147th Kentucky Derby Betting and Picks Information

The first Saturday in May is one of the most well-known events in the horse racing calendar. Even most non-horse racing fans have probably seen at least one Kentucky Derby in their lifetime. Although the Derby is one of thousands of races that take place around the country every year, it’s prestige is undeniable, standing as one of the marquee sporting events of the year. This year’s running will take place on May 1, 2021 at historic Churchill Downs.

When: Saturday May 1st, 2020
Post Time: 6:50 pm ET
Where: Churchill Downs (Louisville, KY)
How to Watch: NBC or stream on online wagering platforms

The Undercard

Many will tune in for the main event, but the Kentucky Derby is actually the culmination of the two biggest racing days at Churchill Downs all year. Much like a prize fight there is a litany of intriguing contests on the undercard that provide great betting opportunities. On Friday, April 30 there will be a slew of graded stakes races including the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. This is the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby for female horses. One of the more popular bets is to play an Oaks-Derby Double which requires you to pick the winner of both the filly race on Friday and theDerby on Saturday. It can be a fun inexpensive way to stretch your gambling dollar across two days.

Saturday also features seven graded stakes races, four of which are Grade 1 events. These races will feature many prominent runners from other divisions within horse racing. These races will play a significant role in the horizontal bets, which are like parlays in sports betting, as parts of the pick 3, pick 4, pick 5, and pick 6 wagers.

The Main Event

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most unique horse races of the year for a number of reasons. For starters, the field is 20 horses which is unheard of in American horse racing. The field is so big in fact that for years Churchill Downs had to attach an extra starting gate onto their main gate just to accommodate it. In 2020 they purchased a specialty gate with 20 stalls that is used for this one race. Another unique difference is that the Kentucky Derby is one of a handful of races run at a classic distance which is 10 furlongs or a mile and a quarter. The horses running in this race are 3 years old, which means they have only been racing for a little over a year at the most and have never run this far in their lives. Handicappers are forced to not only figure outwho has the most ability, but also project if the horse can carry that ability all the way to the finish line.

Trends in the Derby

The trends listed below only account for stats since 2013 when the Derby introduced a points system to qualify for the race.

  • Every winner since the Road to the Kentucky Derby series was introduced entered the Derby with 100 or more points. This excludes Country House who was moved up to first after a disqualification in 2019. Maximum Security, the disqualified horse had eclipsed the 100 point mark entering the Derby.
  • All but one winner (Orb, 2013) won the final race before running in the Derby.
  • Six out of 8 winners were undefeated as three year olds before winning the Derby.
  • Prior to the points system the Derby was a fairly unpredictable event leading to winner’s like Giacomo in 2005 who paid $102.50 for every $2 bet to win. However, since the points system was introduced the Derby has gone formful with favorites crossing the linefirst in 7 of the 8 runnings. Again, Country House was declared the winner over favorite Maximum Security in 2019. In 2020 Authentic won as the third betting choice.
  • Bob Baffert leads all active trainers with 6 Kentucky Derby victories including three since 2015.
  • Four active jockeys have one the Derby 3 times. Kent Desormeaux won in 1998, 2000, and 2008. Victor Espinoza won in 2002, 2014, and 2015 and would take American Pharoah on to break the 37 year Triple Crown drought. Calvin Borel went on a tear winning 3 of 4 Derby titles between 2007 and 2010 but has failed to find the winner circlesince. John Velazquez was the latest jockey to win 3 times when he rode Authentic to a victory in 2020. His previous two were in 2017 on Always Dreaming and in 2011 with Animal Kingdom. Velzquez is the only rider poised for a mount in the 2021 “Run for the Roses” as he is named as the jockey on 3 of the top 25 horses on the Derby trail.

Betting the Kentucky Derby

There are many ways to wager on the Kentucky Derby even from the comfort of your own living room. There are several betting apps that are legal in states where online wager is permitted.

Among the most popular are TVG and Twinspires. Before signing up for either of these AdvanceDeposit Wagering sites, check their websites for promotions that could allow you free money viaa signup bonus or through promotions while betting. For players who will be with groups on Derby day Twinspires does offer a betshare option which new players may find appealing. This feature allows a player to put together a bet and then offer shares up to other people with Twinspires accounts. This helps defray the cost of wagers. If your bet wins the app will automatically divide the profits out to each player in the bet based on what percentage of the wager they purchased.

Wagering Menu

The Churchill Downs wagering menu for the day will consist of several different wagers. Below you will find explanations of each bet type. Relative difficulty in the charts is based on other betsin that category. The average payout is using the average of Derby payouts since the use of thepoints system in 2013. The numbers a bit skewed because Country House was elevated to victory following a disqualification which created an outlier in the 2019 payouts.

Single Horse Bets

The allure of these bets is that you only have to be right about one horse in one race. These arethe least difficult wagers to cash, but also produce the lowest payouts.

