Horse Betting: Fairly Simple Ways You Can Wager on Kentucky Derby

Kevin Stott

Thursday, April 28, 2016 8:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016 8:30 PM UTC

Let’s give Mr. Ed a sugar cube and delve into the biggest race of the year that's over a week out with looks at some current Futures betting odds from Bovada for Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks.

For Those of You About to Superfecta and Trifecta, We Salute You...
The famous first leg of Horse Racing’s 2016 Triple Crown is set to take place next Saturday afternoon at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky with the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby. The other two legs of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown in the United States are the Preakness Stakes—to be held two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland (Saturday, May 21)—and the grueling 1½-mile Belmont Stakes, scheduled to be held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York (Saturday June 11). All races feature 3-year-old Thoroughbreds whose qualification is determined by a points system which was introduced in 2013. 

Let’s take a look at the current Bovada Futures Book Odds for both the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, as well as some Triple Crown odds from Executive Director of the Race and Sportsbook at Wynn Las Vegas, John Avello, along with some simple “How To’s” in Horse Racing betting along with some first-gut horse betting picks for Kentucky Derby Day as well as all of the basic information you’ll need about next Saturday’s Grade II Horse Race from the Bluegrass State.

2016 Kentucky Derby Information

What: 142nd Kentucky Derby

Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky

Distance: 1¼ miles

Course Type: Flat

Turf: Dirt

When: Saturday, May 7, 2016

TV Coverage: NBC

Race Post Time: 6:34 p.m. EDT/5:34 p.m. CDT/3:34 p.m. PDT

Draw: Wednesday, May 4—NBCSN, 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT

The Weather Channel Forecast, Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday, May 7: High of 78°, Intervals of Clouds and Sunshine, 71°, Winds NE 5 to 10 mph, Humidity 50%, UV Index 8 of 10.


2016 Kentucky Derby Futures Book—Bovada (Odds of April 27—In Current Odds Order)

Nyquist 3/1

Exaggerator 8/1

Mohaymen 10/1

Gun Runner 10/1

Brody’s Cause 12/1

Destin 14/1

Mo Tom 16/1

Mor Spirit 18/1

Suddenbreakingnews 20/1

Outwork 20/1

Creator 20/1

Danzing Candy 25/1

My Man Sam 25/1

Swipe 33/1

Lani 33/1

Whitmore 33/1

Shagaf 40/1

Cherry Wine 40/1

Gift Box 40/1

Matt King Coal 40/1

Smokey Image 50/1

Zulu 50/1

Dazzling Gem 50/1

Toms Ready 50/1

Airoforce 50/1

Cocked and Loaded 50/1

Flexibility 50/1

Greenpointcrusader 66/1

Adventist 66/1

Discreetness 66/1

Collected 66/1


2016 Kentucky Oaks Futures Book—Bovada (Odds of April 27—In Current Odds Order)

Rachel’s Valentina +225

Land Over Sea 5/1

Cathryn Sophia 5/1

Lewis Bay 6/1

Carina Mia 8/1

Terra Promessa 8/1

Weep No More 10/1

Go Maggie Go 12/1

Tap To It 12/1

Nemoralia 12/1

Off The Tracks 25/1

Dothraki Queen 25/1


2016 Odds to Win Triple Crown—Wynn Las Vegas (Odds of April 18, 2016)

Nyquist 11/1

Mohaymen 25/1

Mor Spirit 35/1

Exaggerator 40/1

Cupid 50/1

Gun Runner 60/1

Brody’s Cause 60/1

Outwork 65/1

My Man Sam 75/1

Mo Tom 85/1

Lani 100/1

Destin 125/1

Danzing Candy 150/1

Whitmore 150/1

Majesto 150/1

Shagaf 175/1

Dazzling Gem 175/1

Zulu 200/1

Oscar Nominated 200/1

Cherry Wine 200/1

Fellowship 200/1

Laoban 250/1

Adventist 250/1

Azar 300/1

Trojan Nation 300/1

Toms Ready 400/1


Some of the Fairly Simple Ways You Can Wager on Horse Racing

The most basic way to bet a Horse Race is to simply go with a Win (1st place), Place (2nd Place) or Show (3rd Place) bet. A Win bet is just like it sounds—the horse you bet on, determined by its’ Colors and Saddle Cloth Number, needs to win the race (come in 1st place) for you to win the bet. For example, last year’s (2015) Kentucky Derby winner was eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and he paid an impressive $7.80 to Win ($5.80 to Place, $4.20 to show) the Kentucky Derby on a payout listed for a (standard) $2 wager.

