The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday, May 4, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s the biggest horse racing betting event of the year. Odds and various bet types are available on the top online betting sites. Below is a closer look at how to bet on the Kentucky Derby.

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How to bet on the Kentucky Derby

Betting on the Kentucky Derby is legal and available in multiple states. To do so, you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Sign up and register for a legal horse betting site like FanDuel Racing
  2. Claim any welcome bonuses and make a deposit to fund your account.
  3. Search for and select Churchill Downs as the track.
  4. Scroll through the list of available races and select the Kentucky Derby. This will likely be the second to last race listed.
  5. Review the Kentucky Derby odds for all of the horses in the field and make your decision(s).
  6. Review your betting options, as you will be given the option for win, win/place, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta.
  7. When ready to wager, click the odds that correspond with your selection(s).
  8. Your choice will move over to your betting slip.
  9. Enter the amount you wish to wager while making sure you meet the required minimum.
  10. Click to confirm and place your wager.

FanDuel Racing is one of the leading horse racing betting apps and a top destination for Kentucky Derby bettors. It’s available as a standalone product in 14 states: AR, CA, DE, FL, ID, MN, MT, NH, NM, ND, OR, RI, SD, and WA. In the 14 other states that it’s currently available in – CO, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, NY, OH, PA, VA, WV, and WY – FanDuel Racing is integrated into its sportsbook product and features a shared wallet.

Available Kentucky Derby bets

There are several different ways to wager when it comes to online horse betting and the Kentucky Derby. At the top of the list are the main single-race bets

  • Win: A bet on a horse to win the race.  
  • Place: If you bet on a horse to place, you’ll win your bet if your horse manages to finish first or second. 
  • Show: Your horse needs to finish in the top three spots. 

You can also tie all three of the wagers together into a win/place/show bet. Known as betting across the board, the goal is to make a clean sweep if you land on the horse that wins the race. If you do so, you’ll win all three bets. 

Unlike betting on other sports, the amount of your potential payout is not directly tied to odds that the book sets, but rather to the amount of money in the pari-mutuel pool. For example, a winning bet will depend on the total dollar amount in the pool for that bet and the number of betting tickets. 

You can also take your chances on bets with multiple horses, aka exotics. While such wagers are not easy to win consistently, the payout can be large if you do manage to get one right. 

  • Exacta: Pick the top two horses in the race, in the correct order. 
  • Trifecta: Like an exacta, but picking the top three horses.
  • Superfecta: As above, but for this one, you need to pick the top four horses.  
  • SuperHighFive: Bet on five horses to finish in spots one through five. 

As mentioned, for all of these bets, you’re attempting to pick the horses in the exact order. You can also box your selections, which means the order no longer matters. Another option is to wheel your picks, which means that you are mixing up your selections for each finishing position in various ways.  

The cost for exotic wagers can quickly climb based on the number of selections that you include on the ticket. As always, there are no guarantees simply because you think you’re covering more bases, so be sure to keep that in mind as you build your bets. 

Last but not least, while the Kentucky Derby is the biggest race of the day, the card at Churchill Downs also contains other races. You can bet on each of them individually as well, but there are also ways to bet on multiple winners across the day. 

  • Pick 3
  • Pick 4
  • Pick 5
  • Pick 6

For all of the above, the goal is to pick the winner in a number of consecutive races: three for the pick 3 and so on. The minimum wager for these bets is typically small, but you can make multiple picks for each race, with the cost rising accordingly.

There are several two-day bets combining races from the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Day cards. One of the most popular bets, the Oaks/Derby Double, requires bettors to select the winner of Friday’s Kentucky Oaks and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Other unique horse betting wagers include a two-day Pick 3 and Pick 6 beginning on Friday, Kentucky Oaks Day, and an All-Dirt Pick 5 on Kentucky Derby Day.

Kentucky Derby Betting Strategies & Tips

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular betting events on the spring sports calendar. It’s perhaps the top highlight of the year for seasoned horse racing bettors, but also a sporting event that attracts a huge amount of interest from casual fans. Here’s a look at some popular Kentucky Derby betting strategies and tips.

Best site for betting on the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby kicks off the Triple Crown of horse racing and sets the stage for the two other signature events: the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. For betting on horse racing legally in the US, FanDuel Racing is a solid option. The site provides coverage for all of the top tracks across the globe, and betting on major races such as the Kentucky Derby is among the featured offerings. 

FanDuel Racing also has a clear layout that makes it easy to use. You can sort through the upcoming races with ease, and there are even some built-in options — some of which are free — that can help you handicap the races. The racebook is available on the web and via mobile devices, and it also has live streaming and a dedicated channel for horse racing action.

Signing up for Kentucky Derby betting

The sign-up process at FanDuel Racing is fairly quick. Head to the site via the link above to claim the welcome bonus, and then do the following: 

To begin wagering, you’ll then need to make a deposit. The available banking options may vary by state, but they typically include the following: 

Deposits will process instantly, so you can expect to see the money in your account immediately. When it’s time to make a withdrawal, processing times can vary based on the method that you choose, but things tend to move quickly here, as well. 

Explore more horse racing options

There are a variety of ways to wager on horses other than the Kentucky Derby, including additional big races throughout the year that offer options for bettors looking to get in the action.

2024 Kentucky Derby morning line odds and post positions

The full field, post positions, and 2024 Kentucky Derby odds will come out in the days leading up to the race. For now, the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” is underway. Horses are competing to earn qualifying points based on how they fare in the prep races. Here is the current top 10 in the points standings:

  • 1. Sierra Leone – 155
  • 2. Fierceness – 136
  • 3. Catching Freedom – 125
  • 4. Stronghold – 125
  • 5. Resilience – 110
  • 6. Forever Young (JPN) – 100
  • 7. Endlessly – 100
  • 8. Dornoch – 75
  • 9. Just A Touch – 75
  • 10. Track Phantom – 70

Road to the Kentucky Derby standings last updated: April 15, 2024

In addition to the point standings, there’s also a series of futures pools that are held in the run-up to the event. The first pool was open from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, 2023. The sixth and final Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool closed Saturday, April 6 with Fierceness as the 5-2 favorite. Sierra Leone was the second choice with closing odds of 7-1. Only six horses in the pool had final odds of 12-1 or less. The total horse betting handle for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 6 was $376,038.

  • Fierceness – 5-2
  • Sierra Leone – 7-1
  • Forever Young (JPN) – 8-1
  • Deterministic – 12-1
  • Catching Freedom – 12-1
  • Dornoch – 12-1
  • All other 3 year-olds – 22-1

Kentucky Derby futures odds last updated: April 15, 2024

2024 Kentucky Derby news and notes

2024 Kentucky Derby race facts

There have been 150 runnings of the world’s most famous horse race. Here are some of the key points for the 2024 Kentucky Derby:

How and where to watch the Kentucky Derby

NBC is the broadcast home for the Kentucky Derby. The network will be providing coverage on the main broadcast channel, as well as on Peacock, the NBC Sports app and NBCSports.com. You can stream the Derby directly to your mobile device.