Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites in 2024

A Kentucky Derby field of 20 thoroughbreds will leave the gate on Saturday May 7th at Churchill Downs in the 146th “Run for the Roses,” in this year’s first race of the Triple Crown. Very few sporting events in the US have the popularity and history of the Kentucky Derby. The rich traditions of donning a special hat and sipping a mint julep are one of a kind.

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History and facts of the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the longest running sporting event in the US. The first Kentucky Derby took place on May 17, 1875 with Aristides winning the 1.5 mile race in a field of 15 thoroughbreds, watched by 10,000 racing fans. It was not until 1883, eight years after the first Kentucky Derby that the name “Churchill Downs” was first used as the home of the Kentucky Derby. 

The Kentucky Derby has had its changes during its 146-year history. In 1889, bookmakers pushed to have the pari-mutuel betting machines banned as they were taking away from the profits of the bookmakers. 

In 1894, a grandstand was built because of the increased number of spectators wanting to watch the race. In 1896, race officials believed the Derby was too long for a three-year-old thoroughbred in early spring and thus reduced it to 1 ¼ mile from 1 ½ miles. In 1904, the red rose became the Kentucky Derby official flower.

It was not until 1915 that a filly won the Kentucky Derby win Regret was victorious at Churchill Downs. In 1919, the Derby was won by Sir Barton, who also became the first winner of the Triple Crown. Over a 32-day span, Sir Barton was victorious in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Wither Stakes and Belmont Stakes. 

In 1925, the Kentucky Derby was broadcasted on radio for the first time with an estimated 6 million listeners and became the year that the famous phrase of “Run for the Roses,” began. In 1932, the Kentucky Derby was broadcast internationally, reaching the BBC and winner Burgoo King became the first winner of the race to be draped with red roses. 

The winning purse for the Kentucky Derby reached $100,000 in 1954. In 1968, Dancers Image became the first winner of the Derby to be disqualified after the race. 

In 1970, the first female jockey to ride in the Run for the Roses was Diane Crump. In 1995, the Kentucky Derby purse reached $1,000,000. In 2015, American Pharoah was the winner of the Derby and won the Triple Crown which broke a drought of over 30 years without a Triple Crown winner. 

Oliver Lewis and his horse Aristides won the first ever KentuckyDerby in 1875 in front of a crowd of 10,000 people.

How to bet on the “Run for the Roses”

To place a wager on the Kentucky Derby, bettors can go to their local track on the day of the event, visit an Off Track Betting (OTB) location or stay at home and bet from their computer or mobile device. Several online betting sites and apps are available for bettors. 

Bettors must register for the betting site or app and make an initial deposit through several different means such as using a debit or credit card, direct deposit, as well as other ways such as using PayPal if accepted by the betting app. Mobile betting has become very popular, with millions of race fans across the globe placing bets on their mobile apps. 

Types of Horse Racing Bets

There are several factors to take into consideration when placing a bet on the Kentucky Derby. First and foremost are the different types of bets that can be made. The standard wagers such as win/place/show have been around for many generations. If someone is looking to bet on a single horse then a “win” bet is made or if you make a “place” bet, you win if your horse wins or comes in second. The “show” bet is the easiest of all horse racing bets, as you win if your horse finishes first, second or third.

Exotic wagers include bets that involve two horses or more either with just a single race or across several races. These types of bets are harder to win than the win/place/show bets, which makes the payoffs more lucrative. Exotic wagers include single race bets or multi-race wagers.

Single-race exotic bets are sometimes referred to as vertical exotics and involve betting the order of finish in one race. The exacta bet wager is the most common of exotic bets and the bettor must pick the winner, place and show finishers in order. 

The quinella is not as common as other exotics wagers and not available at every track. The quinella is considered a simplified exacta; the top two finishers are necessary, but the order of finish is irrelevant. The trifecta is quite self-explanatory as you need the top three finishers in order to win the bet. The superfecta is picking the top four finishers in order, while the Super High 5 is when the top five finishers must be selected.  Multi-race exotics are also referred to as horizontal exotics. The Double is more commonly known as the Daily Double, which requires bettors to select wins in back-to-back races. The Pick 3 is when the winner of three consecutive races must be chosen, while the Pick 4 is when four straight winners must be chosen. This type of wager includes a Pick 5 and Pick 6 as well.

Strange Facts about the Derby

  • The smallest Kentucky Derby field was three in 1892.
  • There has yet to be a female jockey to win the Derby.
  • The first Kentucky Derby winner won $2,850, while the 2021 winner won $1.86 million.
  • Just three fillies (female horses) have won the Derby.
  • The most money wagered at the Derby was $165.5 million.

Betting on the Kentucky Derby 2024 FAQs

Here are some common questions about betting on the Kentucky Derby 2024.

Why is the Kentucky Derby also known as the “Run For the Roses?

The winner of the Kentucky Derby is draped with a blanket of more than 400 roses in the winner’s circle. The blanket of roses has a weight of approximately 40 lbs.

How much food is consumed at the Kentucky Derby?

On average spectators at the Kentucky Derby will consume over 142,000 hot dogs, 18,000 barbecue sandwiches, 32,000 shrimp, 30,000 cookies and 300,000 strawberries amongst other goodies.

What is the single largest wager on the Kentucky Derby?

Jim McIngvale, also known as “Mattress Mack.” placed the largest single wager in the Kentucky Derby in 2021 when he placed a $2.4 million wager on favorite Essential Quality and lost.

What do you consider when wagering on a horse?

Trying to place a bet on a field of 20 horses can be a difficult thing but 5 factors should be taken into consideration before placing a wager. The five factors include, odds, post position, running style, trainers and BRIS speed and late pace figures. Of course, other factors will come into play such as how a horse runs on a dry/fast track compared to a wet/slow track.

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