Kentucky Derby Horse Racing Betting Guide for 2021

The Kentucky Derby is widely regarded as the most famous dirt race for thoroughbred horses in North America. This is our guide to betting on it.

What features in our Kentucky Derby horse racing betting guide? All this and more:

Top Horse Racing Betting Sites for United States Players

An Introduction to Kentucky Derby Horse Racing

So, what do you need to know about Kentucky Derby horse racing betting for background and context? Here are some key facts about this event:

Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky hosts the race annually on the first Saturday in May

It is the centrepiece of the Kentucky Derby Festival, which is held over two weeks, and run on dirt rather than turf

The Kentucky Derby has been contested every year since 1875

Three-year-old thoroughbreds only can race, but there is no restriction on gender and geldings can also run

This race is over a distance of about 10 furlongs (roughly just over 2km)

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing

The Triple Crown’s other legs are the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on the edge of New York

There are set weights in this Grade 1 race for colts and geldings, and fillies receive a sex allowance

No horse racing event in North America, not even the Breeders’ Cup, draws crowds like the Kentucky Derby

Over 157,000 people watched the race at Churchill Downs in 2017

How Kentucky Derby Horse Racing Odds Work

If you’ve never bet before, then it’s unlikely you’ll know how Kentucky Derby horse racing odds work. We can change that by talking you through an example:

Seven great Kentucky Derby winners line-up for a fantasy race to prove who’s the best. Secretariat is the shortest price of the runners and thus the favourite.

An C$8 bet on him wins C$13. That is a total return of C$21 on Secretariat if he were to win. Seattle Slew is next in the betting and 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. You’d make C$20 of profit on such a wager.

In working you through this example, we’ve used decimal odds. Some British and Irish sportsbooks may use fractional prices. If you want to learn more about how expressing odds compare, see our odds calculator below:


Kentucky Derby Horse Racing Betting Options

Now you understand how betting works, what Kentucky Derby horse racing odds can you gamble on? Here are some of the most popular:

Betting on the horses can be very simple. You can back them to win.

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.

A show bet is for a horse to finish first, second or third. Again, the price won’t be as attractive as a straight win.

You can also bet on two horses in the same race, and nominate one to win and the other to finish second. This is called an exacta.

You don’t have to specify the finishing order if you fancy two horses in the same race. This is two bets in one and called a quinella.

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

It even goes a stage further. For a real degree of difficulty, why not try and pick the first four horses past the post? A superfecta is a real challenge.

As the Kentucky Derby is world renowned, futures betting well in advance of the day of the race exists. You are likely to get a much better price on your fancy should bet early, but there are additional risks attached.

If your chosen horse doesn’t make it to the track at Churchill Downs, then it loses.

Racing Hub

Top 5 Kentucky Derby Horse Racing Betting Tips

Kentucky Derby Winners Who Completed the Triple Crown


That’s all folks. Our guide to Kentucky Derby horse racing betting in USA is complete. As sporting events go, this is real annual highlight of the calendar in North America.

Take a look at our FAQs section if you want any extra Kentucky Derby horse racing betting advice. We answer common queries in it.


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.

This Grade 1 event is open to three-year-olds only and traditionally run on the first Saturday in May. It’s the best-known horse race in North America!

If you need Kentucky Derby horse racing betting advice on how gambling works, then it’s simpler than you think.

Choose a horse you want to bet on for the race and add that to your slip. Now enter your stake, that’s the amount you want to gamble, and place the bet.

You can place bets on these Kentucky Derby horse racing odds, and more:

Looking for the best Kentucky Derby horse racing betting sites? You’ll find them on this very page, as our experts have made recommendations.

Yes, the Kentucky Derby is one of many sporting events from around the world to feature mobile betting. Simply visit the mobile version of the betting site you use, or download the sportsbook app for free for Android and Apple devices today.

It has been legal to bet on horse racing in USA since 1969, so you’re good to get gambling on the Kentucky Derby!