Kentucky Derby Betting Tips

We figured you might need a New2Horseracing refresher before the big race next week. You know a little thing called the Kentucky Derby (WINK). Below are some great tips thanks to the experts at Churchill Downs, the home of the the Kentucky Derby, to help you look and bet like a pro.

And remember folks, if you don’t use it, you lose it, so you best practice up.  And lucky you, Thurby is this Thursday! Grab a friend, catch some races, and test your betting skills. General admission is only $15 or grab a spot in the brand new Courtyard, a spacious green space on the stretch of the race track, for $65. Either way, you’ll be a winner.

Betting tips

How to Read the Program

Photo courtesy of Amador DeLaTorre/New2Lou.

  1. Race info - At the top of the page for each race you can get key information about the race including race number, how long the race is and what kind of race it is
  2. Horse name - Each horse’s name can be found in bold
  3. Odds - Each horse’s initial odds can be found directly to the right of its number.  The initial odds tell you which horses the experts think will be favored by bettors.  The odds on a horse will change once the pools open and people start betting, since they are a reflection of how much money has been bet on them.
  4. Past races – below the horses name is a list of their previous racing, starting with the most recent at the top
    Date of the Race - On the very left, you can see that date that the race was run
  5. Location - Next to the date is a two letter code that tells you what track that race was run.  Churchill Downs is denoted by CD.
  6. Type of race - The third column tells you what kind of race it was.  “Stk” is a stakes race, and the level of Stakes race is shows by a G1, G2, G3.  G1 is the most competitive race a horse can run in.
    How they did - The numbers following the race description tell you how that horse did in the race.  The number means what place the horse was in during the race and then how well they finished.
  7. Jockey - To the right of the horses name you can find the name of the jockey who will be riding the horse in this race.  It’s important to know what jockeys do well at what track because that can help you pick a winner.  Jockeys who do well tend to also get better horses to ride.  Popular jockeys at Churchill Downs include Joel Rosario, Corey Lanerie and Rosie Napravnik.  You can check a jockey’s standings for the meet in the beginning of the program and you can see their record for the meet right under their name.
  8. Race record - In the top right corner of every horse’s information you can find their race record for this year, last year, their lifetime, and at Churchill downs.  Next to each line there are four numbers which tell you the # of starts, wins, 2nds, and 3rd place finishes, respectively.

Best Bets

Photo courtesy of NY Daily News.

  1. Basic bets include Win, Place and Show
    1. A Win bet is betting that the horse will finish in first place
    2. A Place bet is a wager that the horse will finish in either first or second place
    3. A Show bet is a wager that the horse will finish in either first, second, or third place
  2. More intermediate bets include the Exacta, Trifecta, and Boxes and are more difficult to win, but have a much higher payout.  These also typically have a lower minimum bet so it costs less to make these wagers.
    1. An exacta is a wager where you have to select the two horses that will finish the race in first and second place in the correct order
    2. A Trifecta is a wager where you must select the three horses what will finish the race in first, second and third place in exact order
    3. Boxing a wager allows you to make a bet where you do not have to specify the order that the horses will finish in.  For example, an exacta box wager on horses 1, 2, and 3 means that any of those three horses must finish in first and second place in any order.  These bets are more expensive than a normal exacta or trifecta because there are more wagers being made and therefor more chances to win!
  3. How to wager at the window***
    1. Say the name of the track
    2. Say the number of the race
    3. Say the wager amount
    4. Say the wager type
    5. Say the horse’s program number

***For example, Churchill Downs, Race 4, $2 Win on #5***

That’s all for now folks. May the odds be ever in your favor.


The New2Lou Team

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