2024 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

How to bet on the Kentucky Derby in New York

The historic Kentucky Derby takes place annually at Churchill Downs in early May. The race dates back to 1875 and every year assembles 20 of the nation’s top three-year-old thoroughbreds. It’s also called the “Run for the Roses” as a nod to the garland of 554 red roses draped over the winner. It is the first jewel in racing’s Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

This reference page examines Kentucky Derby history, New York horse betting options, the road to the Derby, and handicapping variables for the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.

Best Kentucky Derby betting app in New York

Betting on the Kentucky Derby via FanDuel Racing

While FanDuel has established itself as a go-to daily fantasy sports service as well as the top sportsbook in New York, it also powers FanDuel Racing. With both local and national races, FanDuel Racing now appears as a top platform for online horse betting in New York.

Easy to use and simple to navigate, FanDuel Racing caters to both racing enthusiasts and novices to the sport. When exploring the platform, users can find ways to bet on a wide array of races not only in the Empire State, but across the country. On top of that, for the newcomers, FanDuel Racing offers introductory courses, of sorts. Such as its “Racing 101” guide, which features betting tools and tips, how to read the odds and breaking down what kinds of bets exist.

Plus, FanDuel Racing has several promotional offers. New users who join FanDuel Racing can claim a No Sweat First Bet if their first single-horse bet loses. On top of that, for users who opt in for eligible races, FanDuel boasts “Win Bet Insurance,” which allows bettors to claim a bonus bet if your horse you wagered on to win finishes second or third.

When navigating FanDuel Racing, you will see a listing of the day’s popular races as well as events starting soon, with minute-to-minute countdowns for how long you have to get in on the action. What’s more, you can find a list of top racetracks across the country with available races in the dropdown menus.

From its simplicity to its easy-to-navigate platform, FanDuel Racing has put out a product that can attract vetran horse betting enthusiasts as well as newcomers to the sport. Perhaps most noteworthy, though, you can trust FanDuel Racing, part of the Flutter Entertainment company and the well-established and highly reputable FanDuel Sportsbook families.

2024 Kentucky Derby odds and betting favorites

The 2024 Kentucky Derby took place on Saturday, May 4. A week earlier, the draw was held to determine the post positions for the 20 horses that have qualified. The opening odds, aka the “morning line odds,” were also announced for each horse. Here’s how that draw went along with those opening odds:

Post PositionHorseMorning Line Odds
2Sierra Leone3-1
3Mystik Dan20-1
4Catching Freedom8-1
6Just Steel20-1
7Honor Marie20-1
8Just A Touch10-1
10T O Password30-1
11Forever Young10-1
12Track Phantom20-1
13West Saratoga50-1
15Domestic Product30-1
16Grand Mo The First50-1
20Society Man50-1
21Epic Ride50-1
Mugatu (Alternate)

When advance deposit wagering opened up, those odds began to change in response to where the money was going. By post time, eventual winner Mystik Dan‘s odds were at about 18-to-1, which meant any lucky bettor who wagered $2 on Mystik Dan to win won a handsome $39.22.

What are the Derby preps?

The Kentucky Derby has several tiers of qualifying races, with points, to determine the 20-horse field. The following events that take place during late March and early April have the most value:

  • Louisiana Derby
  • UAE Derby
  • Florida Derby
  • The Arkansas Derby
  • The Blue Grass
  • The Santa Anita Derby
  • The Wood Memorial

These events have become an excellent reference for sizing up the Kentucky Derby field. After observing the prep races and picking a Derby horse, what are the betting options?

Common Kentucky Derby bet types

There are a number of common bets when it comes to the Kentucky Derby.

  • Win: As it sounds, select the top horse. Odds are reasonable for any winner in this race, given the top competition. The minimum bet is usually $2.
  • Place: Choose a horse to finish second or higher. This will pay less than the win bet, but it provides a payout in the first and second slots.
  • Show: Bet on a horse to finish third or higher. This pays lower than win or place, but it pays out if your horse finishes first, second or third.
  • Exactas: Select the order of the top two finishers. It’s always good to box them. You’d hate to have the right two horses in the wrong order, especially in the Derby, with a 20-horse field.
  • Trifectas: Pick the top three finishers in order. Wagered via straight bet, this type of bet is a box of three or more horses, or a partial wheel.
  • The Box: A $1 trifecta box with three horses costs $6. Any combination of these three horses in the top three positions becomes a winning ticket.
  • The Key: For the same $6, bettors can place a horse in the first spot, followed by three others in the second and third slots. For example, a $1 trifecta key with the “1” over the “2-3-4” means the 1 horse must win and any combo of the 2-3-4 in the next two slots is a winning ticket. For $12, you can take that 1 horse in the first AND second position with the other three horses.
  • Superfecta: Pick the top four horses in the correct order. Same combinations as can be used for trifectas. The superfecta is often lucrative, but extremely hard to hit. The $1 Derby superfecta last year paid $7,925.80.

Other bets include Pick 3Pick 4Pick 5 and Pick 6. These involve bettors picking the winner in three, four, five and six straight races, respectively. If you make only one selection for each race, these bets can be entered for small amounts, such as $0.50 or $2.

Seasoned players will try to expand the ticket, taking multiple entries in most of the races. The key to this strategy is finding at least one race to have a “single.” That means you make just one selection in that race.

