Most Common Prop Bets Made During the Kentucky Derby

April 14, 2023

The Kentucky Derby is the most exciting events in horse racing, drawing in thousands of spectators each year. But it’s not just the race that people come to see – it’s also the betting. And while traditional bets like win, place, and show are still popular, there are a variety of prop bets that have gained popularity in recent years. In this article, we’ll explore the most common prop bets made during the Kentucky Derby.

What is a Prop Bet?

Before we dive into the specific prop bets, it’s important to understand what a prop bet is. A prop bet, short for proposition bet, is a wager on something other than the outcome of a race. In the case of the Kentucky Derby, prop bets can be made on things like the color of the winning jockey’s silks or the time it takes to sing the national anthem.

Now that we have a basic understanding of prop bets let’s take a look at the most common ones made during the Kentucky Derby.

Mint Julep Count

The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, and it’s estimated that over 120,000 of them are consumed during the event. With such a beloved drink, it’s no surprise that there’s a prop bet related to it. Bettors can wager on how many mint juleps will be served during the race. The number is typically set by the sportsbook, and bettors can place their bets on whether they think the actual number will be over or under that amount.

Hat Contest Winner

The Kentucky Derby is known for its fashion, particularly the elaborate hats worn by both men and women. As such, there’s a prop bet on which hat will be named the winner of the annual hat contest. While this bet may seem like a long shot, it’s actually a popular one among bettors who attend the event in person and have the opportunity to survey the hats up close.

Fastest Winning Time

While the Kentucky Derby is always exciting, it’s even more thrilling when a horse sets a new record for the fastest winning time. Bettors can wager on whether or not the winning time will be faster or slower than the previous record, which was set in 1973 by Secretariat with a time of 1:59.40. While it’s unlikely that this record will be broken for the 2023 Kentucky Derby odds, it’s still a popular prop bet among bettors who enjoy taking risks.

Gender of the Winning Jockey

In the history of the Kentucky Derby, there have been only a handful of female jockeys who have competed. As such, many bettors like to wager on the gender of the winning jockey. While male jockeys have historically dominated the race, there’s always the chance that a female jockey could come out on top, making this prop bet one that’s both exciting and unpredictable.

Singing of the National Anthem

The singing of the national anthem is an important part of any major sporting event, and the Kentucky Derby is no exception. Bettors can place wagers on the length of time it will take to sing the national anthem, with the over/under typically set at two minutes. There are also prop bets on whether or not the singer will forget any of the words or hit a wrong note.

First Horse to Cross the Finish Line

While this may seem like a traditional bet, there’s a prop bet related to the first horse to cross the finish line. Specifically, bettors can wager on whether or not the first horse to cross the finish line will be the same horse that wins the race. This prop bet adds an extra layer of excitement to the race, as bettors can cheer on their chosen horse and hope that they cross the finish line first, even if they don’t ultimately win the race.

Triple Crown Winner

The Triple Crown is one of the most prestigious achievements in horse racing, awarded to a horse that wins three specific races: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. As such, many bettors like to place prop bets on whether or not a horse will go on to win the Triple Crown after winning the Kentucky Derby. This bet is particularly exciting when a horse wins the Kentucky Derby and then goes on to win the Preakness Stakes, as there’s a chance they could become the next Triple Crown winner.

Exacta and Trifecta Bets

While exacta and trifecta bets are technically traditional bets, they’re often considered prop bets due to their unique nature. In an exacta bet, bettors must correctly predict the horses that will finish first and second in the race. In a trifecta bet, they must predict the horses that will finish first, second, and third. These bets can be particularly challenging, as bettors must accurately predict multiple outcomes in order to win. However, they can also be very rewarding, with the potential for high payouts.


While traditional bets like win, place, and show are still popular, prop bets have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly during the Kentucky Derby. From predicting the number of mint juleps that will be served to wagering on the gender of the winning jockey, there are a variety of prop bets to choose from. Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a newcomer to the world of horse racing, prop bets can add an extra layer of excitement to an already thrilling event. So, the next time you watch the Kentucky Derby, consider placing a prop bet and see if you can predict the outcome.

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Jon Bercher @JBercher View testimonials