The Kentucky Derby will take place on May 4, 2024, and Kentucky Derby Vegas Odds are already out for intrepid bettors to take advantage of! The famous 1 1/4-mile contest under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs features the best three-year-old horses in the land, all competing for immortality and the chance to wear the garland of red roses in the special Kentucky Derby winner’s circle.
Throughout this guide, we’ll explain how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, we’ll highlight the best bookmakers, as well as provide tips on how to maximize the value of horse racing betting odds. Want to know where to bet on the Kentucky Derby? Keep reading.
The Vegas odds to win the Kentucky Derby in 2024 are now available and are subject to change. As the day of the event approaches, there will be movements in the markets, so keep checking back with this page for the latest info! The Kentucky Derby 2024 betting odds were last updated on September 8, 2023:
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The Kentucky Derby is the most iconic betting horse race in North America, and perhaps the world. Betting on the Kentucky Derby is a rich affair with the biggest pools in the country all year. Twenty of the best three-year-old thoroughbred horses head into the Churchill Downs starting gate every year on the first Saturday in May. When the gates spring at the Kentucky Derby post time, around 6 pm Eastern, a crowd of 150,000 or more roars in anticipation.
The Kentucky Derby, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, started in 1875. It’s the first leg of the Triple Crown and carries a purse of $3 million. The prestigious race is often called The Run for the Roses for the lush blanket of 554 roses draped over the winner. It is also known as the “Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” in reference to the time that it takes the winner to complete the race.
The race isn’t the only attraction at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. The event is also known for mint juleps (an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint, and sugar syrup), women wearing large, elaborate hats and a packed infield jammed with spectators who are hoping to be lucky to catch a glimpse of the action.
Kentucky Derby live Vegas odds are available closer to the race, and on race day you can find Kentucky Derby current odds via your favorite sportsbook. Make sure you know that being present at Churchill Downs isn’t the only online betting for the Kentucky Derby. There are many Kentucky Derby betting sites online such as Bovada, BetUS, or Betonline. We review the best online betting outfits here. These venues all offer good options for wagering on the historic race, and give you the best horse racing and sports betting odds all year long.
This is the best betting race of the year. Nearly $150 million is wagered on the Kentucky Derby itself. There are plenty of wagering opportunities and chances for big payouts. With 20 horses in the field, it’s unlikely to have a prohibitive favorite. Payoffs on the winners are often generous. In 2020, third choice Authentic won the race at 8-1, paying $18.80 to win. Since 2000 only six favorites have won. There have also been four winners at 50-1 or greater: Giacomo, Mine That Bird, Country House, and Rich Strike.
Superfecta payouts in the Kentucky Derby have varied from $542 in 2016 to over $550,000 in 2009. In 2022, Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby at 80-1, the second-longest price ever. In 2019, Country House won the Derby via disqualification at 65-1. In 2011, Animal Kingdom won at 20-1 in 2011. These kinds of tricky results in a 20-horse race make the Kentucky Derby the best betting race.
The Kentucky Derby wagering menu is as follows:
Win, place, or show: These are common bets to place on any horse race. A win bet is exactly that — pick the winner of the race. To cash a place ticket, your horse must finish first or second. To cash a show ticket, your horse must finish first, second, or third. The payoffs on winning tickets are based on a $2 bet. In 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby and eventually the Triple Crown. His odds were 3-2 on Derby Day, meaning a bettor made a $3 profit for every $2 bet on the superstar racehorse. For a $200 wager to win on Secretariat, the return was $500 ($200 bet plus $300 profit).
Exacta, trifecta, and superfecta: These betting options are called “exotics.” A bettor is attempting to pick the exact order of finish of multiple horses. In an exacta, you must pick the exact order of finish of the first two horses. In a trifecta, it’s the exact order of finish of the first three horses. With a superfecta, it’s the exact order of finish of the first four horses. The payoffs with these bets will often reach tens of thousands of dollars. These kinds of bets can be “boxed” so that you pay a little extra and the horses involved can finish in any order.
Daily double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6: A daily double is a bet where you have to pick the winner of two separate races. The Derby is often coupled with the race before or after it. Another popular bet is a daily double of the Kentucky Oaks (raced the day before the Derby) and the Derby itself, called the Derby/Oaks Double. A Pick 3 is a bet where you have the pick the winner of three consecutive races.
