Pick 6 is for the more advanced bettor because you need to guess the outcome of six consecutive races.

Daily Double Wagering

For beginners, we recommend making a daily double bet. The stakes aren’t as high with this kind of bet because you only need to select the winner in two sequential races.

Exotic Wager: Exacta Bets

An exacta bet is a common Kentucky Derby wager that has you choose the top two horses of the Derby in the correct order. Also known as a perfecta bet, an exacta bet is a step up from your traditional win, place, show bet.

If a +1500 long shot wins the Kentucky Derby and the +200 favorite finishes second, the exacta might return $80. If the +200 favorite wins the Kentucky Derby and the +1500 long shot comes second, the exacta might return $45.

Trifecta Box Betting

For a more advanced type of Kentucky Derby betting, trifecta betting is a great starting point. Winning a trifecta bet means getting the three best horses in the Derby in the exact order.

This is a notch above exacta betting and comes with more risk, but you can make a larger profit if the horses you selected place in the correct order at the Derby.

A Superfecta predicts the first four horses in the correct order, and a Super High Five predicts the first five horses in the correct order. Special bets include a double on the Kentucky Oaks (Friday) and the Kentucky Derby (Saturday), where bettors try to predict the winner of both races.

Quinella Wagering

A quinella bet is like an exacta bet, only it doesn’t matter which order your two horses come in at the Derby. The payoff will be the same.