The Road to the Kentucky Derby is already well underway, with the leading three-year-old dirt horses in the United States looking to get the qualifying points that they need to line up in the opening Triple Crown race.
The Kentucky Derby in 2023 will take place on Saturday, May 7th, and a full capacity crowd is expected to be in attendance at Churchill Downs.
However, the day for many will be successful by having a winner in the huge Group 1. Betting on the Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular events on the sporting calendar, and this year, that will be no different. Learn more about Kentucky Derby betting here.
Still, what tips should all those looking to bet on the race follow ahead of making their wager on the opening Triple Crown race this year?
1. Read The Form
The most important factor to consider before placing a bet on any horse racing, not only the Kentucky Derby, is reading the form of the horses involved. Due to the sheer number of entries for the opening Triple Crown race of the year, gamblers must carefully go through all possible winners before making their wager.
That includes looking at horses that are rank outsiders, as unlikely winners have won the race in the past; most recently Country House at 65/1 for trainer William Mott.
Delving through the form and examining each race that the horses involved have run in previously is essential. Breaking down the form is also important, which means that gamblers must look into the distance that horses have won over, and the track they have won at. If a horse has finished second in a prep race, that doesn’t mean that they should be overlooked.
Instead, seeing whether the horse that was the winner of that occasion has won since could point to an interesting betting angle. Every gambler will have a different pick when it comes to the Kentucky Derby, so doing the research yourself is always encouraged.
2. Study Records
Extra emphasis should be put on the recent editions of the Kentucky Derby, which means that the majority of experienced bettors won’t be placing a bet until at least the draws have been confirmed. There is good reason for that, as the stats can typically point to a draw being very beneficial to a horse’s chances. For instance, there has been no winner of the race from the 16 previous editions that have been drawn in stalls one to three.
The stats can also help identify winning trends that could point to a potential Kentucky Derby winners. For example, 15 of the previous 16 winners haven’t made their last appearance at the track at Aqueduct, Fairgrounds or Keeneland. In addition, despite big price winners of the Kentucky Derby throughout history, 14 of the previous 16 winners of the race haven’t been priced any higher than 21/1.
There is also extra importance on graded form when betting on the Kentucky Derby. That can be highlighted by the fact that all 15 previous winners of the Triple Crown race have landed a graded success before lining up at Churchill Downs. Meanwhile, 14 of the past 16 winners of the Kentucky Derby have lined up in a Grade 1 in their last start before the Triple Crown opener.
3. Look At Prep Races
One of the most important trends that gamblers should follow throughout the season is the prep races that earn qualifying points. The Road to the Kentucky Derby got underway in September, as Major General won the Iroquis. Each of the qualifying races offers different points, with the most lucrative to this point being the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, which won Corniche 20 points.
The most lucrative qualifying points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby see winning connections get 100 points. The first 100-point prep race is the UAE Derby, which is staged on the same day as the Louisiana Derby, which is also worth 100 points. Further big qualifying races come in the forms of the Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby, and Wood Memorial.
The Florida Derby may be the most interesting of the prep races, as 20 previous winners of the race have gone on to win at least one Triple Crown race. Additionally, 15 winners have claimed success at Churchill Downs. Another popular prep race to keep an eye on is the Santa Anita Derby, with three winners of the Kentucky Derby in the past four years having run in that race.
4. Follow Betting Markets
While experienced bettors may wait until later in the year before making their bet on the Kentucky Derby, they also keep close eyes on the ante-post markets available with the leading sportsbooks. These markets offer the best value on the selections likely to run in the Kentucky Derby, as the betting market opens 12 months before the race takes place. Getting value on your selection for the Triple Crown race is important to all fans, as it means that you can get bigger returns on your bet.
Checking the ante-post market regularly ensures that you can get the best odds for the selection that you wish to make. However, the bet does come with the risk of losing your stake should the horse you have wagered on not line up in the first Triple Crown race of the season. But, many experts see it as an excellent move to get value.
5. Find A Leading Sportsbook
Perhaps the most important consideration that gamblers must consider when it comes to Kentucky Derby betting is the sportsbook they will make their wager with. Those making a wager on the Triple Crown races will want to ensure that they get the best odds for the race and take advantage of other promotions at the same time.
The leading sportsbooks will offer extra places for the race, which means gamblers could get more place value on outsiders, while also getting cash back bonuses for wagers that are made. Another important factor to consider is the welcome bonuses that are available, as players will be hopeful of getting something in return for signing up for an account.