The Kentucky Derby is THE horse racing event of the year. It’s been held since 1875, and this year’s event takes place at Churchill Downs on September 5, 2020. Betting on the Kentucky Derby sure is exciting. In fact, bets placed on the Kentucky Derby amount for more than half of ALL horse racing bets placed by Americans each year.
However, it’s so much more fun when you’re winning. And because I have years of experience betting on the Kentucky Derby and want to put one over on the bookmakers once again, I’m using this article to show YOU exactly how to bet on the Kentucky Derby – and win.
In this full guide, I’ll be taking a look at a few helpful stats, and I’ll also lay down my personal Kentucky Derby betting strategy that will help you get results.
Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites
Bovada is one of the best horse race betting sites, period. But it’s especially good for the Kentucky Derby because it offers so many specials, including some of the best odds around. And if you sign up right now, you’ll be entitled to the Racebook welcome bonus.
The horse racing rebate is just one of the promotions currently on offer at MyBookie. If one of your horses loses, you can claim as much as an 8% rebate. And if you sign up in time for the Kentucky Derby, you can grab a 50% welcome bonus. MyBookie is also known for offering competitive odds on Kentucky Derby.
BetOnline is one of the most experienced racebook in the U.S. At the moment, and there’s a 50% welcome bonus on the table to new players worth as much as $2,500. BetOnline also offers a 25% bonus for life on ALL deposits, which is especially handy if you’re planning to make a full day of the Kentucky Derby.
BetNow offers lots of racing betting options, and while it’s still a relatively new website, it’s got one of the best user interfaces I’ve seen. This will prove useful to bettors who are just signing up for the Kentucky Derby and want to dive straight into things. There’s also a 50% free bet worth as much as $250 on offer to new players and a 10% rebate on losing horses.
Helpful Stats & Facts For Betting On The Kentucky Derby
I always find that knowing a few interesting stats and facts can improve your chances of winning. Here are some about the Kentucky Derby:
- In 2016, a conservative betting strategy brought about the lowest ROI.
- Also, in 2015, long-shot bets reigned in a cool 26% ROI.
- Older people traditionally fare better when it comes to picking winners (so ask your grandparents for the advice!)
- In 32 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, the odds-on favorite has won 17 times.
- Only four jockeys have ever won the Kentucky Derby twice in succession.
The Most Popular Types of Kentucky Derby Bets
There are plenty of bet types you can place on the Kentucky Derby, and you must know exactly what’s involved each time you place a bet.
Here are the most popular types of Kentucky Derby bets:
- Win bet – This is the easiest bet to understand in horse racing betting. All you have to do is pick a horse you think will win the race.
- Place bet – If you’re a little unsure, you could go for a place bet. A place bet means you’ll win if your horse finishes in the top two.
- Show bet – If you’re really unsure, you could go for a show bet. With a show bet, you’ll win if your horse finishes first, second or third. The payout, however, won’t be as high as a win or a place bet.
- Single race exotic bet – With this one, you must correctly guess the exact finishing position of a few horses. Each time you add a few more horses to your selection, the harder things get. But the payoff increases, too.
- Exacta bet – For this one, you must correctly pick the top two finishers. For your bet to be a success, these two horses must be in the correct order. The exacta bet is popular with bettors who’ve mastered the win, place and show bets.
- Quinella bet – This is similar to the exacta bet, except the two horses don’t need to be in the exact order you specified.
- Trifecta bet – For this one, you must correctly guess the order of the top three finishers. The minimum stake is usually 50 cents.
- Superfecta bet – Fancy your chances of correctly guessing the top four finishers? Then the superfecta bet is for you.
- Super High 5 – If you think you have supernatural powers, you can go ahead and guess the top five finishers. The payoffs for this are absolutely huge, even if you just bet $1. For this reason, many people do a Super High 5 as a bit of fun for the Kentucky Derby.
- Multi-race exotics – These are also known as “horizontal bets.” To win, you need to correctly guess the winners of two (or sometimes more) consecutive races. They’re a lot of fun during the Kentucky Derby because they help you maintain interest (and create lots of excitement when you win the first one!).
- Pick 3 – If you fancy your chances of correctly guessing three winners on the spin, the Pick 3 bet might be for you.
- Pick 4 – This is exactly like Pick 3 bet, except you must now select FOUR consecutive winners.
Kentucky Derby Betting Strategy
So, we’ve taken a look at the different bet types. Now I want to share with you a Kentucky Derby betting strategy that I’ve personally used a fair few times in the past, and which has brought me considerable success. Please note, though, that past events do not guarantee future wins, and NO betting strategy is completely foolproof.
Go Deep With an Exotic
The thing with the Derby is that only one horse can win. While this, in theory, makes betting on just the one horse an attractive proposition, you’re on a bit of a hiding to nothing for a few reasons. Firstly, you might go for your favorite because it seems so obvious. But the problem is that the odds will be so short that the payoff will be poor. It hardly seems worth it.
Secondly, what if you put a pile of cash down on the favorite… but it comes up short?
My preference is to instead go deep with an exotic. Doing so ensures a seriously high payoff. For example, in 2019’s Derby, a $1 trifecta paid $140 if you correctly guessed the top three finishers. And guess what? Last year, the favorite won, and the remaining top four favorites took the second and third spots.
Making a trifecta bet means you can add several horses (you can place more than one trifecta, and the payout will still be HUGE if you get just one right). Figuring out who’ll come in the top 3, and in what order will take time, which is why it’s important to draw a picture of the race before it begins.
Top Tips For Betting On The Kentucky Derby
Do Your Homework and Look For Trends
Experienced bettors always look at past performances to judge how a race will pan out. Make sure to take a look at the top four favorites for this year’s Kentucky Derby to see how they’ve been faring lately. What sort of form are they showing coming into this?
Bet On Jockeys
A top trick is to bet on jockeys. Just like you’re going to take a look at a horse’s past performance, you absolutely must take a look at a jockey’s recent performance, too. When a jockey is in form, the best trainers want him on their horse.
Bet The Favorite To Place
If you think the favorite has a great chance of winning, but you want to hedge your bets because you’re slightly nervous, you could get it to place. This means that it has to finish first or second for your bet to come. You could also bet it to show, which means it has to finish in the top 3. Bear in mind that the payoff won’t be as great, though.
Relax and Have Fun
I won’t lie – winning big on the Kentucky Derby isn’t easy. But the whole point of this festival of horse racing is that you have fun. That must be your main priority.
So relax, take it easy, and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.
Common Betting Tools
To help make your life easier and give your bets a bit of an edge, it’s a good idea to use tools. Here are some of the most common betting tools that other bettors and I use:
- OddsChecker – OddsChecker is an odds comparison tool that lets you compare the odds on the Kentucky Derby that are offered by different sportsbooks. This helps to ensure that you get the best price possible.
- Bet Calculator – Bet Calculator helps you work out the odds on a complex bet (such as an exotic). It also comes in useful if you’re backing a horse and laying another.
- Google Sheets – Using a spreadsheet, such as Google Sheets, will help you analyze your bets and find patterns. That might not sound too useful for a one-off event like the Kentucky Derby, but you can use it to track the horses’ recent performances. This will help you to spot trends, understand the form, and pick a winner. You can also use it to record the Kentucky Derby odds.
Final Word On Betting On The 2020 Kentucky Derby
Thank you for reading my guide to betting on the Kentucky Derby. You’re now all set! Just make sure to never bet more than you can afford to lose and have as much fun as possible.
If you’re heading to Churchill Downs itself instead, have an ace time and leave a comment to let us know how you got on!