Kentucky Derby Betting – Guide with Current Odds and Best Bets

• Horse racing
• Racing
• Sports Betting

How To Bet on The Kentucky Derby: Introduction

Kentucky Derby betting is one of America’s favorite pastimes because this is the most famous horse racing event, dubbed the “two most exciting minutes in sports”. One might say it’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl for The Sport of Kings.

On the first Saturday of May each year, under the historic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs, a field of 20 of the most promising three-year-olds in racing line up for the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Records for betting, live attendance, and Derby telecast viewership are broken year after year. You can bet it is truly one the greatest spectacles in all of sports, literally.

Over $150 million are wagered on this mega event in each of its last editions. That is a lot of cash changing hands in just over two minutes. This step-by-step Kentucky Derby betting guide on how to bet on the big race will assist you in bringing home your share of the winnings. Keep reading and you will learn how to wager on this race with some useful information on favorites and contenders for the prize.

There will also be a special section for the racebooks that offer the most appealing Kentucky Derby odds and explanation on how to read them and use them to your advantage. The current lines and the ones for the eventual winners before last years’ races will be made available as well. If you’re looking for picks and predictions, we’ll also give you ours.

Learn all about Kentucky Derby betting and how to read Kentucky Derby odds via the complete guide by How To Bet’s experts

Current Odds on Kentucky Derby

Naturally, after finding the racebook you want to place your wagers on the event with, the next step is to look at the current odds on Kentucky Derby. We at How To Bet have got you covered. Here are the latest betting lines on the favorites, contenders, and underdogs, presented by the official partner of this super horse racing event – TwinSpires. Our team will update them regularly so that you see the latest Kentucky Derby odds possible.

Horse NameML OddsPost PositionTrainerJockey
Zandon3-110Chad BrownFlavien Prat
Epicenter7-23Steven M. AsmussenJoel Rosario
Messier8-16Tim YakteenJohn Velazquez
Mo Donegal10-11Todd PletcherIrad Ortiz Jr.
White Abarrio10-115Saffie Joseph, Jr.Tyler Gaffalione
Taiba12-112Tim YakteenMike Smith
Smile Happy20-15Kenneth G. McPeekCorey Lanerie
Crown Pride20-17Koichi ShintaniChristophe Lemaire
Charge It20-18Todd PletcherLuis Saez
Simplification20-113Antonio SanoJose Ortiz
Cyberknife20-116Brad CoxFlorent Geroux
Zozos20-119Brad CoxManny Franco
Happy Jack30-12Doug O’NeillRafael Bejarano
Summer Is Tomorrow30-14Bhupat SeemarMickael Barzalona
Tiz the Bomb30-19Kenny McPeekBrian Hernandez Jr.
Pioneer of Medina30-111Todd PletcherJoe Bravo
Barber Road30-114John OrtizReylu Gutierrez
Classic Causeway30-117Brian LynchJulien Leparoux
Tawny Port30-118Brad CoxRicardo Santana Jr.
Ethereal Road30-120D. Wayne LukasLuis Contreras
Rich Strike30-121Eric ReedSonny Leon
Rattle N Roll30-122Kenny McPeekJames Graham

*Current Kentucky Derby odds are taken from the official racebook TwinSpires and were last updated on May 4, 2022.

Kentucky Derby Odds Before the 2021 Race

After seeing the latest Kentucky Derby 2022 odds, let’s show you the ones before last year’s race. As you will see for yourselves, four out of the Top 5 horses had morning line odds of 50-1, but the winner’s (Known Agenda) were pretty short at 6-1. Most of the time, favorites tend to win in Churchill Downs, as the next table after this one will show you. But first, take a look at the odds before last year’s event.

