How To Bet On Horse Racing – Kentucky Derby Guide

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Betting on the Kentucky Derby offers an exciting chance to engage with one of the world’s most prestigious horse racing events. Horse racing employs a unique odds system, distinct from traditional sports betting. Grasping these odds is crucial for making informed bets.

how to bet on horse racing

Understanding Horse Racing Odds

Decimal Odds in Horse Racing

Horse racing often uses fractional odds, yet decimal odds may also appear, catering to those familiar with various betting forms. Decimal odds indicate the total payout per dollar bet if you win, including your initial stake. For instance, a horse at odds of 81.00, or 80/1 fractionally, pays $81 on a $1 bet if it wins. This payout includes your original dollar, netting an $80 profit.

Here’s how it works:

  • Fractional Odds: Betting $1 at 80/1 yields $80 profit plus your $1 back.
  • Decimal Odds: A $1 bet at 81.00 returns $81 total, encompassing your initial $1.

Understanding that the decimal includes your stake explains why the payout seems higher at first compared to fractional odds.

This knowledge can boost your betting strategy, particularly as major platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM now offer horse racing bets, including for the Kentucky Derby. These sites allow you to choose the odds format you prefer, be it fractional, decimal, or American.

Traditional Sports Betting Odds

In sports like basketball or football, you see odds like +100 or -250. +100 means a $100 bet wins $100, showing even odds. Conversely, -250 means betting $250 to win $100, suggesting a likely outcome.

Shifting from traditional sports odds to horse racing odds can be challenging due to their different implications for risk and reward. Horse racing odds fluctuate until post time, reflecting the impact of collective wagers on potential payouts.

Betting on the Kentucky Derby Through Major Sportsbooks

In 2024, platforms such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM began offering Kentucky Derby betting, increasing accessibility for seasoned bettors.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby on These Platforms:

  • Log In or Sign Up: Use your account or create one by providing personal details and funding your account.
  • Navigate to Horse Racing: Go to the horse racing section. The Kentucky Derby will likely be highlighted as the race approaches.
  • Place Your Bets: You can choose from various bets. Beyond the basic win, place, and show bets, you might find exotic bets like exactas, trifectas, and superfectas that predict multiple horses’ finish order.
  • Watch and Win: After betting, you might watch the race live on these platforms, depending on your location and the site’s features.

Tips for Kentucky Derby Betting

  • Research Thoroughly: Examine horses’ past performances, jockey experience, and relevant stats.
  • Understand the Field: The large field at the Derby adds unpredictability.
  • Check the Weather: Track conditions significantly influence race outcomes.

Diving into Kentucky Derby betting on familiar sportsbooks can enrich your experience, applying your knowledge of odds and strategies across sports. Always bet responsibly, setting limits to keep the activity enjoyable and safe.

Looking for more information about the best sportsbooks offers? Go to our list of the top sportsbook promotions in your state.

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Griffin UlshGriffin Ulsh
Griffin Ulsh, a Journalism and Communications graduate from the University of Oregon, is the Customer Experience (CX) Manager at With a year at BH, Griffin transitioned from recruiting and sales in the book printing industry to customer experience with Betting Hero. He loves following college football and the NBA and enjoys digging into stats and insights for all sports to find stories to tell.