How to Bet on The Kentucky Derby 2020 | A Step by Step Guide



How to bet on The Kentucky Derby

• Betting
• Horse racing
• Sports Betting

How To Bet On Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is the most anticipated and exciting horse race in the world, and it is one of the most wagered-on events. Betting on the Kentucky Derby is similar to any other horse race, but the stakes are much higher.

This article will provide important background information and everything you need to know for how to bet on Kentucky Derby races. Before placing your wager, you want to be as prepared as possible.

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About the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby traditionally runs every year on the first Saturday in May. The 2020 edition is an extremely rare instance, as the race has been postponed until Sept. 5.

The "Run for the Roses" is a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. The race runs at a distance of one and a quarter miles, and the field is limited to 20 horses. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown series, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Types of Horse Racing Bets 

When learning how to bet on Kentucky Derby events, the first step is to know the different types of horse racing bets. There are many different options available, each with its own level of complexity and potential earnings. There are two main categories that horse wagers can be broken down into: straight wagers and exotic wagers. 

Straight Wagers (Win, Place, Show)

Straight wagers can be seen as the simple wagers in horse racing. They include the Win, Place, and Show bets, and the minimum bet is $2 for the Kentucky Derby. 

A Win bet requires you to select the winning horse in the Kentucky Derby, the Place bet requires your horse to finish first or second, and the Show bet requires your horse to finish first, second, or third. 

You also have the option of betting Win, Place, and Show, or "Across the Board," which is a wager that combines multiple bets into one for greater winnings. For example, if your horse finishes first, you receive the Win, Place, and Show payouts. 

If your horse finishes second, you get the Place and Show payouts, and if your horse finishes third, you receive the Show payout. 

Exotic Bets (Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta) 

There are also non-straight wagers, or "exotic bets," that you can play on the Kentucky Derby. They are more complex than the straight wagers, but the payouts can be a lot larger. Some of the best wagers are the Exacta, Trifecta, and Superfecta.

The Exacta bet requires you to select the horses that will finish first and second in the correct order. The Trifecta requires you to select the horses that will finish first, second, and third in the correct order. 

The hardest one of all is the Superfecta, which requires you to select the horses that will finish first, second, third, and fourth in the correct order.

Boxing Bets in the Kentucky Derby

Another option you have for betting on the Kentucky Derby is boxing your bets. Whenever you select an Exacta, Trifecta, or Superfecta, you will be required to select straight or boxed. 

Straight means the horses have to come in the exact order, while boxed means they have to finish in the spots but no exact order. For example, boxing a trifecta means your horses just have to finish in the top three, no matter the order. By boxing the bet, the cost of your wager will be doubled. 

How to Choose Horses to Bet On

Another important aspect of betting on the Kentucky Derby is deciding which horses to bet on. One thing you want to do is pay attention long before the Kentucky Derby even runs. 

Leading up to the event, there is the Road to the Derby, which features races where the horses can earn points toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby. 

Besides the Road to the Derby, pay attention to any races that have potential contenders for the Kentucky Derby. By doing this, you can learn all about the horses before they ever even line up at the gate at Churchill. 

This means you don't have to rely blindly on odds. Instead, you will be equipped with other knowledge about training, past performances, track conditions, and much more. 

It is also important to learn about the different trainers and connections for the horses, as this will also help determine your bets. The Kentucky Derby showcases the best horses in racing, which means there are also the best trainers, owners, and jockeys. There is a lot of accessible information about past victories that can help form your bets. 

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby Online

If you are not one of the thousands of people attending the event at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, there are many different ways to bet on the Kentucky Derby online. Let's look at some of the best online platforms and how to place a bet on the Kentucky Derby. 


TwinSpires is one of the most trusted and popular horse race betting platforms, and it is also the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby. You can wager through a browser, a mobile-optimized site, or the TwinSpires betting app on iOS or Android. They offer all of the different betting options, and you can livestream the Kentucky Derby like all other races.


TVG is known for its horse race viewing on TV, but they also offer an online horse betting platform. They have expert picks, analysis, and coverage of the Kentucky Derby and leading up to it. You can bet through their website or the app from the App Store. 

Bet America 

Bet America is another one of the top wagering platforms for the Kentucky Derby. You can access the platform through the browser or iOS, and they have a wide range of betting options and handicapping tools. 

DRF Bets

The Daily Racing Form (DRF) is one of the most trusted sources of information regarding the horse racing industry. They also offer a betting platform that you can use for all races, including the Kentucky Derby. You can bet through their site or app, and they offer analysis and a lot of valuable racing information. 

Kentucky Derby Odds

Below is a chart of current Kentucky Derby leaders in order of point totals. These runners are the most likely horses to earn a starting spot. On the During the Derby week make sure to check for the official morning line odds of the Kentucky Derby!

*Joe Kristufek has taken a look at the current top 20 Kentucky Derby points leaders and formulated a scenario of what the betting public will likely see as odds for each horse in the Run for the Roses. These odds total to 100 when added together, thus a realistic look at Derby contender odds potential.