PostHorseML OddsRTKD PointsTrainerJockey
1Known Agenda6-1102Todd PletcherIrad Ortiz Jr.
2Like the King50-1104Wesley WardDrayden Van Dyke
3Brooklyn Strong50-110Daniel VelazquezUmberto Rispoli
4Keepmeinmind50-118Robertino DiodoroDavid Cohen
5Sainthood50-145Todd PletcherCorey Lanerie
6O Besos20-125Greg FoleyMarcellino Pedroza
7Mandaloun15-152Brad CoxFlorent Geroux
8Medina Spirit15-174Bob BaffertJohn Velazquez
9Hot Rod Charlie8-1110Doug O'NeillFlavien Prat
10Midnight Bourbon20-166Steve AsmussenMike Smith
11Dynamic One20-140Todd PletcherJose Ortiz
12Helium50-150Mark CasseJulien Leparoux
13Hidden Stash50-132Vicki OliverRafael Bejarano
14Essential Quality2-1140Brad CoxLuis Saez
15Rock Your World5-1100John SadlerJoel Rosario
16King Fury20-120Kenny McPeekBrian Hernandez, Jr.
17Highly Motivated10-150Chad BrownJavier Castellano
18Super Stock30-1109Steve AsmussenRicardo Santana, Jr.
19Soup and Sandwich30-140Mark CasseTyler Gaffalione
20Bourbonic30-1100Todd PletcherKendrick Carmouche

Before-the-Race Kentucky Derby Odds Since 2000

In the previous section we’ve mentioned that favorites tend to win at Churchill Downs. Since 2000, there have been 13 horses with odds of up to 8-1 to finish first, mostly on a fast track, and in 4 more cases we’ve had winners with odds of up to 15-1. Underdogs like Country House (65-1, 2019), Mine That Bird (51-1, 2009), and Giacomo (50-1, 2005) happen to triumph on rare occasions, mostly on a sloppy track. So, when betting on the Kentucky Derby, keep that in mind.

YearWinnerOddsTimeTrackFinal PrepTrainerJockey
2021Medina Spirit / Mandaloun*15-1 / 15-12:01.36FastSanta Anita Derby (Won)Bob Baffert / Brad CoxJohn Velazquez / Florent Geroux
2020Authentic8-12:00.61FastHaskell Stakes (Won)Bob BaffertJohn Velazquez
2019Country House65-12:03.93SloppyArkansas Derby (3rd)Bill MottFlavien Prat
2018Justify**3-12:04.20SloppySanta Anita Derby (Won)Bob BaffertMike Smith
2017Always Dreaming9-22:03.59WetFlorida Derby (Won)Todd PletcherJohn Velazquez
2016Nyquist5-22:01.31FastFlorida Derby (Won)Doug O’NeillMario Gutierrez
2015American Pharoah**3-12:03.02FastArkansas Derby (3rd)Bob BaffertVictor Espinoza
2014California Chrome5-22:03.66FastSanta Anita Derby (Won)Art ShermanVictor Espinoza
2013Orb5-12:02.89SloppyFlorida Derby (Won)Shug McGaugheyJoel Rosario
2012I’ll Have Another15-12:01.83FastSanta Anita Derby (Won)Doug O’NeillMario Gutierrez
2011Animal Kingdom21-12:02.04FastN/AH. Graham MotionJohn Velazquez
2010Super Saver8-12:04.45SloppyN/ATodd PletcherCalvin Borel
2009Mine That Bird51-12:02.66SloppyN/ABennie Woolley Jr.Calvin Borel
2008Big Brown7-22:01.82FastN/ARichard Dutrow, Jr.Kent Desormeaux
2007Street Sense9-22:02.17FastN/ACarl NafzgerCalvin Borel
2006Barbaro6-12:01.36FastN/AMichael MatzEdgar Prado
2005Giacomo50-12:02.75FastN/AJohn ShirreffsMike Smith
2004Smarty Jones4-12:04.06SloppyN/AJohn ServisStewart Elliott
2003Funny Cide12-12:01.19FastN/ABarclay TaggJosé Santos
2002War Emblem20-12:01.13FastN/ABob BaffertVictor Espinoza
2001Monarchos10-11:59.97FastN/AJohn T. Ward, Jr.Jorge Chavez
2000Fusaichi Pegasus2-12:01.12FastN/ANeil D. DrysdaleKent Desormeaux

*Medina Spirit was disqualified for failing a postrace drug test and Mandaloun was declared the winner. Bettors who backed Mandaloun could not cash their tickets though, because the order of the finish was previously declared “official”. Both horses had the same Kentucky Derby odds (15-1) before the race.

** Triple Crown Winner

Types of Kentucky Derby Bets

Learn all about Kentucky Derby betting types and how to wager on each of them

If you are wondering what types of Kentucky Derby bets you can try this year, it is good to know there are nearly countless ways to wager on the race, regardless of your bankroll and your risk tolerance.

For those of you looking for a low risk bet, a simple win or place wager might be in order. If you are looking to make a big score, betting on the Kentucky Derby offers that as well.

