The Kentucky Derby, also known as the The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports brings out horse racing experts from all over. Some follow horse racing all year and some only come out when the Mint Julep’s start to flow.
We aren’t here to give you picks for who will win the Kentucky Derby this year but we do have some Betting Tips to help guide your selections for the Derby that hopefully will translate into a big payday at the track.
Betting the 2018 Kentucky Derby?
If you are going to take a shot at one of the horses then check out one of the best sites to bet on horse racing – BetAmerica.com
BetAmerica focusses on the sport predominantly and will get you races from all over the world, not just the popular ones.
Kentucky Derby Tips From Expert Handicappers
We have rounded up some of the best advice from around the tracks on how to properly handicap the Kentucky Derby race:
1) Graded Races
Make sure your pick has had a 1st or 2nd place finish in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 Stakes race somewhere in his career. Best to avoid ones that don’t have one.
2) The Last Race
Look at the previous race before the Derby for horses that improved their position throughout the race. Look to avoid horse that were passed in the stretch in final races leading up to the Derby as it shows that they have trouble running long and might not do well on race day.
3) Don't Rely On Just The Odds
Don’t use the moving odds on race day as a barometer for how your horse will do. Unlike the casino where the house sets the odds, the odds for horses reflect how people are betting, in other words it’s the majority’s opinion, not the odd makers.
4) Don't Overlook The Favorite
The favorite at the Kentucky Derby has won about 30% of the races historically and good handicappers pick favorites all the time. They are not a sexy pick because they don’t pay off as big as a longshot but if they win heading to the window is better then ripping up your longshot ticket.
5) Home Track
Horses that have raced before at Churchill Downs can be more comfortable because they are in familiar surroundings. They might not always win but they end up finding a way into the superfecta's more often then not.
6) Past Performance Records
In your racing form you will find a list of the horses and their recent results. Look for horses that are improving in each race or have been trending upwards with wins or solid top finishes. Always bet with the trend. A horse who improves a little each race trumps any horse who is showing signs of slowing down or finishing worse then when they started racing.
Betting Guide For The Kentucky Derby
Besides the tips from the experts above, in general you show know some basic horse betting fundamentals. Get to know the ins and outs of the following:
Learn To Read The Racing Program or Form
The racing form is your literal guide to all the horses racing on a particular day. There are lots of helpful tips for how a horse has been running and other betting tips for you to pick your Derby winner. Next to each horse’s information in the race program is the speed figure. Compare the speed figure to the other horses - the higher the speed figure, the higher the potential of the horse winning that day.
In horse racing there are four basic aspects for handicapping a horse race: speed, pace, form, and class.
Look for a horse that has been ridden by the same jockey in either all of the starts during the year or his whole career. A strong horse/jockey relationship can mean that the jockey knows what the horse can and can’t do and will possibly conserve a horse for the big race.
Take a peak at Jockey past performances – If a jockey has a good record on many different horses that’s a sign that they are a good jockey.
The Jockey/Trainer win combination has proven to be a solid predictor for success. Jockey and Trainer combos that have a winning percentage of at least 20% are good bets.
Watch the horses and their jockeys as race time approaches – For the Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown races the horses have to parade through the race track to the starting gate. Look for horses that seem relaxed and whose ears are pricked up, look to see if a horse looks “happy” (Time to become a horse whisperer).
If you are at the Derby, watch the horses in the paddock – are they misbehaving, are they acting up, is the jockey fighting to control them and standing next to him trying to calm the horse? These are signs of a horse using up energy for a race that could still be 15-30 minutes away. You don’t want to see a horse burning energy unless the horse has a past history of these tendencies and still wins regardless.
Bullet Works - There is a term used in horse racing for when a horse breezes through a morning workout the day of a race for a particular distance. Horse bettors use the Bullet as a big factor to decide on who to bet. Bullet Works are listed in the racing program.
Tips On What To Bet On Derby Day
- Don’t waste a lot of money betting Kentucky Derby Longshots….but – If you like a longshot pick, throw it in on exotics like a superfecta or trifecta where the longshot pick is much more likely to come in, especially at the Kentucky Derby when favorite's can tire out down the stretch.
- Exacta Betting is when you pick the top two finishers in the Derby. If you like 2 horses and can’t decide on one…this could be your bet. One of my best types of bets to make on Derby Day and have seen some big payouts over the years even with the favorite winning.
- Box Bets: If you like 2 or 3 horses and are worried about your Exacta or Trifecta bets then “Box it Up”! A box bet is when you pick two or three horses but don’t know what order they’ll finish in so by boxing them up it doesn’t matter if they finish in 1st, 2nd or 3rd as long as both or all 3 horses finish top two or Top 3. It costs a bit more but it's worth it in the end if they all come through.