Kentucky Derby betting guide for 2022

Read our Kentucky Derby betting guide and learn how to wager on the legendary 'Run for the Roses'.
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Best bets
Betting tips
Kentucky Derby stats
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How Kentucky Derby odds work

If you've never bet on the ponies before, then it's unlikely you'll know how Kentucky Derby horse racing odds work. We can change that by taking you through an example of typical Kentucky Derby horse odds:

Secretariat
Secretariat
2.63
Seattle Slew
Seattle Slew
3.25
Old Rosebud
Old Rosebud
4.00
Justify
Justify
6.50
Citation
Citation
9.00
American Pharoah
American Pharoah
13.00
Count Fleet
Count Fleet
15.00
Affirmed
Affirmed
21.00

Here's a fictional Kentucky Derby line-up featuring eight great race winners. Secretariat – holding the record for being the fastest horse in the race's history – is the shortest price of the runners and so is the favourite.

An C$8 bet on him wins C$13. That is a total return of C$21. Seattle Slew is next in line as the favourite, while Affirmed is the outsider with the biggest price. To get a total return of C$21 on Affirmed if he wins, all you have to do is stake C$1. That would be C$20 of profit.

For this example, we've used decimal odds. Some British and Irish sportsbooks may use fractional prices, while US sportsbooks will most likely use moneyline (American). If you want to learn more about how expressing odds compare, see our odds calculator below:

Popular Kentucky Derby bets

Ever heard of 'quinella', 'exacta' or 'trifecta'? They're just some of the Kentucky Derby betting terms you need to be aware of. Now you understand how betting odds work, it's important to read up on the different bet types, listed below:

Win bet

Betting on the horses can be very simple. You can back the horse you think will cross the finish line first. If you were to stake C$100 on the favourite, Secretariat, your profit would be C$163.

Secretariat
Secretariat
2.63

Place bet

You can also bet on a horse to finish first or second. The odds won't be as long as an outright win, but you still get a return if your pick is the runner up.

Citation
Citation
3.25

Show bet

A show bet is for a horse to finish first, second or third. If the horse finishes within any of these positions, you win the bet. Again, the price won't be as attractive as a straight win, but then again, the risk of losing is lower.

Affirmed
Affirmed
6.00

Across the board

As the name suggests, this is a combination of bets – in this case, you're betting on a horse to Win, Place and Show. If the horse wins, then you get the winnings from all three bets.

Exacta

An exacta bet, also known as a perfecta bet, allows you to bet on two horses in the same race, and nominate one to win and the other to finish second in that exact order.

Secretariat
Secretariat
First
Justify
Justify
Second

Quinella

This is similar to an exacta bet, being two bets in one, except you don't have to specify the finishing order if you fancy two horses in the same race. Whichever order you put them in, your payout will be the same.

Secretariat
Secretariat
Justify
Justify

Trifecta

If you pick three horses out for a race, they can all go in one bet. A trifecta, often called a triactor in Canada, has a specific order to it.

Secretariat
Secretariat
First
Justify
Justify
Second
Old Rosebud
Old Rosebud
Third

Superfecta

Fancy a real challenge? Why not try and pick the first four horses past the post in the correct order? While this bet comes with much more risk, the rewards can be far greater.

Secretariat
Secretariat
First
Justify
Justify
Second
Old Rosebud
Old Rosebud
Third
American Pharoah
American Pharoah
Fourth

Futures betting

Odds and Kentucky Derby odds to win can open shortly after the running of the previous Derby. You're likely to get a much better price should you bet early, but there are risks attached. If your chosen horse doesn't make it to the track at Churchill Downs, then it loses!

Seattle Slew
Seattle Slew
8.00

OGCA's Kentucky Derby betting tips

Before placing your bets on the Run for the Roses, have a read through these simple Kentucky Derby tips:


1
Betting the favourite

While there are no guarantees with horse race betting, it's worth noting that before the pandemic, the post-time favourite had won the Kentucky Derby six years in a row from 2014 to 2019. While the odds aren't quite as enticing, betting the favourite in recent years has proven to have a high success rate.

2
Track surface does matter

Horses that run on turf don't always perform as well on dirt, so remember that when considering who to back for the Kentucky Derby.

3
Consider breeding

As it's a race for thoroughbreds and there may be precious little form to go on, a horse's breeding may give insight into their chances.

4
Check out the odds movement following the post draw

You'll find that there's often notable odds movement following the post draw, which usually takes place on the Tuesday before the race. This is because where a horse sits in the starting gate significantly impacts performance.

The best post position for delivering Derby winners is gate No. 10, while gate No. 17 is famously the worst, having yet to produce a winner.

5
Don't dismiss trends

Trends don't guarantee you'll pick the winner, but nor should they be ignored. There have been several trainers who have won the Kentucky Derby two or more times since 2010, as well as a few jockeys who've won multiple times since 2009.

Kentucky Derby stats & info

Kentucky Derby 2023 key info
  • Date of event: May 6, 2023
  • Time: 4pm ET, with Race Post time at 6.44pm ET
  • Location: Churchill Downs racetrack, Louisville, Kentucky, US
  • How to watch: NBC, NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app (iOS and Android devices)
Kentucky Derby format & rules
Kentucky Derby stats

Kentucky Derby previous winners

  • 2021
    Mandaloun
    Mandaloun
  • 2020
    Authentic
    Authentic
  • 2019
    Country House
    Country
    House
  • 2018
    Justify
    Justify
  • 2015
    American Pharoah
    American
    Pharoah
  • 1978
    Affirmed
    Affirmed
  • 1977
    Seattle Slew
    Seattle
    Slew
  • 1973
    Secretariat
    Secretariat
  • 1948
    Citation
    Citation
  • 1946
    Assault
    Assault
  • 1943
    Count Fleet
    Count
    Fleet
  • 1941
    Whirlaway
    Whirlaway
  • 1937
    War Admiral
    War
    Admiral
  • 1935
    Omaha
    Omaha
  • 1930
    Gallant Fox
    Gallant
    Fox
  • 1919
    Sir Barton
    Sir
    Barton

More on horse racing

FAQs

What is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. It's a dirt race over 10 furlongs at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The race usually lasts around two minutes, hence why it's become known as 'the most exciting two minutes in sports'.

This Grade 1 event is open to three-year-olds only and is the best-known horse race in North America.

When is the Kentucky Derby 2023?
How does Kentucky Derby betting work?
What are the most popular Kentucky Derby bet types?
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Which horse should I bet on?
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Is Kentucky Derby horse racing betting legal in Canada?

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