Here are the main wagers offered at Churchill Downs. Check them and then you will know much more about how to bet on horses.


If you wager $2 to Win on your horse, you collect only if it finishes first. A $2 win wager on the 2021 winner Medina Spirit returned $26.20.


If you wager $2 to Place, your horse must finish first or second for you to collect. But remember, you don’t get the Win payoff, just the Place payoff, which is generally smaller than the win one. Medina Spirit paid $12.00 to place in 2021.


If you wager $2 to Show, your horse must finish first, second, or third. Remember though that you only collect the Show payoff, because three different horses get paid off. Medina Spirit returned $7.60 to show while 25-1 longshot Mandaloun paid $13.40, and third place finisher Hot Rod Charlie paid $5.20.


The Exacta involves selecting the top two finishers in the race in exact order. A common way to play an Exacta would be a $2 Exacta box. If you liked the #1 and #2 horses, a $2 Exacta box would cost $4. If those two horses ran first and second in either order, you win. In 2021 the Medina Spirit-Mandaloun exacta paid $503.60. Over the last 22 years, the average exacta has returned $935. The high was $3,010 in 2019 and the low was $31 in 2016.


This is not one of the popular types of wagers and you won’t see it at every track. It gives you a bit of breathing space though, as you have to select the top two finishers, but not in the exact order.


Hitting a Trifecta gets a bit harder as it involves correctly selecting the top three finishers in exact order, no easy task in a 20-horse field. The average $1 payoff for a trifecta dating back two decades is $6,686. While boxing three horses in the trifecta for $1 is just $6, it gets pricier as you add more horses. A $1 trifecta box using five horses costs $60.

It is generally better to key one or two horses (the contenders you have the strongest opinions on) in the top spot and spread in the second and third spots. For example here are a few ways to get good coverage with modest investments on a $1 increment:

1,2 with 1,2,3 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $16

1,2 with 1,2,3,4 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $24

1,2,3 with 1,2,3,4 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $36

There is good news for bettors with smaller bankrolls. Most tracks, including Churchill Downs, lowered the increment on trifectas from $1 to $0.50 in the past few years, meaning you can spread more and cover more horses you think have a shot of landing in the money.


The Superfecta gets even harder, as you must correctly select the top four finishers in the race. Most tracks have lowered the Superfecta bet increment to $0.10, including the 2020 Kentucky Derby. However, Churchill Downs raised it back up to $1 for the 2021 running.

The Superfecta can lead to a huge score in the Kentucky Derby, as the $1 return over the last 22 years has averaged $64,615 with a high of $432,127 in 2005 when longshot Giacomo pulled off the big upset. We have seen a few small Superfectas in recent years with favorites winning. Nyquist topped a $542 payoff in 2016 and with American Pharoah on top paying $634 in 2015, but overall expect to see a big payoff if you are able to solve this puzzle. 

Other Exotic Wagers

There are countless other wagers on Kentucky Derby Day including horizontal wagers like the Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 wagers that include the Kentucky Derby and other races on the card. There are daily doubles, wagers involving races combining Oaks Day and Derby Day and even a Super High Five which involves selecting the top five finishers of the Derby. The $1 payoff in the 2021 Super High Five was $296,769.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager

Did you know you can wager on the winner months in advance? Churchill Downs hosts five separate Kentucky Derby Future Pools, starting in November where horseplayers can get an early bet on who they think will cross the finish line first.

The pools are limited to 23 separate Kentucky Derby betting interests and a 24th is “All Others”, which consists of every other Triple Crown nominated horse. “All Others” was the betting favorite in the first three pools in 2021. By the time Pool 4 came around in March, bettors had a pretty good idea of the top contenders and “All Others” drifted up to 7-1, while Life Is Good was bet down to 2-1. Medina Spirit, the eventual winner (before being disqualified), was 39-1 in Pool 4.

The last Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool closed on March 28, with five major Derby preps still to be run. Essential Quality was the favorite at 4-1 while Medina Spirit closed at 13-1.

Value can be occasionally found in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, but you have to remember there are no refunds if your selection does not make it to Louisville on the first Saturday of May. Just weeks after Life Is Good was bet down to the favorite in Pool 4, the colt suffered an injury that knocked him off the Kentucky Derby trail, leaving his backers with worthless tickets.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby Online

Learn how to do your Kentucky Derby betting online with the racebook of your choice

If you are not heading out to the track to wager on the event, doing your Kentucky Derby betting online is the best way.

