Triple Crown Betting Guide – How to Bet, Odds & Lines

The Triple Crown of US horse racing is made up of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Taking place between the beginning of May and June, the three races offer the ultimate test for 3-year-old thoroughbreds. In the history of the Triple Crown, only 13 horses have achieved the feat of winning all three. Will it happen again in 2023? Let’s take a look at betting on the Triple Crown, along with the best places to do so legally and safely online.

Where to Bet on the Triple Crown

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Other methods to bet on the Triple Crown

The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes are the most important races of the year. Many tracks will feature simulcast wagering on all three. At your nearest venue, you can place bets while enjoying the spectacle with fellow racing fans.

Another option for bettors across the US is off-track betting (OTB) sites. You can find these located in many states across the country. If you’re not sure where your nearest OTB is, a simple visit to your favorite search engine will provide you with a quick answer.

Last but not least, you could also attend one (or more) of the three races. At the track, head to a teller and place your bet. More than 300,000 people will attend the Triple Crown races in 2023. It is the perfect way to get immersed in the atmosphere.

The Triple Crown races

The Kentucky Derby

Known as the Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby takes place annually on the first Saturday in May. The race is run over a distance of 1.25 miles at Churchill Downs and has a maximum field size of 20. Here’s a look back at the last decade of Kentucky Derby winners.

2022Rich Strike2:02:61Sonny LeonEric Reed
2021Mandaloun2:01:02Florent GerouxBrad H. Cox
2020Authentic2:00:61John VelazquezBob Baffert
2019Country House2:03:93Flavien PratBill Mott
2018Justify2:04:20Mike E. SmithBob Baffert
2017Always Dreaming2:03:59John VelazquezTodd Pletcher
2016Nyquist2:01:31Mario GutierrezDoug O’Neill
2015American Pharaoh2:03:02Victor EspinozaBob Baffert
2014California Chrome2:03:66Victor EspinozaArt Sherman
2013Orb2:02:89Joel RosarioClaude McGaughey III

The Preakness Stakes

Known as the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, the Preakness Stakes takes place annually on the third Saturday in May. The race is run over a distance of 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico Race Course and has a maximum field size of 14. Here are the last 10 winners of the Preakness Stakes.

2022Early Voting1:54:54Jose OrtizChad Brown
2021Rombauer1:53:62Flavien PratMichael W. McCarthy
2020Swiss Skydiver1:53:28Robby AlbaradoKenneth McPeek
2019War of Will1:54:34Tyler GaffalioneMark E. Casse
2018Justify1:55:93Mike SmithBob Baffert
2017Cloud Computing1:55:98Javier CastellanoChad Brown
2016Exaggerator1:58:31Kent DesormeauxJ. Keith Desormeaux
2015American Pharoah1:58:46Victor EspinozaBob Baffert
2014California Chrome1:54:84Victor EspinozaArt Sherman
2013Oxbow1:57:54Gary StevensD. Wayne Lukas

The Belmont Stakes

Known as the Test of the Champion, the Belmont Stakes takes place annually on the first or second Saturday in June. The race is run over a distance of 1.5 miles at Belmont Park and has a maximum field size of 12. For the 2020 edition, the distance was dropped to 1 1/8 miles. Let’s take a look back at the last 10 winners of the Belmont States.

2022Mo Donegal2:28:28Irad Ortiz Jr.Todd Pletcher
2021Essential Quality2:27:11Luis SaezBrad H. Cox
2020Tiz the Law1:46:53Manny FrancoBarclay Tagg
2019Sir Winston2:28:30Joel RosarioMark E. Casse
2018Justify2:28:18Mike SmithBob Baffert
2017Tapwrit2:30:02Jose OrtizTodd Pletcher
2016Creator2:28:51Irad Ortiz Jr.Steve Asmussen
2015American Pharoah2:26:65Victor EspinozaBob Baffert
2014Tonalist2:28:52Joel RosarioChristophe Clement
2013Palace Malice2:30:70Mike SmithTodd Pletcher

Triple Crown betting odds

Betting odds for the triple crown races are released several days in advance of each individual event. For those who like to peer into the future, the Kentucky Derby Future Wager pools are a great resource to lean on. In short, the pools list out the potential contenders to earn a spot in the derby and attach odds to the chances.

