How to Bet On Horses – Betting the Kentucky Derby
The biggest horse race of the season takes place this Saturday at fabled Churchill Downs with the running of the 2018 Kentucky Derby. This Grade 1 stakes race features the best three-year old thoroughbreds in the nation racing on the dirt track at Churchill over a distance of 1 ¼ miles. As many as 20 entries will compete for a share of the $2 million in total prize money.
All the top trainers are represented by at least one entry in this race as the featured event over two days of racing at Churchill starting with a full race card on Friday. Other major stakes events at this track this upcoming weekend include the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on Friday for the top three-year old fillies in the nation and Saturday’s $500,000 Old Forester Turf Classic. There is a full two days of betting action at Churchill Downs to test your handicapping skills leading up the Kentucky Derby late Saturday afternoon.
The easiest way to bet on the Kentucky Derby is to try and pick a winner. The morning line odds will be released later this week when the post positions for the race are drawn. You can bet on this race now using the futures odds posted at any number of online racebooks taking action on the Kentucky Derby through their racebook. In a race with this many horses in the field, post positions are a crucial factor when it comes to your handicapping efforts. That is why it makes sense to wait until the odds are posted at the track before placing any bets. You also want to make sure you know the jockey assignments for this race before putting any money down on a bet.
The easiest strategy for betting on the Kentucky Derby is to bet the favorite to win. Right now, it appears that trainer Bob Baffert’s Justify will be the top favorite to win based on the Kentucky Derby futures that has already been posted and updated as we get closer and closer to May 5. While it is easy to pick the favorite to win, that might not be the best betting strategy this year with a very deep and talented field of three-year old’s in the mix. Good Magic, trained by Chad Brown was the top juvenile last season and his futures odds to win are set at +825 verse the +180 futures odds on the board for Justify.
You can add trainer Todd Pletcher’s Magnum Moon to the list at +725 if you are looking for some of the best value in the numbers. One three-year old that caught my eye on the futures board at much longer +3500 odds is trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s Enticed.
If you are going to bet on one horse to win, you should probably bet them across the board in the place and show position as well. This will triple the amount that you will have to wager, but it gives you a much better chance to cash a winning ticket. If you are going to bet on an exacta (two horses finishing first and second) or on a trifecta (three horses finishing first, second and third) then you should always box that bet so the two or three horses can finish in any order.
Another important part of the handicapping process is to track the movement of the betting odds from when they are first released right up to Saturday’s post time. They odds will be changing constantly as all the betting money continues to come in. Any big changes in the odds are a good way to track where the sharps’ money might be going for this race.