It is a good idea to sign up with an online racebook in advance of the big race and there are plenty of incentives waiting for you. New players can get a generous sign-up bonus, player rewards, free past performances, and more at the top rated legal racebooks in the US. See the steps below and go win some money online.

  1. Sign up with the racebook(s) of your choice – Don’t forget to take advantage of the best bonus & promo offers.
  2. Fund your new account – Pick the deposit method offered that suits your preference best. Our advice is to register and deposit in the days prior to the mega event.
  3. Look around the web for high quality Kentucky Derby picks, predictions, and statistics – Keep yourself updated with the latest news from trusted sources too.
  4. Pick your Kentucky Derby best bets and place them! – Hopefully, you’ll succeed and be able to withdraw your winnings.

If you want to pick your racebook now, here are some of the top rated ones. Remember that the more you join, the more bonuses and promotions you could take advantage of, and line shopping will bring you more opportunities to find optimal value for your Kentucky Derby bets.

Where to Bet on the Kentucky Derby


The official platform for Kentucky Derby betting, TwinSpires is one of the most popular racebooks in the US. In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, this company offers free past performances and handicapping resources, and also live streaming of the races and instant replays on their platform. TwinSpires is known for its VIP Elite program with great player rewards too. This operator is giving you enormous flexibility to wager from many different sources: web, nobile, tablet, app, and phone line. TwinSpires is 100% safe and secure, as it is licensed and legal to bet with.

All in all, this is the most recognised and trusted brand in the horse racing betting world.


TVG is offering a $300 Risk Free wager for new players and has a wide array of player rewards, including money back specials and wagering insurance. Their betting platform is one of the best in the business. Their television network is available on DirecTV and Dish Network, and can be streamed for free using the Roku or Firestick app.


AmWager boasts of an advanced wagering platform that is up to 60 times faster than its competitors. There is free streaming of the races online and up to a $500 sign up bonus. There are no minimum play requirements to earn cash rewards and they are deposited directly into your account daily.

DRF Bets

DRF – Daily Racing Form – has its horse racing wagering product DRF Bets, which is an absolute must for every US bettor. This is a result of the tradition of more than a century of excellent info & advice service for bettors (PPs, entries, results), the huge number of betting tracks and markets, and the generous sign up bonus (a $10 free bet plus $250 first-deposit match). DRF Bets is 100% trustworthy, so there’s absolutely no reason to delay registering and benefitting from the fantastic odds and promotions.

How to Make Your Kentucky Derby Predictions

Learn how to make your Kentucky Derby picks and predictions for more successful bets

So now you have been introduced to the current and past Kentucky Derby odds, and also to the main types of bets you may make on the Run for the Roses. By now, you should know how to set up an online account and wager on the race as well, plus the top online racebooks available.

All you have to do now is pick the winner in one of the biggest events in terms of online gambling USA can offer, right? Here are a few things to ponder for your successful Kentucky Derby betting.

Why Betting on the Kentucky Derby Favorites Works

In a large and competitive field you would think the betting favorite would be up against it, but the Kentucky Derby betting favorite actually won six straight years from 2013 to 2018. In the last 22 years the odds leader has seen the inside of the winner’s circle 10 times. However, from 1980 to 1999 the favorite came up short 20 years in a row.

There are objective reasons why the most coveted horses win the Run for the Roses. 

1. Since Churchill Downs went from graded stakes earnings to a points system in 2013, the top 20-point leaders qualify, which flushes selection randomness down the toilet. As a result, the races have been run truer to form. Most winners now are either in the first pack early, or just behind it.

2. Only horses proven at long distances get to enter the Derby and those specialized in sprints don’t get to participate.

3. The Kentucky Derby betting public has become much more prepared with bigger access to advanced statistics, speed figures, and replays. This helps separate the real favorites from the fugazi. Also, the public has an unprecedented stream of Kentucky Derby picks and predictions from journalists and horse racing and betting experts.

The downside

It all comes with a downside though. Despite the favorite winning six years in a row, the average exacta payoff during that span came in at $305.33. So picking the favorite may bring you success, but less money in the banking account in case you’re not prepared to take a bigger risk with the sums you wager.

