Kentucky Derby Betting Guide 2021
September 5th 2021
Latest Kentucky Derby Odds
Check out the best Kentucky Derby odds from our top online betting sites for this year’s race. These are the top prices on who will win the Kentucky Derby 2020 at Churchill Downs:
History of the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is the longest running sporting event in the United States, dating back to 1875. Since then, the event has taken place every single year, even during both World War I and II. The first ever Derby attracted 10,000 spectators, while the most recent saw 150,000 fans watching at Churchill Downs.
The event has continued to grow with modern sport and has the numbers to show its success – in 2019 the peak global audience was 18.5 million. Much like any other sporting event to run for over a century, there have been many changes along the way. These include the shortened length from 1 ½ to ¼ miles in 1896, the first triple crown winner in 1919 and of course the inaugural draping of the red roses in 1932.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is a qualified event, with a total of 20 spots available. 18 of those are for North America (and the Middle East) and one each for European and Japanese horses.
The road to the Kentucky Derby has 34 qualifying races in the USA and a further 12 held worldwide. Points are awarded to horses finishing first, second, third and fourth in these Kentucky Derby preps with different values depending on the race type.
Kentucky Derby prep races really kick up a notch with the championship series. This is split into two legs starting in February with Grade 2 races including the Risen Star and Fountain of Youth Stakes.
The second leg beginning in March contains a number of regional derbies, including the Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby and Arkansas Derby. Some of these events are valuable Grade 1 races in their own right.
Kentucky Derby Betting Online
With $165,500,000 wagered on the Kentucky Derby last year, it remains a hugely popular betting event. Gambling is only legalized in certain states in the USA, however US bettors can enjoy online Derby betting in:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
If you want to find the best sites for online Derby betting, then check out our odds table to compare prices.
Kentucky Derby Betting Tips & Trends
There is more to go at on online betting sites than just the Kentucky Derby winner. If you find a horse that you fancy to be in the first two or three, then why not back it to place or show?
Other popular horse racing wagers you could place on the Kentucky Derby are exactas and trifectas. Here you bet on two or three horses to finish first and second, or first, second and third in a specific order all in the big race.
In 2019, Maximum Security was disqualified for interference 22 minutes after the race ended, making outsider Country House victorious. This shock won a lucky bettor $78,000 from two identical $8 superfecta bets
In a race as competitive as the Kentucky Derby, there is no substitute for knowing the form of all the main contenders. Most horses running won’t have much experience, or be proven over the distance, so you are gambling on their potential.
With that in mind, here are our top bets to make on this year’s Kentucky Derby:
Six out of the last seven Kentucky Derby winners have been the pre-race favourite. The odd one out was Maximum Security, who did actually win the race in 2019 but was controversially disqualified. If this isn’t a trend to follow, we’re not sure what is.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Authentic has been dominant in the lead up to the Derby, winning the San Felipe Stakes, Sham Stakes and MSW. Rightly priced as the favourite at around 6/1, there is definitely value in this colt to win.
There are so many trends surrounding starting positions at the Derby, but which ones do you take notice of? Here are some of our tops trends to look out for:
- × Gate 1: Notoriously the worst starting position – can be easily blocked before first turn.
- × Gates 3 & 15-20: Outsiders have struggled since the turn of the century and position 3 has failed to capture the successes of the 70s & 80s.
- ✓ Gates 2 & 10: These two positions have the highest place percentage of all 20, with just under 30% finishing in the money.
- ✓ Gate 5: The most successful gate with 10 wins in history. Also, horses here have placed 4 times in the past 5 years.
- ✓ Gates 7 & 8: These are both solid backups if your picks don’t matchup to the above. Before disqualification last year, Maximum Security lined up in gate 7.
The Kentucky Derby Post-Position Draw is at April 28th. Check back then for our picks
While the horses are inexperienced, their jockeys and trainers aren't. Bob Baffert has trained two triple crown winners with American Pharaoh in 2015 and Justify in 2018. He is simply one of the sports’ elite trainers and will have at least three runners on May 2nd.
We’ve already backed Baffert’s Authentic to deliver on the short favourite odds but it’s the equally as impressive Thousand Words who will offer more value. This colt won either side of new year and pushed a place at San Felipe Stakes in March. Floating at 25/1, E/W on Thousand Words is one we’re really excited for.
Triple Crown Betting
The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horse Racing. It is a rare but not impossible feat for a three-year-old to win at Churchill Downs, then in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland.
After that, the third and final Triple Crown event is the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on the edge of New York City. There are usually five or six weeks from the Kentucky Derby to the Belmont Stakes with the Preakness about halfway in between.
To date, 13 horses have won the Triple Crown and currently the odds are around 8/1 for there to be another in 2020. Futures betting is available on a racehorse following in the hoofprints of these famous equine athletes. If you like what you see from a Kentucky Derby winner, then you can wager on them completing the Triple Crown before or after Churchill Downs.