How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

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The Kentucky Derby is the standout horse race that takes place each and every year in the United States. Massive amounts of people watch and bet on the race. This Kentucky Derby betting guide walks you through a lot. This includes all the steps to learn how to bet on the Kentucky Derby for yourself.

how to bet on the kentucky derby
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What is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is a race that has been held every year in Louisville, Kentucky since 1875. It takes place at the Churchill Downs Racetrack and is usually run on the first Saturday in May. Due to novel circumstances, the 2020 Kentucky Derby will be running in September. 

It is an event for thoroughbreds exclusively. This Grade I race takes place over one and a quarter miles on the dirt track. Fillies carry 121 pounds, with geldings and colts carrying 126 pounds. The prize purse on offer is a massive $3 million, with the winner getting $1.86 million.

It is part of the prestigious Triple Crown of Races, along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. For the past 144 years, the Kentucky Derby has been running annually. It has been uninterrupted by the two World Wars and the Great Depression. 

The race usually attracts massive crowds to Churchill Downs every year. People come to see the great racing as well as enjoying the social occasion. It is also one of the most watched races every year in the country. Many millions of dollars in wagers are placed upon the race outcome. This makes it the perfect opportunity to learn how to bet on the Kentucky Derby online.

How to Bet on Horse Racing?

Are you looking to get in on the action and learn how to bet on the Kentucky Derby? Are you not familiar with how horse racing betting works? This guide will walk you through each step in a clear and concise manner. 

Choose a horse racing betting site

Your first step will be to find a quality horse racing betting site. This will allow you to start learning how to bet on the Kentucky Derby online. You will also know that your money is safe. There are countless different variables to look at as part of the selection process. 

You need to consider the extent of the different races and betting markets offered. Other variables include a welcome bonus, transaction methods, ease of use, mobile betting, loyalty programs, and live streaming

Two of the best racing betting operators in the online space today are TVG, Twinspires and BetAmerica. These are two leading sites that cater to all aspects of the racing experience. Here is a brief look at both of these operators:

There are also many other forms of reward available as time goes on. You will get access to Kentucky Derby online betting, with some of the best Kentucky Derby odds around. 

TVG Welcome Bonus Offer

Risk Free 1st Bet up to $300

The $300 Risk Free Bet is only open to new TVG account holders in TVG Participating States, age 21+ and 4NJBets account holders who are residents of New Jersey. Void where prohibited by law. To qualify for the Promotion, sign up for a new TVG account using any of the following promo codes: RISKFREE300 between 4/19/21 and 12/31/21.


TVG is a name that is associated with horse racing in the United States. It is one of the leading broadcasters for races in the world. This allows you to live stream all of the races that you have placed wagers on. The platform is very easy on the eye and is simple to navigate. You will waste no time to find the races you want to bet on. 

New signups will get a $300 risk-free bet, with countless promotions running each week for existing customers. There are useful track and betting guides for people to use as part of their betting process. You can’t go wrong with choosing this market leader as your preferred racing betting site. 

Sign up for an Online Account

Once you have decided on what racing betting operator you want to use, you can set up your account. This will normally only take a handful of minutes to complete. It entails entering relevant personal information, contact details and setting up a username and password. 

You will need to agree to the terms and conditions of the racing betting site and complete the verification process. This usually entails providing proof of ID (such as a driving license) and proof of address (a recent bank statement). Approval should be quick enough. After this, you will be ready to start placing your racing bets. 

Placing a Bet In-Person

If you are not using an online racebook when learning how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, you will have a slightly different experience. Simply go to the retail betting location and write down your betting selection and market. You can do this to place a bet on Kentucky Derby. You need to specify how much you are planning to bet. 

There may be self-serving kiosks where you can confirm and pay for this bet. Otherwise, you can go to the counter and deal directly with a teller. You will then get a bet slip back that you should keep, in case your bet is a winner. You will need to present it if you have to go collect your winnings.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

As you have your own racing betting account, you’re ready to start placing bets on a variety of races. There are a few standard types of bets that will be popular for horse racing.