Bet Type What Has to Happen to Win the Bet Minimum
Wager Amount
Win Your horse must finish 1st $2 Hard $25.58
Place Your horse must finish 1st or 2nd $2 Hard $12.43
Show Your horse must finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd $2 Hard $7.15

Vertical Exotic Wagers

For those looking for a bit more of a challenge there are a number of vertical exotics that are offered. These bets require you to select the finishing position of multiple horses in the race. They are significantly more challenging than single horse bets because while the best horse may win, the second best horse may not end up running second. Nevertheless they can offer a lot of reward if you hit them. These bets can sometimes provide additional value on your bet even if the heavy favorite wins.

Bet Type What Has to Happen to Win the Bet Minimum
Wager Amount
Exacta You must pick the 1st & 2nd finishers in order $1 Easy $305
Trifecta You must pick the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd finishersin order $0.50 Medium $1,662
Superfecta You must pick the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th finishers in order $0.10* Hard $2,404

*In 2020 the Kentucky Derby reduced the minimum wager from $1 to $0.10. The average payout reflects the $1 payouts divided by 10.

When it comes to these vertical exotics, many people use a “box” which means you pick the horses and they can come in any order. While this does provide more coverage, it is important to know that the bettor still pays for every combination in the box. For example, a $1 exacta box with 2 horses has two combinations (1-2 and 2-1) which would cost $2 or $1 for each way the horses can finish on the ticket. A three horse $1 exacta box would cost $6 because you would need to cover all possible combinations of 1-2, 2-1, 1-3, 3-1, 2-3, and 3-2. The advantage to using more horses than placings is that in the ticket above the #3 horse can finish off the board and the player can still win if the 1 and 2 finish first and second. The disadvantage is that only one ticket can be a winner so the more tickets that are covered, the more money a player is taking off the table when they do have a winning opinion.

Horizontal Exotic Wagers

These wagers span over multiple races. The advantage to these bets is that you only have to pick the winner, but the complication of selecting those winners in multiple races is what makes these wagers more difficult. These bets will be listed as daily doubles or pick x, where x is the number of legs you have to get right. For example, a pick 3 would require you to pick 3 straight winners. For players new to the game these wagers can be daunting because it requires handicapping more than one race. While most people are focused on the Derby and would prefer the single race bets, there is one very popular horizontal bet that can be a great action bet for someone looking to stretch their money over the two day racing event.

The Oaks-Derby Double is a bet with a $1 minimum and requires that a bettor place the bet prior to the running of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday. The player selects the horse they think will win the Oaks and the horse they think will win the Derby. Players can pick multiple horses in each leg (race of the bet). For example, four horses in the Oaks plus two in the Derby would cost $8 (4x2x$1).

Bet Type What Has to Happen to Win the Bet Minimum
Wager Amount
Oaks Derby Double You must pick the winner of the Oaks on Friday
and the Derby on Saturday
$1 Easy $241.05

Daily Horse Picks is Here to Help

The Derby can be overwhelming for someone new to the sport. The diverse number of wageringoptions available is extensive. Nevertheless the Derby is one of the best wagering opportunities in the racing calendar. Some bettors like to choose horses based on their favorite name or the jockey wearing the colors they like the best. These are all perfectly reasonable ways to select horses if you’re just looking to have a fun day at a Derby party. However, if you’re looking for an edge and truly want to handicap the entries in the race, Daily Horse Picks offers a number of products that can help you make your picks.

In 2020 Authentic upset Tiz The Law paying $18.80 for every $2 wagered. Players using Daily Horse Picks speed and pace analysis tool would have noticed that horses with speed designations of “Fast” or “Fastest” and pace designations of “Leader” all won at a 29% clip while horses with a pace designation of “Leads” won at only 14% at Churchill Downs. Authentic was designated by DHP as a “Fast/Leader” while Tiz The Law was listed as a “Fastest/Leads”. For DHP users this tool could have tipped them off to a potential upset and much better value as Tiz The Law would have paid $3.40 on the same $2 bet if he would have won. While horse racing is an unpredictable sport the advanced artificial intelligence handicapping of DHP can be a huge asset to helping you make make on the first Saturday in May.

For access to the Daily Horse Picks speed and pace analysis tool as well as expert picks, win/place/show percentages, speed/class/pace ratings and more visit https://www.dailyhorsepicks.com/buy

If you are looking to maximize your use of the Daily Horse Picks tools, a helpful tip is to purchase the weekly package for $9.99 on Monday or Tuesday of Derby week. Churchill Downswill be running on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday prior to the Derby on Saturday. This can be a great opportunity for you to follow along with the results and practice making different selections with the DHP tools. By doing this you have the opportunity to see which variables you want to prioritize when creating your Derby tickets.