Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

Kentucky Derby odds, predictions & winners

Along with the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, the Kentucky Derby is one of the three pillars of horse racing’s ‘Triple Crown’ accolade. A Louisville institution dating back to 1875, it is the most readily named of prestigious events in North America, even by those who are otherwise novices when it comes to thoroughbred horses.

The prize money at stake has also increased drastically over the years, even with inflation accounted for. This cannot fail to motivate jockeys into racing with uncompromising aggression and determination, and this combines well with the fast-paced track to maximize the entertainment value!

However, it is not just the jockeys that can earn big from the Kentucky Derby, and as a huge event that comes around just once a year, people will bet big. In turn, some will win big, and in knowing this, anyone betting on the Derby will be eager to seek out the best sites for betting on Triple Crown events.

Best Betting sites for Kentucky Derby

Figuring out the ‘best’ sites for betting on a horse race is all down to opinion. Some will go after the longest odds for a realistic contender, while others will seek out the most generous bonus bets and matched bonuses.

Certain bookmakers already have a rich history of providing Kentucky Derby odds for bettors on both sides of the Atlantic. With Canada, Australia and the UK/EU having a relatively rich history of legalized betting, users in these territories are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to taking advantage of great offers related to horse racing.

By contrast, due to the country’s historically tighter legislation in gaming, the United States remains virgin territory for most well-known sportsbooks out there. However, some of the most notable transatlantic horse racing bookmakers have already made their mark in New Jersey sports betting, as well as the other aforementioned territories. William Hill and 888 Sport sit proudly in that number.

Kentucky Derby odds

Post PositionHorseMorning Line OddsTrainerJockey
1Mo Donegal10-1Todd PletcherIrad Ortiz Jr.
2Happy Jack30-1Doug O'NeillRafael Bejarano
3Epicenter7-2Steve AsmussenJoel Rosario
4Summer is Tomorrow30-1Bhupat SeemarMickael Barzalona
5Smile Happy20-1Ken McPeekCorey Lanerie
6Messier8-1Tim YakteenJohn Velazquez
7Crown Pride20-1Koichi ShintaniChristophe Lemaire
8Charge It20-1Todd PletcherLuis Saez
9Tiz the Bomb30-1Ken McPeekBrian Hernandez Jr.
10Zandon3-1Chad BrownFlavien Prat
11Pioneer of Medina30-1Todd PletcherJoe Bravo
12Taiba12-1Tim YakteenMike Smith
13Simplification20-1Antonio SanoJose Ortiz
14Barber Road30-1John OrtizReylu Gutierrez
15White Abarrio10-1Saffie Joseph Jr.Tyler Gaffalione
16Cyberknife20-1Brad CoxFlorent Geroux
17Classic Causeway30-1Brian LynchJulien Leparoux
18Tawny Port30-1Brad CoxRicardo Santana Jr.
19Zozos20-1Brad CoxManuel Franco
20Ethereal Road30-1D. Wayne LukasLuis Contreras
21 (AE)Rich Strike30-1Eric ReedSonny Leon
22 (AE)Rattle N Roll30-1Ken McPeekJames Graham

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

Unless you are at the venue itself, online betting sites will be your go-to source of the latest antepost odds. With every incoming event on the planet being just a click away, online betting is the obvious solution to those away from the racecourse itself.

Online Betting

Many bookmakers have generous offers that can be used on great horse racing events such as betting on the Kentucky Derby. These will usually take the form of matched bet bonuses or bonus bet offers that are exclusive only to new customers, who sign up via a banner link advertising such offers or opt in if signing up via the regular bookmakers’ URL, without any special code in it.

With the latter, a new registrant will get only the winnings (if any) that the bet yields, in lieu of receiving the wager amount and the payout. That would be the case if using ‘wallet’ funds to wager as normal.

Matched bet bonuses are different in that the stake is returned, along with any winnings. However, these offers are accompanied by wagering requirements, which means that the bonus amount must be played a set number of times to make a withdrawal of any winnings possible.

Specific events will be easy to find via (firstly) the ‘horse racing’ tab, and then the list of events for which antepost odds are available. On certain sites, in the case of the Kentucky Derby, a ‘thoroughbred’ tab may need to be selected between ‘horse racing’ and ‘Kentucky Derby’ in order to show odds.

