Looking to bet on the Kentucky Derby? We've got the ultimate guide of how to bet on Kentucky Derby horses.

How To Bet On Kentucky Derby: Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

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

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

The other two races in the Triple Crown circuit are the Belmont Stakes competition which takes place annually in Elmont, New York, and the Preakness Stakes held annually in Baltimore, Maryland.

Joe Fortenbaugh has shared his expertise on how to bet on Kentucky Deby horse racing.

Where Can I Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

Step 1: Select A Racebook

Your first step to winning some money at the Run for the Roses is choosing where to bet on the Kentucky Derby. Racebooks are betting sites you visit to bet on horse racing. Each of our recommended Kentucky Derby betting sites is trustworthy, safe, secure and meets our standards. Otherwise, we wouldn’t recommend them. 

Step 2: Sign Up

Registration is simple and only takes a few minutes. Enter your name, email address, deposit info and birthday to verify that you are of legal age to gamble. Enter all relevant info and wait for a confirmation email or link. Make sure your deposit info is close because as soon as the sign-up process is completed, you can make your first wager and find the best Kentucky Derby bets.

Step 3: Make A Deposit

Choosing how to fund your account is up to you. Gambling for real money at your favorite racebook means deciding on a deposit option that makes sense for you.

Pretty much every betting site allows you to make deposits with your credit cards (VisaMasterCardAMEX), e-wallets (PayPalNetellerSkrill) and debit. Certain online sports betting sites will take cryptocurrency. You’ll notice often that gambling sites also 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 bet type.

Enter your dollar amount and submit your bet slip. Now that you’re on the Kentucky Derby fast track, choose a racebook from our list and bet on the Kentucky Derby!

How Do Odds Work For The Kentucky Derby?

If you are still asking “How can I bet on Kentucky Derby?”, we break down all the different betting formats and how to read the odds below to help you out.

At your racebook, you’ll see odds on horses in the Kentucky Derby like this:

  • Forte +400
  • Tarpit Trice +600
  • Practical Move +800

The horse in the Kentucky Derby with the lowest odds is favored to win the race and the rest of the horses are underdogs at Churchill Downs.

If you think Forte 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, speed only gets you so far and a little luck goes a long way in increasing your chances of winning your bet.

Kentucky Derby History: Betting Odds And Winners At Churchill Downs

2022Rich Strike02:02.61+9900Fast
2019Country House02:03.93+6500Sloppy
2017Always Dreaming02:03.59+450Wet
2015American Pharoah02:03.02+300Fast
2014California Chrome02:03.66+250Fast
2012I’ll Have Another02:01.83+1500Fast
2011Animal Kingdom02:02.04+2100Fast
2010Super Saver02:04.45+800Sloppy

The winner of the Kentucky Derby wins 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 Bets

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

Our betting guide will provide you with betting tips on the most exciting two minutes in sports, and how to bet on the Kentucky Derby online or at Churchill Downs.

Straight Bet: Win, Place, Show

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

Win Betting

A win bet is really 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 in the Kentucky Derby.

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 with a place bet.

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 a show bet 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 a show bet.

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 Kentucky Derby bet combined on a ticket. If your horse wins the Kentucky Derby, you get win, place and show payoffs. If your horse comes in second at the Kentucky Derby, you receive place and show payouts, and if your horse finishes third at the Kentucky Derby, you only get the show payout.

Kentucky Derby Horse Matchup Wagering

Betting matchups in horse racing are appealing to sports bettors because they are accustomed to choosing between two teams with a point spread instead of a field of 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby. 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 the horse wins when betting on the Kentucky Derby, the bettor is only wagering on which horse will finish ahead of the other. Your horse could finish fifth at the Kentucky Derby, but the other horse only has to finish sixth or worse for you to win your bet.

The favorite to win the Kentucky Derby might be listed at -115 and the underdog listed at +115. In this instance, a bettor would have to bet $115 for a $215 payout on the favorite, or the bettor could bet on the underdog by betting $100 for a $215 payout. If you are trying to figure out how to bet on the race but only have information on a few horses in the Kentucky Derby, matchup wagering may be right for you.

The Kentucky Derby Futures Bet

futures wager requires you to bet on a winner weeks or sometimes months before the Kentucky Derby takes place. If you are trying to figure out how to bet on the Kentucky Derby well in advance, a futures bet will allow you to get Derby betting action down early, and at fixed and often generous odds.

With a futures wager, there are no refunds on scratches. If the horse you bet on fails to make it to the Kentucky 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 bets 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

For those researching how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, an exacta bet is a common bet. It has you choose the top two horses in the Kentucky 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.

Aside from the traditional exacta bet, you can also make an exacta box bet and an exacta key bet.

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 Kentucky Derby in the exact order.

Trifecta betting is a notch above exacta betting and comes with more risk, but you can make a larger profit on a trifecta bet if the horses in the Kentucky Derby you selected place in the correct order at the finish of the race.

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 (Kentucky Derby/Kentucky Oaks) on the Kentucky Oaks (Friday) and the Kentucky Derby (Saturday), where bettors try to predict the winner of both races.

Quinella Wagering

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

How To Bet On Kentucky Derby FAQ

Can I Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

Yes, you can bet on the Kentucky Derby. You can make straight bets such as win, place and show. You can wager on horse matchups, Kentucky Derby futures, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 6 betting. There’s also daily-double wagering, and exotic wagers like exacta bets, trifecta box betting and quinella wagering.

How Are Horses Picked For The Kentucky Derby?

Eligible three-year-old thoroughbreds compete in the Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series of prep races around the world, and win points for finishing in the top four spots. The 20 horses with the most points at the end of the series gain entry into the Kentucky Derby. Sometimes horses will scratch, giving another horse the opportunity to run.

How Long Is The Kentucky Derby?

In Horse Racing, the Kentucky Derby race distance is one and a quarter (1¼) miles or 10 furlongs. Originally, the Kentucky Derby race was one and a half (1½) miles long until 1896 when it was changed to its current length.

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