If you bet Place, you are betting (and hoping) that your Horse will finish 1st or 2nd. The payout is less with a Place bet, but there is more security and you get paid if your Horse finishes in either of the 1-2 spots. And a Show bet is even more broad-ranged, offering a payback for a horse finishing in any of the 1-2-3 spots, but the payback is considerably less than the Win and the Show wagers.

You can also bet that your horse finishes in one of those top three spots (1-2-3) in an Across The Board bet. And because you are basically getting three bets in one (Win-Place-Show), a standard $2 “Across The Board” wager will cost you $6. And using American Pharoah in that type of bet as an example using the results of last year’s race, someone putting $6 Across The Board on that winning Horse (American Pharoah) got paid at all three of those levels: Win $7.80, Place $5.80, Show $4.20.

If you bet a horse to Place (2nd) and it does finish 2nd, you get both Place and Show money. And if your horse finishes 3rd, you get just the Place winnings. One can also do the more rare Win/Show and Place/Show bets, which cost $4 for standard $2 bets as you’re basically getting two bets and have a better chance of possibly getting some money back.


Some More Complex and Entertaining Ways to Try to Win a Little Bit Extra Money
You can also try to pick the top top finishing (Win-Place) horses in a bet called an Exacta bet. Because a decent Long-shots finished at those 1-2 positions in 2014, a $2 Exacta bet (5-17 winning numbers) paid a robust and braggable $340. A notch up from the Exacta is the Trifecta—just like it sounds, nailing the top 3 horses in order. In the 2014 Kentucky Derby, a $2 Trifecta (5-17-4) bet rewarded its’ backers with a healthy $3,424.60 payday. And the Superfecta (first four places) is a great wager to make on the Kentucky Derby for those interested—especially with so many long-shots and mid-rangers coming through over the last decade, this Exotic Bet has had some really nice payouts for its’ winners and this type is usually for Fun and potentially some short-term, Life-Changing Cheese, depending on the size of the initial bet.

In 2014, the Superfecta (5-17-4-20) ended up paying a yes-you-read-it-right $15,383.80 on a $2 bet. And the Great Grandaddy Wager in this Exotic category is the seldom-bet and seldom-talked about $1 Super High Five, which two Mays ago would have rewarded its’ 5-17-4-20-6 backers new home money $149,764.70 and which rewarded its’ backers (18/10/8/15/5) last year (2015) with a handsome $6,658.30 payout. Get some.

If you are really interested in doing something a little more extioc like an Exacta Box or bets of the like, best consult a real Horse Handicapper or do some of your Homework. It’s Free and you will certainly know who to blame then. You can also bet head-to-head Horse Matchups, all sorts of odd combinations and some other fun props created specifically for The Fastest Two Minutes In Sports, and probably sportsbooks most profitable 2 minutes of the Calendar Year as all I ever remember hearing here in Las Vegas in the Racebooks in the Casinos after Kentucky Derbies were mass Sighs and Instant Quietness after 2 very quick minutes of drunken yelling at TV sets.

Fear and Loathing no doubt. But one thing that is important to know is that payouts (and odds) of Horse Races are a changing thing up until Post Time, and the numbers (odds) that you think you are betting (if you are new to it) are not like the other professional sports. The final betting odds (and payouts) ultimately are affected by how much money is bet into each entrant (and Tracks also have their takeouts). Or in short, you’ll (we’ll all) see when it’s over (or right before Post).