Backing Long Shots in the Derby Should Be Rare

Despite favorites having a good run over the last two decades, don’t discount the occasional bomb, it is going to happen from time to time.

In 2004, Giacomo (50-1) pulled off the big upset and returned $102.60 and just four years later Mine That Bird (51-1) came flying up the rail to pull off an upset and return his backers $103.20. In 2019, Maximum Security was disqualified for interference and Country House (65-1) was elevated to the winner, paying a hefty $132.40.

In two of these three aforementioned cases, the highly unexpected wins have come on a sloppy track, which is a prerequisite for leveling the playing field. That’s why you should check what the conditions will be on the day of the race. 

How to Make Your Kentucky Derby Picks

If you are new to Kentucky Derby betting, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if you pick a horse just because of its number, name, or color, which is good, but only if you’re wagering for fun. Here’s a shortlist of what to do if you are serious with your betting.

  • Start with having a clear plan
  • Read all the info possible about the contenders
  • Dive into prep races
  • Dig into the past performances
  • Examine trainer and jockey statistics
  • Look into horse pedigrees
  • Watch race replays
  • Check the Kentucky Derby 2022 predictions and opinions of proven experts
  • See what the the track conditions will be like
  • Make pace projections based on speed figures
  • Follow the Kentucky Derby 2022 odds and compare those of different racebooks
  • Pick the right bets for you
  • Build smart tickets and stick to your vision
  • Buck the trends in multi-race bets
  • Back the favorites, except if the stars align for an upset
  • Place your wagers early
  • Have some fun playing party games

As you can see for yourself, getting to your final 2022 Kentucky Derby picks is not that easy of a process. The good news is that if you have a clear plan and are methodical in your approach, you will get there in the end. It’s of utmost importance to find the best info and data possible, as is the ability to distill the essence of it. If you achieve this, when betting online, the Kentucky Derby can become a sweet mix of fun and winning money.

Key Kentucky Derby Prep Races & Trends

See how horses qualify for the Kentucky Derby in prep races and what trends are there for betting

The maximum of 20 horses who take part in the Run for the Roses qualify through 44 prep races: 36 in the USA, seven in Europe and four in Japan. The official start of the process for the 2022 event was given on September 18, 2021, though practically it started on February 19, 2022 with the Risen Star race at Fair Grounds. There are some Kentucky Derby betting trends you could use when the moment arrives, so here they are.

The Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park has been the most productive prep race, with 24 exiting it to go on and wear Roses. The last seven Kentucky Derby winners that came out of the Florida Derby won that final prep race of theirs.

In fact, if we include Maximum Security (who crossed the wire first, but was disqualified), eight of the last 10 Kentucky Derby winners won their last prep race. So you should most definitely check out which horses win their final preps.

Major Kentucky Derby Prep Races in 2022

Feb 19Risen Star85Fair GroundsEpicenter50
Feb 26Rebel Stakes85Oaklawn ParkUn Ojo50
March 5Fountain of Youth85Gulfstream ParkSimplification50
March 5Gotham Stakes85AqueductMorello50
March 5San Felipe85Santa Anita ParkForbidden Kingdom50
March 12Tampa Bay Derby85Tampa Bay DownsClassic Causeway50
March 26Louisiana Derby170Fair GroundsEpicenter100
March 26UAE Derby170Meydan Race CourseCrown Pride100
March 27Sunland Park Derby85Sunland Park Race CourseSlow Down Andy50
April 2Jeff Ruby Stakes170Turfway ParkTiz the Bomb100
April 2Arkansas Derby170Oaklawn ParkCyberknife100
April 2Florida Derby170Gulfstream ParkWhite Abarrio100
April 9Blue Grass170KeenelandZandon100
April 9Santa Anita Derby170Santa Anita ParkTaiba100
April 9Wood Memorial170AqueductMo Donegal100

Ranking the Prep Races for Producing the Most Winners of the Kentucky Derby

PositionPrep RaceWinnersMost Recent WinnerYear of Winning
1Florida Derby24Always Dreaming2017
2Blue Grass Stakes23Street Sense2007
3Champagne Stakes23Super Saver2010
4Hopeful Stakes20I’ll Have Another2012
5Wood Memorial20Funny Cide2003
6Santa Anita Derby19Authentic2020
7Fountain of Youth13Orb2013
8San Felipe13Authentic2020
9San Vicente10Nyquist2016
10Breeders’ Futurity8Street Sense2007

Kentucky Derby Betting Based on Trainers

See how to bet on the Kentucky Derby based on trainers and jockeys

Look no further than trainer Bob Baffert who has won the Kentucky Derby a record seven times, although Medina Spirit ended up getting disqualified in 2021. Baffert has started 34 horses in the race and along with his seven winners he has run second three times and third another three.

