All eyes will be on Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 6, for the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby! There is no better betting horse race than the Run for the Roses: the race draws 20 of the best three-year-olds to stretch out to 1 ¼ miles over the dirt. The purse is a huge $3 million, and the winner will have a place in horse racing history forever.
This is the place to find out the best bets in the 2023 Kentucky Derby and the best places to get Las Vegas Kentucky Derby odds online!
Betting the Kentucky Derby Online
Even before you bet the Kentucky Derby, you can set yourself up for the best profit by signing up for the best online sportsbooks. Our list of recommended sportsbooks is a great place to start. They all have trusted payouts and real Las Vegas odds on the Kentucky Derby all year long.
And our Las Vegas sportsbook reviews make it easy for you to choose the sportsbook with the right features and bonuses for your betting style. Take a few minutes now, and maximize your Kentucky Derby winnings with rebates and bonuses at these top betting sites.
This is the official field for the 2023 Kentucky Derby, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds:
Cyclone Mischief, Mandarin Hero, and King Russell will only draw in, in that order of priority, if horses scratch from the main field before 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, when Kentucky Derby betting begins.
Keep in mind that in such a big field as the Kentucky Derby, post position matters. The first few posts off the rail are a recipe for bad traffic. The far-outside post positions can lead to serious ground loss around the turns. Moderately inside to middle post positions, about No. 4 through No. 10, are often the most advantageous.
These are the Kentucky Derby odds at the leading online sportsbooks:
|Angel of Empire||+900||+1200||+900|
Forte has been the market leader all year long and should be the chalk on Derby day. His record backs that up; he is a juvenile champion who has trained on at three and won both of his preps smartly. The biggest drawback is the price; he is classy and consistent but does not loom so heavily over the field as to be valued as the favorite, especially given his off-pace style in a Derby without a lot of early gas.
Tapit Trice will likely be the second favorite; he is bred to run all day and is coming into good form at the right time to be a Derby contender. He broke better in the Blue Grass (G1) than he had been breaking previously and was able to angle out from the rail in a big field to get a clearer spot. That showed the kind of maturity you want to see in a Kentucky Derby horse.
Practical Move has been the leader of the West Coast three-year-old set, winning three straight points races into the Kentucky Derby. All of them have been at two turns, and though he only won by a nose in the Santa Anita Derby, he showed grit. He also has the tactical speed to carve out a good stalking trip in a Derby where that looks like the winning trip.
In a field where so many have a shot, this is a good year to play a live longshot who has shown maturity and can get a good trip, especially from an excellent middle post draw. Mage is that horse. Though he finished a length behind Forte in the Florida Derby, Mage had a rough break and was knocked off of his more natural forward style.
If Mage gets away better in the Run for the Roses, which is likely from post-8, he’ll be a factor all the way around. And, being by Good Magic out of the Big Brown mare Puca, he is bred for stamina top and bottom, so he should be able to get a good trip and finish the Derby strong.
Two Phil’s took his final prep on Tapeta and not dirt, but he isn’t a Tapeta-only horse. He was competitive against Derby prep types in Louisiana, and he is a Grade 3 winner at Churchill Downs. He does his best running late, but he does not have to be as far back as the deep closers, giving this improving horse a good jump on many of his contenders.
Speaking of pace, Derma Sotogake should be fast enough to set or be right on the pace. Though he has to turn the tables on a disappointing record for UAE Derby horses, horses from Japan have shined in major dirt races worldwide over the last two years or so, and dirt speed from Japan has shown that it can keep pace with dirt speed from the United States.
When picking a Kentucky Derby winner, it is worth considering recent history and trends. Though Rich Strike was an aberration in 2022, modern Kentucky Derby winners almost always win or finish second in their final prep race. The most important final preps include the Florida Derby (G1), Arkansas Derby (G1), and Santa Anita Derby (G1). The Louisiana Derby (G1) and the Blue Grass (G1) have also been more important lately.
The winner doesn’t have to be the betting favorite, but the betting favorite usually does well: in every year since the point system began in 2013, the favorite has found the superfecta. However, the favorite has not won in the last four years, meaning it is smart to go ahead and bet a price horse on top if you like them!
The Kentucky Derby Superfecta is a bet that usually pays off big. The Kentucky Derby handicapper selects the top four horses. That can be difficult in a twenty-horse field, but huge payoffs make it worth a large investment. Playing a box is more expensive than playing it straight, but it ensures you hit if the longshot you like spices up the payout.
A more cost-effective way is to play a key. Choose a horse you really like to hit the board, and then play a group of horses in the other positions. Don’t be afraid to use a long shot who did not win their final prep race; many long shots have recently moved forward to finish underneath.
To hit the Kentucky Derby trifecta, you select the top three horses. You can play it straight, or you can box them in order to win if they finish in any order.
In this instance, the Kentucky Derby handicapper is betting that shorter-priced Practical Move, who could do well but may not like the distance as much as others, won’t hit the board, but some logical longshots will.
In this Kentucky Derby trifecta key, the Kentucky Derby Handicapper allows for Practical Move to hit the board, but you get more bang for your buck by keying on Tapit Trice and including a few longer prices.
For 10 years, Rowan Ward has been handicapping and betting horses in Chicago. For almost as long, they has also been writing about horse racing. They are aware that the best handicapping approaches for a given race rely on a variety of variables, but they frequently discover that the proverb "the pace makes the race" can yield profitable betting opportunities. Local Chicago races, national stakes races, and two-year-old maiden races with intriguing pedigrees are some of their favorite events to handicap.