Betting at Teller

For those fortunate enough to be at the Kentucky Derby, tellers can accommodate any type of bet. Bettors need only state the name of the track, the race number (e.g. fifth, sixth etc), the wager amount, the type of wager and the horse (or horses) to be backed. Calculations, and potential payouts, are instant.

Off Track Betting

Off-track betting (OTB) involves the bettor placing a wager, in person, on a horse racing event away from the ground. Visiting an OTB parlor enables offline wagering with physical tender, with odds and hot tips that may be unavailable online.

Is it legal to bet on the Kentucky Derby in the United States?

Although it is not yet legal across the entire country, betting on horse racing is legal in a much wider range of states compared to sports betting. This makes the Kentucky Derby perhaps not only the most wagered-on event in horse racing, but also – potentially – the biggest betting draw of any American-based sporting event.

US horse betting laws vary state by state, with four being current focal points for horse racing.

  • New Jersey: Atlantic City has been a powerhouse of betting, but with online gambling legalized in November 2013, NJ’s existing reputation as a liberal mecca for gambling was redoubled. OTB parlors have been available in NJ since 2007, and there are currently five active parlors in the state. Derby fans can get in on the action via one of the many legal betting sites in NJ including Caesars, Harrah’s and Sugarhouse. New Jersey bettors can bet on the Kentucky Derby at TVG or Twinspires.
  • Pennsylvania: Wagering on harness and thoroughbred horse racing events has been legal in PA since the 1960s. With a rich history of wagering on horse racing, the state of PA has a number of sites where it is possible to bet on the Breeders’ Cup. OTB parlors that deal exclusively in thoroughbred events can currently be found in Grantville, Bensalem and Erie. Like NJ, there are a number of PA online sportsbooks, however, you’ll need to choose from a legal racing site to bet on the Kentucky Derby. This includes TVG, BetAmerica or TwinSpires.
  • West Virginia: OTB opportunities are less plentiful on WV compared to PA and NJ. However, off-track Kentucky Derby betting is possible at two locations, namely the Sportsbook parlors at Hollywood Casino (at Charles Town Races) and the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack in Chester.


While people in Indiana can go online and wager on horse races, the penalties for going online to actively seek illegal or unlicensed wagering opportunities are potentially harsh. This makes the presence of OTB locations in Indiana all the more convenient.

As in WV, there are currently two OTB locations: Hoosier Park in Anderson and the Indiana Downs Racetrack in Shelbyville.

Legal betting options in the US

Bettors in states that allow betting on horse racing online have access to a number of options.


Formed in 1993, TVG is seen by many as the leading authority when it comes to online betting on thoroughbred events like the Kentucky Derby. Anyone with a TVG account has access to an ever-growing number of tracks (currently 150+), both in the United States and the rest of the world.

TVG endeavors to offer bettors the same value of bets that they would find at an OTB parlor, or a teller station at a racetrack, and the value is guaranteed by the fact that the online bettor’s money is pooled together with the wagers of those at the track itself.


For those who live in a state that allows the full range of sports betting opportunities, BetAmerica is an extremely popular choice, with the site making every effort to provide advice for bettors of all experience levels. Its mobile app also has an excellent reputation, and though any newcomers seeking a special offer will need to contend with wagering requirements, this is nothing out of the ordinary.

For those seeking particularly impressive value for their custom, the final weekend of every October is unmissable.

Twin Spires

Operated by Churchill Downs racetrack (active since 1875), races on Twin Spires cover Europe, Africa, western Asia and Oceania as well as North America. The list of upcoming races is easy to navigate, and once the bet is placed, the race can be streamed in real time for added drama and excitement.

One of Twin Spires’ most intriguing features is the range of interfaces that are available year-round.

TwinSpires TV is the tool that enables the viewing of races in real time, with viewers able to switch between the wagering page and the live stream across separate windows/tabs. In the TV interface, priority is given to the live stream, with the wagering page put inside a smaller separate window.

Users can also use the Express & Pro interface, where the wagering page is instead displayed with more prominence than the live feed. This is best-suited for those in the betting profession, including traders, with this interface showing a news feed along with other elements such as an advanced race program.