How to handicap the Derby

Combine the recent history of the race structure and modern technology. This has resulted in favorites usually winning the Derby or running very well.

A few years back, racing officials began disregarding sprint races in the qualifiers. That means Derby horses have to prove themselves at a distance.

For the Derby, this format eliminates the “speed” horses who set a blistering early pace and occasionally drew other horses into what’s known as a “speed duel.” This weakened the frontrunners and set up other horses, usually longshots, to rally from far back and win down the stretch. No more.

Now the eventual race winner is usually close to the lead early on, and times are slower than in the past. Up until a couple of years ago, the favorites were consistently running well in the Derby. Then in 2022 the horse Rich Strike shocked the racing world by winning with 80-1 odds, Mage won in 2023 at 15-1, and Mystik Dan won in 2024 at 18-1. Recent winners (and pre-race odds) include:

  • 2015: American Pharoah (5-2)
  • 2016: Nyquist (2-1)
  • 2017: Always Dreaming (9-2)
  • 2018: Justify (5-2)
  • 2019: Maximum Security (9-2); Country House (65-1) was later awarded the victory
  • 2020: Tiz the Law (3-5) was nipped in a thrilling stretch duel with Authentic (8-1)
  • 2021: Mandaloun (12-1). Medina Spirit (15-1) was the initial winner and was later disqualified after a months-long investigation into doping.
  • 2022: Race Strike (80-1)
  • 2023: Mage (15-1)
  • 2024: Mystik Dan (18-1)

Handicapping tips

First off, respect recent history. The Florida Derby winners have traditionally performed well. One possible explanation, however, is the five-week time between races, which may be ideal for some horses. In any case, this is a worthy handicapping variable.

Second, watch the prep races. You don’t even have to do this live. Simply watch a replay on YouTube. You want to evaluate the running style of the winning horse. Was he near the lead early or did he move late? Did he have an easy trip around the track or did he have to weave through a wall of horses to get top position? There is no prep race that exactly matches the 1¼-mile Kentucky Derby. It may be asking a lot from a horse that was fading at the end of a 1 1/8-mile race to improve at a longer distance.

Next, obtain a daily racing form, usually available online. This details a horse’s full history and may reveal matchups against other Derby participants.

Watching the early races on Derby day could also pay dividends. How is Churchill Downs playing that day? Are the frontrunners winning or are the winners coming from off the pace? Is there an edge on the inside, the middle or the outside of the track?

Beware the conditions. If there is a sudden downpour or rain throughout the day, all handicapping angles may become moot. Check the weather throughout the week.

Lastly, don’t put everything on one horse. The Derby is famous for horses being trapped in logjams and never finding racing room. Have a backup ticket in case your favorite horse gets what’s known in the industry as a “bad trip.”

Where to bet in NY

Aqueduct11000 Rockaway BlvdOzone Park
Belmont Park2150 Hempstead TurnpikeElmont
Buffalo Raceway5600 McKinley ParkwayHamburg
Finger Lakes5857 NY-96Farmington
Monticello Raceway204 NY 17 BMonticello
Saratoga Race Course267 Union AveSaratoga Springs
Tioga Downs2834 W. River RdNichols
Vernon Downs4229 Stuhlman RdVernon
Yonkers Raceway810 Yonkers AveYonkers

Kentucky Derby highlights

Legendary Secretariat set the Derby record in 1973 with a time of 1:59.40. Secretariat had the all-time Triple Crown run in 1973, establishing records in the Derby, the Preakness (1:53) and Belmont Stakes (2:24) that still stand nearly 50 years later.

The biggest Kentucky Derby longshot win came in 1913, when Donerail paid out at 91-1 odds.

The highest attendance ever was in 2015, with 170,513 people.

Thirteen horses have gone on from the Kentucky Derby to win the Triple Crown. They are:

Horse (Year)
Sir Barton (1919)
Gallant Fox (1930)
Omaha (1935)
War Admiral (1937)
Whirlaway (1941)
Count Fleet (1943)
Assault (1946)
Citation (1948)
Secretariat (1973)
Seattle Slew (1977)
Affirmed (1978)
American Pharoah (2015)
Justify (2018)

The last two Triple Crown champions have been led by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. He is tied with Ben Jones for most Derby wins (six).

Kentucky Derby FAQ

Yes. The FanDuel Racing horse betting app provides an option for New York bettors to wager on the Derby, and there are other horse betting apps to choose from, as well.

NBC is the broadcast home for the Kentucky Derby. You can catch the main race and other races there, while NBCSN will also chime in with coverage of the preliminaries. For streaming, NBC Sports provides coverage online and via its app.

Approximately two minutes.

Nearly $1 million, courtesy of the era of superfecta payouts for the top four finishing spots and a longshot race for the ages. In 2005, Giacomo prevailed at 50-1, followed by Closing Argument at 71-1 and Afleet Alex at 9-2. Don’t Get Mad completed the superfecta at 29-1. The ticket paid an unbelievable $864,000 for the $2 superfecta, still the largest Derby payout ever.

The purse for the 2024 Kentucky Derby was the largest ever at $5 million. The winner received $3.1 million of that prize pool, and the runner-up $1 million. The rest went to the next three finishers, with $500,000 for third, $250,000 for fourth, and $150,000 for fifth.

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