The Kentucky Derby is the most famous horse race in the world. The one-and-a-quarter mile race attracts more than 100,000 people to iconic Churchill Downs for the Run for the Roses, aka the 12th race on the second Saturday in May every year — outside of 2020 when it was moved to September 5 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kentucky Derby is a marquee betting event — particularly due to the symbiotic relationship between horse racing and betting. Without gambling, the race wouldn’t command anywhere near the attention it does, and the event is prime season for bookmakers, family pools and also online betting.
The latter is best chance to win big on the Kentucky Derby. But if you’ve never bet a horserace online, or interacted with a horse-race gambling app or website, it can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Benefits of Betting on the Kentucky Derby Online
The only reason to not bet the Derby online is if you’re at the window at Churchill Downs. Even then betting on Run for the Roses, the underrated Kentucky Oaks as well as the other 25 races that go on in Louisville during Derby weekend is a breeze and can make you feel like you’re in the grandstand without needing to shell out for a ridiculous-sized hat.
Aside from the convenience, the best online horse-race betting sites are saving their best offers and promos to boost your playable funds for the fastest two minutes in sports. Thus, you can win big with other people’s money instead of shelling out all of yours on Derby day.
Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites
TwinSpires Horse Racing Betting app was created by the people at Churchill Downs, which means it’s the perfect place to put down your money for the Kentucky Derby. TwinSpires is the official betting partner of the Derby and has a terrific offer of a $200 new-player bonus as well as win-protection bonus up to $50 for new users who bet on the Derby.
The TwinSpires app and website offers users analysis and handicapping from brisnet.com. Aside from that, and the exceptional odds and promos for the Kentucky Derby, horse-racing fans can also wager on races at more than 300 tracks around the globe daily.
Daily Racing Form, or DRF for short, has an unmatched new-user offer as well as its signature handicapping materials for users interested in every edge in their Kentucky Derby betting. DRF online users essentially have all materials that those at the track share, with expert analysis and guidance to steer bettors into the right bets in all races during Derby weekend.
DRF’s offer is awesome too, with a first-deposit match up to $250, a $10 no-deposit bonus and free formulators — its basic handicapping mechanism — to people who sign up. It’s the perfect offer for those who want to bet the Derby but can’t make it to Kentucky.
The TVG Online Horse Betting app and site provides horse-race fans with its signature simulcast service as well as an exceptional number of betting market for racing fans. Though fans can watch all the Derby action on NBC, racing fans can watch livestreams of horse races at more than 150 tracks around the globe on the TVG website and app.
TVG has a terrific new-user bonus too, with a 50 percent deposit match up to $250, plus it offers free past performances to all users who sign up, meaning novice fans can quickly become aficionados in time for the Derby and other Triple Crown races.
How To Pick the Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites
The following criteria can help guide you on choosing the right betting site for Kentucky Derby betting:
Check to see what type of welcome bonus is offered.
First deposit bonuses are when the sportsbook matches your first deposit up to a certain amount. Risk-free bets are when your first bet is reimbursed up to a certain amount if it loses. These are helpful because they are free bet credits to allow you to build your bankroll before parting with your own money.
You’ll want to also try to take advantage of any Kentucky Derby promotions. Some betting sites offer promos, like win-protection — either reimbursement for a failed win bet or if the horse you picked to win places or shows. There are more race-specific promos as Derby weekend draws near, which means it’s important to keep an eye out for the one that suits your wagering style best.
Do you like to bet superfectas or trifectas or quinellas or just a win-place-show bet? Each of the sportsbooks above offers a litany of gambling options for your Kentucky Derby betting, but with each site offering unique odds and promotions, it is worthwhile to shop around to get the best odds on the bet you want to make.
User interface is another key component when choosing a Kentucky Derby site. With odds constantly evolving, having a site that is easy to navigate and offers users easy-to-wager markets is integral.
It’s important that your Kentucky Derby offers live betting so users can make the best bet while the race is happening. Obviously a user-friendly interface helps with live betting since horse races are very fast, and split-second decisions can be the difference between winning, losing or not getting your bet in in time.
Best Kentucky Derby Bets You Can Make
The easiest bet to make is a win-place-show bet, which means you pick a horse to win, finish second or finish third. You can pick a single horse to finish win, place or show, which is probably the safest bet a user can pick.
If you’re interested in longer-odds bets, there’s the trifecta, exacta and superfecta, which invites bettors to pick the top-3, top-4 or top-5 horses in order of finish. If you’re confident in three-or-more horses, but don’t want to be bogged down by the order of finish, there’s boxed trifectas, exactas and superfectas, which relieves some of the risk and odds.
The quinella is one of my personal favorites, where you pick two horses to finish 1-2 and won’t be penalized which order as long as each horse finishes either win or place.
Honestly, the best Kentucky Derby bets are the ones you love most, so play around with apps and sites and pick a winner.
Live Betting on Kentucky Derby
Live betting is when you place a bet after the game has already started. The odds are updated in real-time and you can bet as the race goes on.
Live betting horse racing is a whirlwind, so if you’re a novice maybe monitor what happens before jumping in with both feet. However, it is a great opportunity to get enhanced odds if the favorite has short odds and struggles out of the gate.
Or, it could be an opportunity to pick a longshot at shorter odds than it was going off but still could return a hefty profit if it wins.
Betting Site Offers to Keep in Mind
Check out each of the different types of welcome bonuses below.
No Deposit Bonus
No Deposit Bonuses or free bets are when you receive some bet credits from a sportsbook without having to deposit any funds. This is usually between $5-$20, intended to give you a chance to explore the sportsbook.
Users are often given free bets as a loyalty reward for consistently using a site’s service.
First-deposit bonuses are when a sportsbook will match your first deposit in bet credits up to a certain amount, which can vary between $100-$5,000. This is a great opportunity to build up your bankroll, so be sure to take advantage.
Risk-free bets are when sportsbooks will reimburse your first bet if it loses, up to a maximum, usually between $100-$5,000.
This is useful because you can take a shot on a longer-odds horse you love and get reimbursed if it doesn’t win, place or show.
Bet & Get
Bet & Get is a bonus where users will receive rewards if they bet on a certain market, usually on a marquee event. Bet-and-gets are especially popular at sportsbooks online but aren’t widely available at horse-race websites.
Where Can I Legally Bet on Kentucky Derby Online?
You can bet on the Kentucky Derby, and horse racing in general, online in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Why You Should Avoid Illegal Betting Sites
It’s important to avoid illegal betting sites for the following reasons:
- Illegal betting sites have unreliable customer support, making it difficult to resolve any potential issues
- They don’t provide you with the same promotions, such as odds boosts or welcome bonuses
- The deposit and withdrawal methods can also be slow and hard to trust
- When you deposit funds from an illegal betting site, it will show up as a different name on your bank statement
- Odds are not as good as betting markets in legal sites, as illegal sites often inflate their odds
Choose More Than One Kentucky Derby Betting Site
It’s important to choose more than one Kentucky Derby betting site. You can take advantage of multiple welcome bonuses, giving you a chance to build your bankroll.
Remember that these are one-time offers, so it’s a good idea to max out the welcome bonuses.
Odds shopping is important too. For instance, if one site has the favorite at 1-2, but a different has it boosted to Even, that would be a substantial enough difference to make it worth your while.