Todd Pletcher has started more horses in the Kentucky Derby than any other trainer in history with 59 starters. Newly inducted to the Hall of Fame, Pletcher has won the Kentucky Derby just twice, with Always Dreaming in 2017 and Super Saver in 2010.

D. Wayne Lukas, who is still training at the age of 86, has saddled four Kentucky Derby winners, the last being Charismatic in 1999.

The only other active trainers with more than one win are Nick Zito and Doug O’Neill with two each.

Steve Asmussen, a two-time Eclipse Award winner for outstanding trainer, has the most Kentucky Derby starters without a victory, currently 0 for 23.

Betting on the Kentucky Derby Based on Jockeys

Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez has won the last two editions of the Kentucky Derby aboard the Baffert trained Authentic in 2020 and Medina Spirit in 2021, though his last triumph was taken away. He won his first Kentucky Derby aboard the Graham Motion trained Animal Kingdom in 2011 and booted home Always Dreaming in 2017 for Pletcher.

Kent Desormeaux is coming toward the end of his Hall of Fame career and has three wins, his most recent with Big Brown in 2008. Mike Smith won aboard Giacomo and Justify, the latter going on to win the Triple Crown.

Victor Espinoza won in back to back years in 2014 aboard California Chrome and American Pharoah in 2015. Mario Gutierrez rode both of Doug O’Neill’s winners, I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquist in 2016.

Javier Castellano is the most overdue jockey still looking for his first Kentucky Derby ride. Four times the Eclipse Award winner for outstanding jockey, he is 0 for 15 in the Run for the Roses.

Irad Ortiz Jr. has won the Eclipse Award each of the last three years, but is 0 for 5 in the Derby. His brother Jose, the Eclipse Award winner in 2017 is 0 for 6. They both seem highly likely to eventually win the race.

Post Positions in the Kentucky Derby

See how post positions tend to influence Kentucky Derby betting and results

We hear a lot about the “dreaded one post” before the Kentucky Derby post position draw each year, and breaking from the inside can be a disadvantage. No Derby winner at Churchill Downs has come out of the one stall since Ferdinand in 1986.

The best posts are the 5, which has produced 10 Derby winners, and the 10, which has produced nine winners.

Posts 17 and outward were at a disadvantage in previous years, with just four winners from 126 starters. However, several of those wins were recent. Big Brown broke out of the 20 post in 2008, I’ll Have Another out of the 19 in 2012 and Country House out of the 18 post in 2019.

Last year saw Churchill Downs purchase a new starting gate that holds 20 horses. Previously they had an auxiliary one for the outside posts and there was a small gap between the two gates and the outside one was at a slight angle.

Moving forward, if you like a horse that has an outside draw, we would not hold that against them. The “dreaded one post”? Unless the horse had early speed, it will not do your pick any favors to break from the rail.

Kentucky Derby Winning Running Styles

Going 1 ¼ miles on the first Saturday of May is a stamina test and it was difficult to take the field gate to wire. Perhaps not so much anymore…

When graded stakes were used to create the field, there were usually one or two sprint types that managed to get into the field, assuring a fast early pace that tended to favor horses that were stalking or closing.

In recent years the early pace has been more moderate, and we have seen the lead types fare quite well. War Emblem wired the field in 2002, the first to do so since the filly Winning Colors in 1998.

However, things changed in 2019 as Maximum Security set the early fractions and held on to win by 1 ¾ lengths. After a 22-minute stewards’ inquiry though, he was disqualified for causing interference at the top of the stretch.

In 2020, the Kentucky Derby was postponed because of the pandemic and run in October. Authentic was able to lead from start to finish, returning $18.80 for the win. And last year Medina Spirit broke alertly, was sent to the lead and battled on gamely in the stretch to win by a half-length, paying $26.20 (was disqualified at a later stage).

So what does the future hold when it comes to running style? You should lean toward horses that like to be up front or in a stalking position where they could get to the lead by the top of the stretch. It is tough for deep closers to work their way through a large field.