Meanwhile, the Classic interface blends both parts of the live experience equally, with handicapping tools and betting pools taking priority over the full range of online facilities typically used by experienced horse racing professionals.

Legal betting options in the UK

The culture of horse racing in the UK extends back in excess of 1,800 years, and media coverage of the main events on the calendar is extensive. Amongst that number are the Aintree Grand National, Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival, which are the most reliable generators of online betting traffic for horse racing in the UK.

bet365 summary

Both as a desktop interface, and a betting mobile app in more recent years, bet365 has a long-standing reputation as a staple of wagering on horse races across the globe.

In terms of percentage, payouts are consistently in the high 80s to mid-90s, with an average of just over 90% as of July 2019. On top of wagering opportunities that cover over 200 venues, live streaming of races in the UK and Ireland is also available, but that is subject to a minimum bet value per race.

The mobile app also allows accumulator selections to be modified or erased up until the start of the race.

Betway summary

With similarly generous average payouts, Betway also enjoys a sterling reputation. Though it only launched in 2006, the brand has risen through the ranks, and now has 2m+ users (and counting) across Europe.

A huge part of Betway’s competitive edge is the HorseFinder tool, which enables users to get the best odds possible – particularly for horses that are underrated. That, combined with the notably-generous welcome offer, makes Betway a much sought-after source of good value for betting on horse races.

Legal betting options in Canada

It is legal to bet on the Kentucky Derby in Canada, and the event attracts a remarkable amount of interest for a non-US audience.

As a native brand, Sports Interaction is naturally seen as the market leader in Canada for betting on the Kentucky Derby, with a $200 bonus, accompanying a five-star rating on several respected comparison sites across Canada.

Types of bets

The horse racing industry is reliant on offering a wide range of betting options in order to stay commercially successful and economically profitable. The main types of bet for thoroughbred race events are:

Single bet

The most common type of wager is a single bet ‘on the nose’, where a horse must win outright to enable a payout.

‘Place only’ bet

Place bets require a horse to finish a certain distance up the final classification list after the race ends. How high the horse must finish to yield a payout depends on the number of runners:

  • <5 runners – 1st (see ‘Single bet’)
  • 5-7 – 1st or 2nd (odds/payout reduced by 75%)
  • >8 – 1st/2nd/3rd (odds/payout reduced by 80%)
  • Handicap (12-15 runners) – 1st/2nd/3rd (odds/payout reduced by 75%)
  • Handicap (>15 runners) – 1st/2nd/3rd/4th (odds/payout reduced by 75%)

Each-way bet

Half of the stake goes on a horse to win, while the other half is wagered on a horse to be ‘placed’. The stake amount is doubled, but if the horse wins, then both of the potential payout amounts – for the win and the place – are awarded together along with the returned stake.

Accumulator / Multiple bet

Accumulators are bets on multiple horses, with all needing to prevail (be that by means of a win or merely a placing) for a winning bet.

Doubles (two horses), Trebles (three) and Four-fold are the most popular types of multiple bet. Although there is no limit on how many horses can be included, all online bookmakers will have a winnings cap, or an alternative means by which they can protect themselves from astronomic payouts (i.e 7 or 8+ figures) on accumulators.

There are also other types of multiple bet, in which not all of the selections must prevail for a payout. The only catch is that the stake is automatically multiplied by the number of possible ‘winning lines’. They have unique names, and stipulations, as follows:

  • Trixie (Each-way Trixie)

Min. 2/3 selections must prevail | Stake multiplier/Winning lines: x4 (x8)

  • Patent

2/3 selections | Stake multiplier: x7

  • Yankee

2/4 selections | Stake multiplier: x11

  • Lucky 15

1/4 selections | Stake multiplier: x15

  • Lucky 31

1/5 selections | Stake multiplier: x31

  • Lucky 63

1/6 selections | Stake multiplier: x63

  • Goliath

2/8 selections | Stake multiplier: x247

Exacta / Forecast

A bet on the exact finishing order of the top two horses. This differs from Quinella / Reverse Forecast, where the top two must match the prediction, but in any order.