The best way to pick the Kentucky Derby winner is to first be aware of the up to date Kentucky Derby Vegas odds. The program for the Kentucky Derby will list the horses from 1 to 20 based on the post position draw earlier in the week, taking place on the Tuesday or Wednesday beforehand. At this draw, the Kentucky Derby morning line is established, as well as the Kentucky Derby field and post positions.
Besides each horse’s name in the program are the pedigree, owner, breeder, trainer, and jockey. The information also includes past performance charts and win/loss record. Some important angles to look for when trying to pick the winner of the Kentucky Derby include top jockey, top trainer, recent performances, post position, and track condition. The runner’s history on the track at Churchill Downs is also a consideration since the deep, dirt track is different from many other surfaces across the nation.
These are all important statistics, but a good percentage of the Derby is based on racing luck. With such a large field, it’s easy for the race not to go according to plan. Some racing fans will just stick with their lucky number or an appealing name.
Many Vegas sportsbooks also offer Kentucky Derby future wagering. Bettors can select their picks to win the Kentucky Derby months in advance and enjoy large payouts if they are correct. This is especially a good wager with a horse who breaks their maiden in January or February and hasn’t yet proven itself in stakes company, meaning they will have longer odds.
The favorite has won six of the last nine Kentucky Derbies, but don’t think the most popular pick in the race is automatically destined for the winner’s circle. The Derby has been run annually for 146 years. From 1979 to 2012, the favorite only won four times. That means that in 29 of those races, those wagering on the safe bet walked away with nothing.
One of the most anticipated events of the week of the Derby is the post position draw. Trainers and jockeys aren’t thrilled to draw the rail or outside 20 posts, but another spot is even more feared. The one post that has never had a winner since the race implemented the starting gate in 1930: the “dreaded” post number 17.
It’s always a good idea to consider who the top trainers and jockeys have in the race. The best trainers include Bob Baffert, who has won with his Kentucky Derby horses a record-tying six times including with American Pharoah, Todd Pletcher, and Doug O’Neill. Top-notch trainers such as Steve Asmussen, Brad Cox, and Chad Brown are still looking for their first Derby victories. The best riders include John Velazquez, Mike Smith, Javier Castellano, Julien Leparoux, and Florent Geroux.
It’s worth noting, that for bettors that are new to the game, take a look at sites offering a Kentucky Derby betting odds calculator to make life easier. While we cannot guarantee it will make the difference between a win and a loss, it will certainly help you to make the right Kentucky Derby bets in 2023.
To line up in the Kentucky Derby, a horse must qualify for the race through a series of prep races called the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The series features races starting with the two-year-olds and extend through the spring of the three-year-old season. The points are on a graduating scale depending on when the race is run and only the twenty horses with the most points earn a spot in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses. In 2020, 20 horses did not want a spot in the race, so the chase for points became a moot point for the first time since the point system began. However, 20 horses are expected again in 2023.
Major Kentucky Derby prep races include the Santa Anita Derby (G1) at Santa Anita, the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct, the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park, the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park, the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, and the Louisiana Derby (G2) at the Fair Grounds. The winners of these races are always able to get a spot in the Derby, while others who finish second or third rely on defections or points earned from other races.
Only the top 20 points holders get in, or less if a horse wants to make the trip from overseas. There are special Kentucky Derby prep races in the United Kingdom and Japan to encourage foreign participation. Japan’s Road to the Derby includes the Unicorn Stakes, Fukuryu, and Hyacinth Stakes. The United Kingdom’s Road to the Derby includes the Patton Stakes and the Vertex Futurity Trophy.
The points emphasis is on three-year-old racing, with even the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), the premier race for two-year-olds, getting only 20 points for the win.
The favorite for the Kentucky Derby in 2023 is Forte. Forte has only lost once, fairly early in his two-year-old season. Though champions and Breeders’ Cup winners do not always train on at age three, Forte clearly has. In two starts as a sophomore, he has gone on to win both the Fountain of Youth (G2) and the Florida Derby (G1) impressively. That includes closing from a seemingly impossible distance back in the Florida Derby, something that rarely happens at Gulfstream.
As good as Forte is, however, favorites don’t always win the race. When wagering on the Kentucky Derby, it makes sense to look at value horses and longshots who can get a good trip and potentially spoil the Run for the Roses at a good price.
One longer shot in the Las Vegas Kentucky Derby odds that you cannot ignore is Two Phil’s. He has the best last-out Beyer Speed Figure of any of the Kentucky Derby contenders. Bettors may shy away from him because that big race came on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Turfway and not the conventional dirt at a more traditional prep track. However, the winner last year prepared at Turfway.