This is the most straightforward type of racing bet. You are betting on the given horse to win the race. If it does not come in first place, you will lose your stake. Kentucky Derby futures are very popular, as this allows you to bet on the winner of the race weeks and months ahead of it. This is rather than waiting until the day of the race.


A place bet is a wager on a horse finishing in the top few positions of a race. The number of places offered as part of this bet will depend on how many horses are taking part. 

For smaller races, a place bet will only cover the horse finishing 1st or 2nd. For larger races, this could cover up to the top 5 or 6 places. If the horse wins, you still get the same amount as if the horse finished in second place.

Each Way

An each way bet combines a win and a place wager. If the horse you back is the winner, you will get paid out at the winning odds for half of your each way stake. You also get paid out for the place portion of the bet with half of your stake. If the horse does not win but places, you will get paid out for the place odds at half your stake. This is a good way of hedging your bets, particularly if the horse has good odds. 

If a horse is 4/1 to win a race and you bet $1 each way on it (1/4 odds), your total stake is $2 for an each way bet. If it wins, you will get a $1 return for the horse placing (1.4 odds of 4/1) and $4 for the horse winning, as well as getting your $2 stake back. If the horse places but doesn’t win, you will get $1 from the place bet and your $1 place portion of the stake back.


A parlay bet combines numerous selections into one bet. You need each of the selections to be a winner in order to win money from the bet in most cases. For a win parlay, you need all of the horses to win. You can also do each way parlays where you will earn some return if one of the horses places and the rest win for example. Parlay betting is popular as it gives bettors the chance to win massive sums off just a few dollars.


These are types of bets where you are aiming to predict the top few finishing positions in a race. Some of the popular types of vertical bets include exactas, quinellas, trifectas and superfectas. Some bets will see you having to accurately predict the exact lineup of the top three finishers in order. Others will see you win your bet if you simply correctly predict the horses that finish in the top three but not in any order. 

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

You have learned the ropes of horse racing betting and have signed up for a free betting account. Therefore, you will be ready to put what you have learned through researching how to bet on the Kentucky Derby to the test. It has been dubbed ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’ as it is such a spectacle.

If you are looking to pick out some potential Kentucky Derby horses as a winner, their current form is obviously going to be a big factor. You want to look for horses who have consistently performed well in strong fields. There are a number of major prep races for the Kentucky Derby. They will give you a good indicator as to what horses are to look out for. 

Naturally, with a race of this calibre the cream usually rises to the top. Therefore, you will not be prone to get too many surprises. The top half of the betting usually is a good indicator of the finishing positions. 

Surprisingly, last year there was a shock winner, with County House starting at odds of 65/1. However, this was most likely a once-off incident. If you are looking at these longer-priced horses, each way bets will be your friend. This is because a lot of betting sites have promotions for the race that pays out an extra place.

Other key areas for your Kentucky Derby betting strategy are course form, horse form over the particular weather conditions, jockey experience, trainer record and handicap weight.


Can you bet on the Kentucky Derby online?

Yes, you can bet on the Kentucky Derby online. The most popular operators players use to place bet on the Kentucky Derby are TVG, BetAmerica and Twinspires. Other options to place a bet on Kentucky Derby online includes Xpressbet, NYRA Bets and DRF.

What is the minimum bet at the Kentucky Derby?

This will depend on what type of bet you are looking to place and the operator you are using. Normally, you will be able to place a bet on the Kentucky Derby with a wager of as little as $0.10. 

How do you bet a trifecta?

A trifecta is when you aim to select the first three finishers in a race in the exact order. The first part of your selection needs to come in 1st place, your second selection in 2nd place, and your third selection in 3rd place. If you successfully do so, you will get your money. These types of bets are usually lucrative due to the high odds.

How do you bet on horses? 

You can use an online horse racing betting site to do so. The most basic types of horse racing bets are betting on what horse will be the winner. There is also a type of bet where you must choose what horse will finish in the top few positions come the end of the race. Having a Kentucky Derby betting strategy can be a lot of help.

There are a number of operators in this Kentucky Derby betting guide that you can use if you are looking for options on how you can bet on the Kentucky Derby online. You can also place a bet on Kentucky Derby through retail betting outlets.