Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

The Kentucky Derby, presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), is the top betting race in the United States. It is highly-anticipated and features the best runners in the sport. Considered “The most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Derby runs at Churchill Downs on May 1. 

A field of the best three-year-old thoroughbreds covers a distance of 1 1/4 miles on a dirt track. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown series, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. 

Each year, the winner of the Kentucky Derby tries to win the remaining two races to become Triple Crown Champion, which has only happened 13 times in the series’ entire history. 

In 2015, the Kentucky Derby was listed along with the Whitney Handicap as the top Grade 1 race in the United States outside the Breeders’ Cup series. The listing was done by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA). 

Predictions for 2021 Kentucky Derby

The predictions and odds for the Kentucky Derby each year are based on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which is a series of top qualifying prep races in the months leading up to the big event. 

Some of these races include the UAE Derby at Meydan in Dubai, the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park, Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, among many others. Each race offers qualifying points on a different scale to the top four finishers, which are then used towards a spot in the Derby starting lineup. 

According to this year’s 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, some of the top names include Hot Rod Charlie, Midnight Bourbon, Greatest Honour, Life Is Good, Mandaloun, Concert Tour, Helium, Weyburn, Essential Quality, Proxy, and Medina Spirit. 

Here is a look at the latest odds for some of the top runners provided by


Morning Line Odds

Essential Quality


Greatest Honour 


Caddo River 


Concert Tour 


Highly Motivated 








Hot Rod Charlie 


Kentucky Derby History

Termed “The Run for the Roses,” the winner of the race is draped with a blanket of roses. The Kentucky Derby was the only one of the Triple Crown races to run interrupted for 144 years, but that streak broke when it was rescheduled to September in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Inaugurated in 1875, it was the last of the three Triple Crown races. The most well-known moment in Kentucky Derby history, even among those not interested in horse racing, was legendary runner Secretariat’s performance in 1964. In that year’s edition, he set the new record time at 1:59.4, which still holds strong today.

The Kentucky Derby has offered a purse of $3 million since 2019, and in 2020, a new starting gate was installed with twenty new stalls. The new gate changed the traditional starting approach of a 14-stall main starting gate and a 6-stall auxiliary gate. This new implementation is meant to increase horse and rider safety. 

The race is one of the most-watched sporting events worldwide, and it is one of the biggest betting days in the United States. In 2017, the race drew a crowd of 158,070 as Always Dreaming ran to victory. It was the seventh biggest attendance number in the racetrack’s history, and the wagering total reached an incredible $209.2 million on the racing program. 

Some of the more recent Kentucky Derby winners include Authentic (2020), Country House (2019), Justify (2018), Always Dreaming (2017), Nyquist (2016), and American Pharoah (2015).

The most recent Triple Crown champion was Justify in 2018, preceded by American Pharoah in 2015. 

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

It is easy to bet on the Kentucky Derby each year as it is the top race in the United States. Because of this, there are many options for online betting platforms, with some of the most popular, including TwinSpires, TVG, and BetAmerica. TwinSpires is the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.

All of these top online betting platforms provide you with the ability to bet on any of the races on the Kentucky Derby card, and they also offer live streaming, so you don’t miss out on any action. 

One of the best things you can do to prepare for Kentucky Derby betting is to focus on the lead-up prep races on the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby. There are 14 Championship Series races that are largely responsible for deciding who will break from the gate during the big event. 

These prep races take place until mid-April, and eight of them award qualifying points on a scale of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers. The first- and second-place finishers will automatically receive a spot in the starting gate if they have not yet qualified through point totals. 

By studying these races, you will already be set up to make winning bets in the Kentucky Derby. 

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