Full Betting Guide to the Kentucky Derby

March 21, 2023

Once again, the creme de la creme of the horseracing world is coming to Louisville Kentucky, ready for another spectacular event. Trainers, jockeys, and thoroughbreds are readying themselves for the annual Kentucky Derby to be held on the first Saturday of the month of May for the 149th time. In fact, Louisville is buzzing with excitement as the year’s greatest horseracing spectacle draws nearer and a new Kentucky Derby winning champion will be crowned.

Of course, there are bettors from all over the country who are backing their favorite horses hoping to get a cut of the winnings by predicting the various outcomes. With changes in legislation happening all the time, you might not be sure whether your state allows betting on the Kentucky Derby or any other race for that matter.

While keeping up with the local sports betting laws is in your best interest, it can be rather confusing at times. As things currently stand, most states have legalized some form of sports betting and host some of the top sportsbooks in the nation, others have pending active legislation while a small minority of states have no active legislation at all. Moreover, some of the states that have legalized online sports betting will not allow online bets on horse racing. Meaning that, placing an online bet on sports might be legal in your state, but at the same time placing that same online bet on horse racing might not.

But How Does Horse Betting Work in Kentucky?

In a word it is a pari-mutual system.

If you are lucky enough to attend the Kentucky Derby or just happen to be in the state, you might be surprised to learn that sports betting is illegal in Kentucky. However, that does not mean that you will not be able to place a wager on your favorite horse.

In Kentucky, betting on horseracing and more importantly, the Kentucky Derby is done via a pari-mutuel system where all bets are placed into a pool. Where this differs from other sorts is that bets are not placed at fixed odds but rather the payout is only agreed upon when the pool closes. Once the winner is determined, the house takes its cut, known as the takeout and the winners receive their split of the respective pools, of which there are several ans they are large in comparison with most racing days. Win, place, show, exactas, triples, superfectas, daily doubles, pick threes, pick fours, pick fives, and a pick 6 are all on the wagering menu with multi day wagers combining races from Kentucky Oaks day as well. It is a bettors delight.

The Kentucky Derby Futures wager is offered during the spring by Churchill Downs in the lead-up to the race. During this time, wagers can be placed on who the horses will be that will make it to the starting gate with 23 potential contenders and one bet of “All Others” making a 24th bet. Futures wagers almost always offer better payouts than when compared to race day wagers, making it a very attractive opportunity for most gamblers if they back one of the favorites to win. It can also be bet at sports books online in some states, overseas, and in Las Vegas. Sports books offer fixed odds, often higher than a pari-mutual system, and also offer more horses to choose from. Laws vary from state to state in the US so you have to see what your options are depending on your location. If you are in Kentucky, Churchill Downs and Twin Spires is the way you will want to go, and if you can get to the race, the experience is highly recommended.

Who Are the Top Contenders This Year?

At the top of the contender board is Forte with current odds of 3-1. Trained by Todd Pletcher, who has two previous Kentucky Derby wins under the belt, Forte had a 4 ½ lengths win at the Gulfstream Park Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 4.

Close on the heels of Forte is Tapit Trice who is also trained by Todd Pletcher at odds of 8-1 after winning the Tampa Bay Derby this past Saturday after a spectacular rally from last place. Tapit Trice went on to pass seven horses in the last eight of a mile to take victory with two lengths.

Instant Coffee, another division leader who is highly regarded runs Saturday in the Louisiana Derby. Will he still be a leader after the race? many feel he will and he hails from the powerful and seemingly loaded Brad Cox barn.

The UAE Derby has yet to produce a Kentucky Derby winner, and that race will be run April 1st. Can Meydan change their luck and finally have their premier three year old race produce a winner of the Run for the Roses?

The Florida Derby where we will most likely see the three year old division leader has produced three Kentucky Derby winners in the past 10 years, Always Dreaming, Nyquist and Orb. The Santa Anita Derby has also produced three derby winners in the pact decade, Authentic, Justify who also won The Triple Crown and California Chrome. This year they may just have an entry from Japan.

Another firm favorite is Practical Move at 12-1 based in California who claimed his second consecutive win on March 4 at San Anita after claiming the San Felipe Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths. Trainer Tim Yakteen has delivered a curious contender who according to the Brisnet Speed rating of up to 105.

Practical Move wins the San Felipe

What did San Felipe winning jockey have to say about Practical Move, find out here:

For bettors who are keen to get in on this year’s Futures betting on the Kentucky Derby can place bets in the sixth and final pool opening on March 30 and closing on April 1.

For the best Kentucky Derby seminar in the game check out the Past the Wire annual Kentucky Derby seminar HERE

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