Kentucky Derby Betting on the Winner Based on Profile

See our Kentucky Derby picks for the winner in this year’s event

Over the past couple of decades we have seen Kentucky Derby winners prep less and have more space between their races, but we still have a reasonable idea of what a winning Derby profile looks like.

Ideally, the horse has at least one start as a juvenile. Justify was the first Kentucky Derby winner to not have a start as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882.

Heading into the Kentucky Derby, they should have at least three starts under their belt, preferably four or five. Their last prep should be between 21 and 35 days prior to the Run for the Roses.

It should be in a graded stake, and they should have a sharp final prep race. Don’t forget that eight of the last 10 to cross the wire first in the Kentucky Derby won their final prep. One of the last losers was Super Saver in 2010 and he lost by just a neck in the Arkansas Derby.

There is nothing better when playing the ponies than making a score in the Kentucky Derby, which indeed will make it your two most exciting minutes in sports.

Our Pick

We couldn’t end our Kentucky Derby betting guide without making our free pick for the winner in the 2022 event. The horse racing wagering experts at How To Bet divide their preferences between Charge It and White Abarrio. Here’s why.

Charge It may seem a long shot at 20-1, but is trained by two-time Kentucky Derby-winner Todd Pletcher, has one win and two second places in just three career starts, and in his last race he was a runner-up behind our other favorite White Abarrio in the Florida Derby on April 2. It’s a clearly talented horse that has proved more than capable to challenge way more experienced and popular runners.

As for White Abarrio, we’ve already discussed how the last seven horses, for whom the Florida Derby was the final prep race and won it, turned out winners at the Run for the Roses. White Abarrio fulfills this criteria, so you know it makes sense to back him after reading our Kentucky Derby predictions. Of course, because he’s a proven winner too.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby FAQ

Where to bet on the Kentucky Derby?
You can bet on the Kentucky Derby with any legal US racebook. Visit our racebooks pages for recommendations.
Can I bet on the Kentucky Derby online?
You bet you can! We’ve listed the top legal online racebooks with their best promo offers, so hurry up and take advantage of as many as possible.
How to bet online on the Kentucky Derby?
Find the online racebook(s) that suit(s) your needs and preferences best and then just follow our detailed instructions in our betting guide on this page.
How to read Kentucky Derby odds?
There’s a section on this page that looks into this part of horse betting in big detail, so just go back and reread it in case you didn’t pay much attention to it at first.
Where can I see current odds for Kentucky Derby?
The easiest way is to go back up on this page. How To Bet updates the current odds on the Kentucky Derby regularly, so whenever you want to see the latest lines, they’ll be right there waiting for you.
When will I be able to see the Kentucky Derby live odds?
Right after the start of the race you’ll be given multiple live betting opportunities.
When is the Kentucky Derby?
The Kentucky Derby traditionally runs every year on the first Saturday in May. The 2022 Kentucky Derby will therefore take place on Saturday, 7 May.
What time is the Kentucky Derby?
The 148th Kentucky Derby officially starts at 10:30 AM ET with the first of the 14 races of the day and goes all the way to 8:30 PM ET.
Who won the Kentucky Derby?
The 2021 Kentucky Derby was won by Mandaloun.
Where is the Kentucky Derby?
The Kentucky Derby takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
How long is the Kentucky Derby?
The Kentucky Derby is run over a distance of 10 furlongs. The fastest running of the race took a fraction over 1 minute and 59 seconds. The slowest took a fraction over 2 minutes and 34 seconds.
Where to watch the Kentucky Derby?
The 2022 Kentucky Derby can be watched in a variety of places. It will air on Saturday, May 7, from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The Run for the Roses will be also available to stream live on, the NBC Sports app, and Peacock. Online sports bettors could catch the action live at racebook sites and apps like TVG.
What city is the Kentucky Derby in?
The Kentucky Derby takes place in the city of Louisville.
How many furlongs is the Kentucky Derby?
The Kentucky Derby is 10 furlongs in length. That equates to around 2 kilometers or 1.25 miles.
How many horses race in the Kentucky Derby?
There are 20 runners competing.
What racetrack hosts the Kentucky Derby?
The Kentucky Derby is hosted by the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky.
When was the first Kentucky Derby?
The first running of the Kentucky Derby was in 1875. The winning horse was Aristides.