Jackpot bets

The bravest of bettors will entertain the idea of placing a jackpot bet. Simply put, this involves the selection of the first six winners of the day at any track. Winnings can be life-changing, but there is an easier version, called a ‘Placepot’ bet, which involves betting on the first six horses to ‘place’ on a track day.

Kentucky Derby betting odds and guides.
How to bet on the Kentucky Derby – Types of Wagers

List of Kentucky Derby Winners – Horse – Jockey – Time

2021Medina SpiritJohn Velazquez2:01.02
2020AuthenticJohn Velazquez 2:00.61
2019Country HouseFlavien Prat2:03.93
2018Justify Mike E. Smith2:04.20
2017Always DreamingJohn R. Velazquez2:03.59
2016NyquistMario Gutierrez2:01:31
2015American PharoahVictor Espinoza2:03.02
2014California ChromeVictor Espinoza2:03.66
2013OrbJoel Rosario2:02.89
2012I'll Have AnotherMario Gutierrez2:01.83
2011Animal KingdomJohn Velazquez2:02.04
2010Super SaverCalvin Borel2:04.45
2009Mine That BirdCalvin Borel2:02.66
2008Big BrownKent Desormeaux2:01.82
2007Street SenseCalvin Borel2:02.17
2006BarbaroEdgar Prado2:01.36
2005GiacomoMike Smith2:02.75
2004Smarty JonesStewart Elliot2:04.06
2003Funny CideJosé Santos2:01.19
2002War EmblemVictor Espinoza2:01.13
2001MonarchosJorge Chavez1:59.97
2000Fusaichi PegasusKent Desormeaux2:01
1999CharismaticChris Antley2:03.29
1998Real QuietKent Desormeaux2:02 1/5
1997Silver CharmGary Stevens2:02 2/5
1996GrindstoneJerry Bailey2:01
1995Thunder GulchGary Stevens2:01 1/5
1994Go for a GinChris McCarron2:03 3/5
1993Sea HeroJerry Bailey2:02
1992Lil E. TeePat Day2:03
1991Strike the GoldChris Antley2:03
1990UnbridledCraig Perret2:02
1989Sunday SilencePatrick Valenzuela2:05
1988Winning ColorsGary Stevens2:02 1/5
1987AlyshebaChris McCarron2:03
1986FerdinandWilliam Shoemaker2:02 4/5
1985Spend a BuckAngel Cordero, Jr.2:00 1/5
1984SwaleLaffit Pincay, Jr.2:02 2/5
1983Sunny's HaloEddie Delahoussaye2:02 1/5
1982Gato Del SolEddie Delahoussaye2:02 2/5
1981Pleasant ColonyJorge Velasquez2:02
1980Genuine RiskJacinto Vasquez2:02
1979Spectacular BidRonnie Franklin2:02 2/5
1978AffirmedSteve Cauthen2:01 1/5
1977Seattle SlewJean Cruguet2:02 1/5
1976Bold ForbesAngel Cordero, Jr.2:01 3/5
1975Foolish PleasureJacinto Vasquez2:02
1974CannonadeAngel Cordero, Jr.2:04
1973SecretariatRon Turcotte1:59 2/5
1972Riva RidgeRon Turcotte2:01 4/5
1971Canonero IIGustavo Avila2:03 1/5
1970Dust CommanderMike Manganello2:03 2/5
1969Majestic PrinceWilliam Hartack2:01 4/5
1968Forward PassIsmael Valenzuela2:02 1/5
1967Proud ClarionRobert Ussery2:00 3/5
1966Kauai KingDon Brumfield2:02
1965Lucky DebonairWilliam Shoemaker2:01 1/5
1964Northern DancerWilliam Hartack2:00
1963ChateaugayBraulio Baeza2:01 4/5
1962DecidedlyWilliam Hartack2:00 2/5
1961Carry BackJohn Sellers2:04
1960Venetian WayWilliam Hartack2:02 2/5