For the 2023 Kentucky Derby, there are scheduled to be six total pools. The first was open from Nov. 1 through Nov. 3, 2022, while the sixth and final pool is scheduled for March 30 through April 1, 2023. The most recently completed pool closed on Mar. 12. Based on the results of the latest round, here are the top contenders at this stage of the run-up to the derby.

We’ll update the top contenders for this year’s Kentucky Derby once the results from the last pool go final.

Types of bets on the Triple Crown

There are several different wagers that you can place on each of the three races. At the top of the list are the three standard bet types.

In addition to the standard wagers, there are also several popular bets that fall into the exotic category. These are wagers that require multiple correct selections to win. The payouts can climb as the difficulty increases, but there’s a good deal of risk involved as a single wrong selection means that the bet is a loser.

For the above three bet types, you have two options. You can place a straight bet in which you select the horses in the exact order of finish. In order to win, your selections have to finish in that order. For a little more flexibility, you can box your selections. This means that your selected horses can finish in any order. You win if your picks align with the parameters of the bet. The actual cost of a box wager will vary based on the number of horses that you include on your betting slip, whereas a straight bet will be locked in at your chosen price point.

Kentucky Derby Payouts Based on the Type of Bet

Below is the payout chart for the 2022 Kentucky Derby.

1st. Rich Strike$163.60$74.20$29.40
2nd. Epicenter$7.40$5.20
3rd. Zandon$5.60

As you can see, the payouts for winning wagers were rather large. Rich Strike was an 80-1 longshot at post time, but he managed to pull off an improbable win. If we look back at the 2018 edition, Justify was a 3-1 morning line favorite and went on to win the race. The payouts checked in at $7.80 to win, $6.00 to place, and $4.40 to show.

Triple Crown prop bets

There are a series of prop bets you can place on the Triple Crown races, some of which can add a fun element. Being the first of the three races and possibly the biggest race of all, the Kentucky Derby usually has the most prop bets around it. Unfortunately, most of these wagers aren’t available in US markets, but they’re often available in the UK and Europe.

Options include the finishing time of the race and whether or not the winning saddle number will be odd or even. Prop bets on the Preakness Stakes will primarily be based around the winner of the Kentucky Derby, while the range of prop bets on the Belmont Stakes will increase if the same horse won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

Triple Crown betting strategy

In the run-up to the Kentucky Derby, there is a series of 35 races, which encompasses virtually all of the big races for the top 3-year-old horses. To qualify for the Kentucky Derby, horses earn points in each of these races, with the leading 20 making the field. As such, this competitive series of races offers a fantastic form guide, with leading contenders potentially meeting in the lead up to the race.

Heading into the Preakness Stakes, you have the further form guide of the Kentucky Derby, and it’s a pretty sure thing that the Derby winner will be the favorite. The field will be a nice mix of Derby runners and those tasting a Triple Crown race for the first time. Meanwhile, the Belmont Stakes is longer than both the Derby and Preakness, making distance and stamina even bigger factors.

Qualification for the Triple Crown series

In late January, connections can enter their horses for the Triple Crown series. Further entry into each of the three races will cost $15,000, with an additional $15,000 payable if a horse makes the starting field. The Kentucky Derby has a limit of 20 runners, while the final standings in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series help to set the field. The 35 races offer differing numbers of points to the leading finishers, with 100 points on offer for winning any of the final seven in the Championship Series.

Entry into the Preakness Stakes is limited to 14 runners. Qualification is slightly more complicated, but it is mostly based on winnings in both graded stakes races and nonrestricted races. A finish in the Top 5 of the Kentucky Derby will guarantee a spot in the Preakness Stakes. The Belmont Stakes has a limit of 12 runners and is based on career earnings. Good finishes in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes should ensure enough prize money to secure a spot in the Belmont Stakes.