Two Phil’s is also already a graded stakes winner at Churchill Downs, meaning he has proven he can handle the track. And, he is back training on conventional dirt at Hawthorne as he tunes up for Kentucky.
Other contenders to consider, who are going to be competitive at a price that is better than Forte’s, include Practical Move and Tapit Trice.
Practical Move has blossomed into a consistent two-turn horse on the perennially important southern California spur of the Kentucky Derby trail. He has won three straight Kentucky Derby points races, including a gritty score over Mandarin Hero and Skinner in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). With tactical speed and a female family deeply replete with classic stamina, it would be no surprise to see him thrive in Louisville.
Tapit Trice is another horse with excellent Classic stamina, being by Tapit (a four-time sire of Belmont winners) out of a two-turn stakes-quality mare. Tapit Trice was having trouble at the break in many of his early races, but he showed improvement in the Blue Grass at Keeneland. He broke from the inside in a large field, maneuvered out, and made a rock-solid run to beat Verifying. That is the kind of maturity that can mean success in the Run for the Roses.
The Kentucky Derby is traditionally run on the first Saturday in May. The 2023 Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday, May 6.
Just as it has been every year since 1875, the Kentucky Derby will be run at historic Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky.
The NBC group of networks will televise the Kentucky Derby. The race will air on NBC, and also stream via NBCSports and Peacock.
Rich Strike won the Kentucky Derby 2022.
20 horses can compete in the Kentucky Derby. Four horses can enter as also-eligible, though, they only run in the Kentucky Derby if one of the horses in the main field of 20 scratches before local betting begins at 9:00 am EDT on the day before the race.
Over 150,000 people often attend the Kentucky Derby. The record came in 2015, when 170,513 people saw Vegas odds favorite American Pharaoh defeat Firing Line and Dortmund. However, only 20,000 to 30,000 people was allowed to attend in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The winner of the Kentucky Derby gets $1.8 million out of a total purse of $3 million.
The other two Triple Crown races are the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. In 2021, the Preakness Stakes will be run Saturday, May 15 and the Belmont Stakes will be run Saturday, June 5.
The Kentucky Derby covers a mile and a quarter (10 furlongs, or 2012 meters).
As of now, Vegas odds show Forte as the Kentucky Derby favorite. Vegas odds change as prep races continue and horses train toward the first Saturday in May. So, keep your eye on those Vegas odds, and make sure to place your bet when you find value on a horse you like.
The power of internet brings home sportsbooks with the best Vegas odds. You can use any internet-connected device such as a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone to access these online sportsbooks and bet the Kentucky Derby from the comfort of home.
There are two ways to bet Las Vegas odds on the Kentucky Derby from a mobile device. One way is to open up the browser and visit the sportsbook website.
Many online sportsbooks also offer their own mobile apps. With a mobile app, bettors have one-tap access to Vegas odds on the Kentucky Derby.
There are so many online sportsbooks that choosing the best one for the Kentucky Derby can be a difficult decision. Our Las Vegas betting experts have reviewed the best online sportsbooks. Read their expert reviews of the top Vegas betting sites and learn which sites have the best Kentucky Derby bets, bonuses, features, and user interfaces.
Many online sportsbooks offer excellent promotions to bet the Kentucky Derby including deposit bonuses and rebates. Most racebooks offer a horse racing rebate between 7-15% of daily bet volume, paid out every single day on both winning and losing wagers.
Most sportsbooks do not yet offer live streaming of the Kentucky Derby, though bettors and companies alike are asking for it. However, worth checking sportsbooks closer to the time of the Kentucky Derby to check whether they have set up a streaming arrangement.
If the best sportsbook for you does not yet offer live streaming, you can stream the Kentucky Derby on Peacock or NBCSports, so you can watch while you bet on the race online
Online sportsbooks offer Vegas Odds on a full range of Kentucky Derby wagers. Bettors should learn about the horses and the bets, and choose wagers that they can bet confidently. Bettors should also take the time to choose the wagers and odds that provide right balance of payout and risk.
The following kinds of bets are popular on the Kentucky Derby:
1 – Win Bet
2 – Place Bet
3 – Show Bet
4 – Exacta
5 – Quinella
6 – Trifecta
7 – Superfecta
8 – Daily Double
9 – Oaks/Derby Double
10 – Pick 3
11 – Pick 4
Well, this depends on how big your betting wins are! But, seriously, for payment methods, we’d advise taking a look at our recommended providers for a broad range of payouts.
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