**Ed DeRosa has taken the approach of fair line or fair value odds. With looking at each horse in early June’s top 20 leading Kentucky Derby point earners, Ed has applied odds of honest value. His expert opinion, in tandem with what the betting public should view each contender odds as, explains what each contender is worth or should be considered valued at as betting interests.

HorseKristufek’s Odds*DeRosa’s Odds**
Tiz the Law8-53-2
Art Collector5-14-1
Honor A. P.9-212-1
Ny Traffic30-140-1
King Guillermo20-150-1
Thousand Words20-150-1
Dr Post20-1 (could defect)50-1
Max Player30-125-1
Major Fed50-140-1
Storm the Court50-140-1
Attachment Rate50-1 (Pat Day)60-1
Sole Volante30-1250-1
Finnick the Fierce50-1250-1
Winning Impression50-1700-1
Necker Island50-150-1
Money Moves30-1 (bypass)50-1
Mr. Big News50-1

Kentucky Derby prep-race winners and odds

Below is a table that displays each Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race and that race’s winning horse, that horses’ morning line odds and then final odds at the beginning of the race.

  • What can we learn from the information on each Kentucky Derby North American prep race winner for the 2020 Kentucky Derby season?
  • With morning line odds and final odds side by side in the table below, which horses started as a near favorite and by start time, due to public money fluctuation, fell or gained public betting backing?
  • Will these Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race winners be favorites for the Kentucky Derby?

2020 Final Odds for Kentucky Derby Prep Race Winners

HorseRaceML OddsFinal Odds
Dennis’ MomentIroquois S.9-52-5
Eight RingsAmerican Pharoah S.9-56-5
Tiz the LawChampagne S.5-27-5
MaxfieldBreeders’ Futurity12-16-1
Storm the CourtBreeders’ Cup Juvenile20-145-1
Silver ProspectorKentucky Jockey Club8-17-1
ShotskiRemsen S.15-18-1
Thousand WordsLos Alamitos Futurity8-58-5
ShopliftedSpringboard Mile5-14-1
Independence HallJerome S.1-51-9
AuthenticSham S.8-56-5
EnforceableLecomte S.15-16-1
Thousand WordsRobert B. Lewis S.4-53-5
Max PlayerWithers S.9-25-1
Tiz the LawHoly Bull S.3-56-5
Sole VolanteSam F. Davis8-15-1
Azul CoastEl Camino Real Derby2-16-5
ModernistRisen Star S. II8-112-1
Mr. MonomoyRisen Star S. I6-17-1
Silver ProspectorSouthwest S.9-29-2
Ete IndienFountain of Youth S.8-13-1
Mischevous AlexGotham S.3-18-5
AuthenticSan Felipe S.6-56-5
King GuillermoTampa Bay Derby15-149-1
NadalRebel Stakes5-24-5
Field PassJeff Ruby Steaks7-27-2
Wells BayouLouisiana Derby8-13-1
Tiz the LawFlorida Derby6-57-5
CharlatanArkansas Derby div. I1-12-5
NadalArkansas Derby div. II5-24-5

How to Bet on Kentucky Derby FAQ

How do the odds work in the Kentucky Derby?

Horse racing odds are calculated by a Pari-Mutuel System. This means that the odds are determined by how the people are wagering, and they depend on the amount bet on a horse compared to how much is being bet on others in the field. As more people wager on a horse, the odds will be less profitable for a wager. 

Because of this system, the exact odds of the Kentucky Derby will not be known until right before the race. The final odds are set once the betting closes at post time. Keep this in mind when you see the odds in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the race. 

I've decided on an online platform. How do I place a bet?

Once you have decided on an online betting platform, it is time to make a wager on the Kentucky Derby. You will decide when to place the bet; just make sure it is before the window closes. 


Since the Kentucky Derby has the odds posted way in advance, you can wager in advance as well. However, the odds can change a lot by the time the race runs. 


When going to place your bet, you will need to find the name of the track where the race is. In this case, it will be Churchill Downs. You will then choose the race number for the Kentucky Derby and the amount you want to wager. 

The next step will be to select your type of wager, such as a Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, or Superfecta. The last step is to choose your horses, where you want them, and if you want your wager boxed. 

Should I bet on the favorite?

Many new bettors will want to throw money on the favorite. While this is a somewhat safe choice, it is also much less profitable. It is better to study the field and try to wager on horses with better odds. 

If you think the favorite is going to finish at the top no matter what, try to include multiple horses in your bet, like you would with an Exacta or Trifecta. By pairing the favorite with other horses at better odds, you can still score nice payouts.

About this author

Ayden Fahlstrom author profile

Ayden loves sports. There is no doubt about that. He is a walking calendar when it comes to the latest events in sports. He has grown into the passion of writing about them, and settled into his role as a writer after many freelancing jobs. He can write about any sport out there! This is the guy!

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