Last Year’s (2015) Kentucky Derby Winners and Some Exotics Payouts

Win—American Pharoah: $7.80 Win, $5.80 Place, $4.20 Show

Place—Firing Line: $8.40 Place, $5.40 Show

Show—Dortmund: $4.20 Show

$2 Exacta (18/10): $72.60

50¢ Trifecta (18/10/8): $50.50

$1 Superfecta (18/10/8/15): $634.10

$1 Super High Five (18/10/8/15/5): $6,658.30

50¢ Pick 3: $52.80

50¢ Pick 4: $527.45

50¢ Pick 5: $2,452.90

$2 Pick 6: (18/10/8/15/5): $6,658.30

$1 Double (5/18): $21.20


Conclusions: A Horse With a Really Strange Name is Sure to Win The Run For the Roses (Drip, Sarcasm, Drip)
It’s that time of year when my Spellcheck threatens to leave me for Google Images because of the strange names like Airoforce, Suddenbreakingnews, Danzing Candy and Greenpointcrusader I enter into her which She thinks—with her bits and bytes and not a Brain—are all wrong, wrong, wrong. Señora Spell Check wants them to be someone else but their Owners or those who originally named these Thoroughbreds 3 years ago named them what they wanted to be named and gave them funky-spelled names just to mess with Technologies like Señora Spell Check.

Quite honestly dear Reader, I’ve never liked the old lady since she won’t let me spell certain words the way I want to and will then suddenly accept things she deemed Redline-worthy earlier in our relationship. And I swear She just did it again with “Danzing Candy,” who had that Evil Spell Check Redline under his name before, but who now is free up-text although still deemed illegal in this sentence. Typical woman. Make up your mind, Thelma. And funny how none of the Fillies in the Oaks have that Redline.

I see you perpetrating and frustrating. Anyway, looking at the individual Jockeys, Trainers, Beyer Speed Figures, recent split times, lifetime records, a Horse’s individual lineage, and picking up a copy of the Daily Racing Form ($4) are some of the ways the serious Horse Handicappers approach this sport which can often prove to be an extremely tough way to try to grind out any gambling profits. Some information claims that around 90% of the races are won by the Top 10 Jockeys in a given meet, so, if you like that angle, see how Jockeys fared in races leading up to the Kentucky Derby next Saturday afternoon.

Favorites (in Horse Racing in general) win at about a 33% clip, but because of the Low Odds, betting (and trying to profit) on them can be more than challenging, as the last several Run For The Roses have proved. Taking chances on some long-shots combined with a solid favorite or two seems like a logical way to go these days, especially for the novice trying to just have some fun with the race while still offering a couple of long-shot ways to maybe be rewarded with a nice payout.

The Draw for the Post Positions for the Field of Horses (some may Scratch)—also something the serious handicapper takes into consideration—for the Kentucky Derby will be taking place on Wednesday (May 4) afternoon (NBCSN, 5:30 p.m. EDT/2:30 p.m. PDT), so if you’re looking for the individual Horses’ Saddle Cloth numbers and the actual Horses who will be running in this race, well, they’re not out just yet. And those spots each individual Horse draws will also affect the odds to some small degree, which again, will be changing from release all the way up until Post time, which is 10 minutes later this year.

And of note: Those normal bets Horse Racing gamblers make on races and race-day are different than the Futures Books odds above put out well ahead of time for those interested well in advance, with many horse offered in some initial Futures Books marketplaces not even qualifying for the Kentucky Derby itself. We’ll have another Preview next Friday here at Sportsbook Review when all the Horses are finalized and there are some real Odds and Saddle Cloth numbers for the big race next Saturday from Churchill Downs.


KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER PICK: Rachel’s Valentina +225 (Bovada)
KENTUCKY DERBY LONGSHOT PICKS: Destin 14/1, Mo Tom 16/1 (Bovada)
TRIPLE CROWN LONGSHOT PICK: Mo Tom 85/1 (Wynn Las Vegas)

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