Beginner’s Guide to Betting the Kentucky Derby

Sometimes it is easy to forget that not everyone has experience wagering on horses.  I know from first-hand experience that it can be a little bit intimidating if it is your first time.  Since the Kentucky Derby is the most popular horse race in the world, there are millions of people that will bet on this race, and possibly no other the rest of the year.

I have broken down the different types of bets that can be placed, which is what I’m sure most of you are interested in.  Note that these types of wagers can be used for betting on just about any type of horse race, including the Kentucky Derby.

Most Common Types of Wagers: Win/Place/Show

Win – If you bet a horse to win and your horse finishes first, your bet is a winner.  It’s as easy as that!

Place – With this bet your horse needs to finish first or second for you to have a winning ticket.  Keep in mind that the payout may be lower because it is split two ways.

Show – A “Show” bet means you’ll bet your horse to finish either first, second, or third.  You’ll win if it finishes in any of the three places, but of course the payout is lower because you have more chances to win.

Exotic Bets for Dummies: Quiniela, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Boxes & More

Quiniela – To make this bet you have to pick the two horses you think will finish first and second in either order. This is where things get a little harder as you are forced to find two horses instead of one.

Exacta – This bet is pretty much the same idea as the Quiniela, but you are required to pick the two horses that will finish 1st and 2nd in the exact order.  It pays much better than a Quiniela because of this.

Exacta Box – You get to pick two or more horses with this bet and they have to finish in the top two in any order for a winning wager.

Trifecta – Trifecta is like the Exacta but tougher to win. You are required to pick the exact 1-2-3 finish of the race.

Trifecta Box – This is a little easier than the normal Trifecta, as you pick three horses to finish in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in any order. This is a popular bet for your big-time horse bettors, but we advise any newcomers to stay away from this unless you have good knowledge of the horse race.

Superfecta – To win this bet you really need to have some luck.  You must pick the exact order of the first four horses to cross the finish line. Its hard enough to pick one or two horses to finish in order; picking 4 is nearly impossible.  That’s why the payouts are massive on these.

Pick 3 – This requires you to step up your game and pick the winner of three consecutive races.

Pick 6 – Like the Pick 3, but you have to do the difficult task of picking six straight winners.

Daily Double – This is pretty similar to the last two, but it only requires you to pick the winners of the first two races of the day.

Boxing Your Bet – This is where a lot of people get lost, but it’s actually much easier to understand than you might think.  If you box your exacta, trifecta, or superfecta, you don’t have to get the order of the horses correct, you just have to pick the right horses.  For example, an Exacta Box on the #2 and #5 horses would mean that those horses just need to come in first and second in any order.  Just keep in mind that these wagers cost much more than your straight bets because you are increasing your chances of winning.

When & Where to Make a Bet on the Race

You can place your bets at a live racetrack near you, or at an online sportsbook.  The thing about horse betting is that the odds change up until the race, so your payout won’t be based on the odds you get in right now, but on the final odds once the race goes off.  That’s why you shouldn’t place your bets too early.  It can only hurt you.  You may feel like you are getting value on a horse at huge odds early, only to have those odds plummet on race day.  If this happens, then your value is likely gone.

How to Place a Bet on the Kentucky Derby

If you’re at the track and you don’t know how to place a bet, then here’s a little tip for you.  Go up to the pay window and give the amount you want to bet, the number of your horse, and then the name of the bet.  For example, if you wanted the #1 horse to win for $10, you would say this; “Give me $10 on 1 to win”.  If you want to bet a $10 exacta box on 1 & 7, meaning the 1 & 7 have to come in first and second in any order, then you would say this; “Give me a $10 exacta box on 1 & 7”.  If you are fortunate enough to have a winning ticket, then just return it to the betting window and collect your winnings.

2017 Kentucky Derby Odds

Horse Odds
Always Dreaming 3/1
McCraken 15/4
Gunnevera 11/2
Irap 11/2
Irish War Cry 11/2
Classic Empire 6/1
Practical Joke 8/1
Girvin 14/1
Gormley 15/1
Lookin at Lee 15/1
Tapwrit 16/1
Thunder Snow 18/1
Hence 20/1
J Boys Echo 25/1
Battle of Midway 35/1
Sonneteer 35/1
Untrapped 35/1
Royal Mo 40/1
Cloud Computing 45/1
Patch 45/1
Fast and Accurate 50/1
State of Honor 55/1
Petrov 70/1

This list of odds is as of May 1st, 2017, which is just five days from the Kentucky Derby on May 6th.  These odds are sure to change as more action comes in.  But as of right now, Always Dreaming is the favorite at 3/1.  A $2.00 bet on Nyquist to win would profit you roughly $6.00.  A $2.00 bet on second-favorite McCraken (15/4) to win would profit you roughly $7.50, and so on and so forth.

There you have it.  Hopefully for any newcomers out there this helps them to better understand how to bet on this year’s Kentucky Derby, or to at least learn some of the lingo so you know what people are talking about!  Thanks for reading and good luck!

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