1959Tomy LeeWilliam Shoemaker2:02 1/5
1958Tim TamIsmael Valenzuela2:05
1957Iron LiegeWilliam Hartack2:01 1/5
1956NeedlesDavid Erb2:03 2/5
1955SwapsWilliam Shoemaker2:01 4/5
1954DetermineRaymond York2:03
1953Dark StarHenry Moreno2:02
1952Hill GailEddie Arcaro2:01 3/5
1951Count TurfConn McCreary2:02 3/5
1950MiddlegroundWilliam Boland2:01 3/5
1949PonderSteve Brooks2:04 1/5
1948CitationEddie Arcaro2:05 2/5
1947Jet PilotEric Guerin2:06 4/5
1946AssaultWarren Mehrtens2:06 3/5
1945Hoop Jr.Eddie Arcaro2:07
1943PensiveConn McCreary2:04 1/5
1942Shut OutWayne D. Wright2:04 2/5
1941WhirlawayEddie Arcaro2:01 2/5
1940GallahadionCarroll Bierman2:05
1939JohnstownJames Stout2:03 2/5
1938LawrinEddie Arcaro2:04 4/5
1937War AdmiralCharle Kurtsinger2:03 1/5
1936Bold VentureIra Hanford2:03 3/5
1935OmahaWilliam Saunders2:05
1934CavalcadeMack Garner2:04
1933Brokers TipDon Meade2:06 4/5
1932Burgoo KingBasil James2:05 1/5
1931Twenty GrandCharle Kurtsinger2:01 4/5
1930Gallant FoxEarl Sande2:07 3/5
1929Clyde Van DusenLinus McAtee2:10 4/5
1928Reigh CountCharle Lang2:10 2/5
1927WhiskeryLinus McAtee2:06
1926Bubbling OverAlbert Johnson2:03 4/5
1925Flying EboneEarl Sande2:07 3/5
1924Black GoldJohn D. Mooney2:05 1/5
1923ZevEarl Sande2:05 2/5
1922MorvichAlbert Johnson2:04 3/5
1921Behave YourselfCharles Thompson2:04 1/5
1920Paul JonesTed Rice2:09
1919Sir BartonJohn Loftus2:09 4/5
1918ExterminatorWilliam Knapp2:10 4/5
1917Omar KhayyamCharles 2:04 3/5
1916George SmithJohn Loftus2:04
1915RegretJoe Notter2:05
1914Old RosebudJohn McCabe2:03 2/5
1913DonerailRoscoe Goose2:04 4/5
1912WorthCarroll Hugh Shilling2:09 2/5
1911MeridianGeorge Archibald2:05
1910DonauGeorge Ham2:06 2/5
1909WintergreenVincent Powers2:08 1/5
1908Stone StreetArthur Pickens2:15 1/5
1907Pink StreetAndy Minder2:12 3/5
1906Sir HuonRoscoe Troxler2:08 4/5
1905AgileJack Martin2:10 3/4
1904ElwoodFrank Prior2:08 1/2
1903Judge HimesHarold Booker2:09
1902Alan-a-DaleJimmy Winkfield2:08 3/4
1901His EminenceJimmy Winkfield2:07 3/4
1900Lieut. GibsonJimmy Boland2:06 1/2
1899ManuelFred Taral2:12
1898PlauditWillie Simms2:09
1897Typhoon IIButtons Garner2:12 1/2
1896Ben BrushWillie Simms2:07 3/4
1895HelmaSoup Perkins2:37 1/2
1894ChantFrank Goodale2:41
1893LookoutEddie Kunze2:39 1/4
1892AzraAlonzo Clayton2:41 1/2
1891KingmanIsaac Murphy2:52 1/4
1890RileyIsaac Murph2:45
1889SpokaneThomas Kiley2:34 1/2
1888Macbeth IIGeorge Covington2:38 1/4
1887MontroseIsaac Lewis2:39 1/4
1886Ben AliPaul Duffy2:36 1/2
1885Joe CottonErkine Henderson2:37 1/4
1884BechananIsaac Murphy2:40 1/4
1883LeonatusWilliam Donohue2:43
1882ApolloBabe Hurd2:40 1/4
1881HindooJames McLaughlin2:40
1880FonsoGeorge Garret Lewis2:37 1/2
1879Lord MurpheyCharlie Shauer2:37
1878Day StarJimmy Carter2:37 1/4
1876Baden-BadenWilliam Walker2:38
1875VagrantBobby Swim2:38 1/4
1874AristridesOliver Lewis2:37 3/4