Past winners of the Triple Crown

In the history of the Triple Crown events, only 13 horses have ever managed to win all three races. Over the past decade, it has happened twice, which snapped a lengthy stretch for which there were no winners of the Triple Crown. Here’s a look at the complete list.

1919Sir BarneyJohnny LoftusH. Guy Bedwell
1930Gallant FoxEarl SandeJim Fitzsimmons
1935OmahaWillie “Smokey” SaundersJim Fitzsimmons
1937War AdmiralCharles KurtsingerGeorge Conway
1941WhirlawayEddie ArcaroBen A. Jones
1943Count FleetJohnny LongdenDon Cameron
1946AssaultWarren MehrtensMax Hirsch
1948CitationEddie ArcaroHorace A. “Jimmy” Jones
1973SecretariatRon TurcotteLucien Laurin
1977Seattle SlewJean CrugruetWilliam H. Turner, Jr.
1978AffirmedSteve CauthenLaz Barrera
2015American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob Baffert
2018JustifyMike SmithBob Baffert

Triple Crown trivia

A total of 36 horses have won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes and, therefore, had the chance of completing the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes. Of the 23 unsuccessful horses, three failed to appear at the Belmont Stakes: Burgoo King was lame in 1932, Bold Venture was lame in 1936 and I’ll Have Another was scratched from the race due to a tendon injury the day before the race in 2012.

Of the 20 unsuccessful race attempts, Real Quiet in 1998 was perhaps the unluckiest, losing out in a photo finish to Victory Gallop. Alydar was possibly the best horse in the history of the Triple Crown to never win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes or the Belmont Stakes. In 1978, he came up against the legendary Affirmed and would come second in each of the three races, the only horse to ever achieve this “unlucky” feat.

The Breeders’ Cup was established in 1984, with the Breeders’ Cup Classic race, alongside the Triple Crown, unofficially making up the grand slam of US horse racing. The only horse to have won all four races is American Pharoah in 2015. Gallant Fox, who won the Triple Crown in 1930, is the only winner to sire another winner, Omaha in 1935.

More racing events

Kentucky DerbyPreakness StakesBelmont Stakes
Triple CrownHaskell InvitationalArlington Millions
Travers StakesStars and Stripes StakesDubai World Cup
Saudi CupKentucky Oaks

Triple Crown FAQ

How much do the winners of the Triple Crown races win?

The Kentucky Derby had an overall purse of $3 million in 2022. Derby winner Rich Strike took home $1.86 million, with the remainder of the pool spread out for the next four finishers. The Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes have total purses of $1.5 million. The winner of the Preakness collects $900,000 and each of the top five receives prize money, while the Belmont winner collects $800,000, with each of the top eight finishers receiving prize money.

When are the post times of each race in 2023?

The post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:50 p.m. EST on Saturday, May 6.

The Preakness Stakes sees the horses head to post at 6:50 p.m. EST on Saturday, May 20.

The Belmont Stakes will start at 6:50 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 10.

How many fillies have won Triple Crown Races?

Eleven fillies have won Triple Crown races. Five fillies have won the Kentucky Derby, while three fillies have won each of the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Rachel Alexandra was the last filly to win a Triple Crown race when winning the Preakness Stakes in 2009.

What are the fastest times for the Triple Crown races?

Secretariat holds the record for all three of the Triple Crown races. In 1973. He won the Kentucky Derby in 1:59.4, the Preakness in a time of 1:53, and the Belmont in 2:24.

Who are the most successful jockeys/trainers in the history of the Triple Crown?

The legendary Eddie Arcaro is the most successful of all Triple Crown jockeys. Throughout his career, he amassed an incredible 17 wins: five Kentucky Derby wins, and six wins at both the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. He’s also the only jockey to have won the Triple Crown twice. Bob Baffert is the most successful trainer in the history of the Triple Crown with a total of 16 winners. Baffert is one of only two trainers to have won the Triple Crown twice: in 2015 with American Pharoah and Justify in 2018.

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