How To Find The Kentucky Derby Winner And Odds

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As the premier race in the United States of America, the Kentucky Derby betting is always sure to attract plenty of interest. The significance of this three-year-olds only dirt race over 2 km at Churchill Downs cannot be understated. As the first leg of the US Triple Crown, only 13 Kentucky Derby horses in history have followed-up by winning the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico and then the Belmont Stakes on the edge of New York at the eponymous Belmont Park. It’s definitely a race that matters.


Finding the best Kentucky Derby odds can be tricky if you’re a UK punter. The time difference between Great Britain and America across the Atlantic means you’re in for a late night if you want to watch the race live, but help is at hand here if you’re seeking the winner. Here’s some expert advice to consider not only in what to look for, but how to get the value in the Kentucky Derby betting.


What can winning Kentucky Derby horses have in common?

When looking at the Kentucky Derby race card, what are the kind of things you should be looking out for? Well, first and foremost are trainers with previous successes in this much anticipated annual contest at Churchill Downs. As it’s only open to three-year-old thoroughbreds, no horse can win it more than once. However, that doesn’t mean trainers haven’t enjoyed multiple successes.

The most successful handler in modern times to look out for is Bob Baffert. He has trained five Kentucky Derby winners, including two colts that went on to complete the American Triple Crown in American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018). Doug O’Neill and Todd Pletcher are each two-time winning trainers of the Kentucky Derby. It can also be worthwhile following certain jockeys. Mexican rider Victor Espinoza has piloted three horses to victory in the race, while Puerto Rico born John Velazquez has landed two renewals in recent years.



Despite getting a 5lb sex allowance, only three fillies have ever won the race; so, unless there is an exceptional female thoroughbred on the Kentucky Derby race card, they can be discounted. It invariably tends to be colts who win, but geldings are allowed to run too – unlike in the British Classics. Looking a horse’s pedigree and, if it has any big race winners over this distance among its ancestors, is another way of assessing potential.

It is very rare for a Kentucky Derby winner to not have raced as a juvenile. Just two horses in the storied history of this event have landed the spoils without competing as a two-year-old. The first was Apollo way back in 1882 and the other Justify in 2018. As with any creatures who race, horses gain experience from having runs and, although they can have too many outings that leaves them exposed against rivals, there is happy medium between too much racing and not enough.

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How to make the Kentucky Derby betting work for you

Once you’ve found a horse you like, then it’s just a matter of making sure that the Kentucky Derby odds are in your favour. There are several ways to do this. One method of getting extra value is to use a price boost. Certain bookmakers will allow you a daily bet boost, even on international horse racing like this, to play with. It’s about using those intelligently – perhaps on a quiet day of racing when you don’t have any fancies running elsewhere before placing it on one of those horses on the Kentucky Derby race card.

Looking at an each-way punt – backing a thoroughbred both to win and place – is another way into the Kentucky Derby betting. This way, you can still make a profit – depending on the price – if the horse you back finishes in the first three. There’s also a scenario where you go each-way, then find the Kentucky Derby winner and odds payout the full price on the win part of the wager, then a fraction of the outright for the place bit. That is always satisfying. What’s most important is make sure to bet when the Kentucky Derby odds turn in your favour. There will be plenty of great racehorses for you to get your bets on!


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