The Kentucky Derby 2018
Known as the greatest two miles in sport, the Kentucky derby takes place on an annual basis and attracts from all over the world. It is held on the first Saturday in May. Whilst many other events such as the Breeders Cup regularly switch location, the Kentucky derby is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville each and every year. The course first opened in 1875 and is synonymous with top class racing in the USA. Horse racing remains popular throughout the USA and Canada with the Kentucky derby being one of the many events which is highly anticipated by fans and pundits.
It is part of the ‘Triple Crown’ which is a series of three races staged throughout the year catering for three year old Thoroughbred horses. The Kentucky Derby is the first of the trio and is followed by the Preakness and Belmont Stakes which are both held later in the season. Very few horses manage to clinch the Triple Crown with American Pharoah the last one to succeed back in 2015.
The winner of the Kentucky derby will receive around $1,425,000 in prize money with an additional $500,000 available for the runners up. There is a blanket of 554 roses dropped over the winner at the end of the race which is one of many traditions to have remained in place since its inception. In 2005, the fifth place finisher was also permitted to take home a small share of the prize money.
All of the colts and geldings entering must carry 126 pounds whilst any fillies who are competing will shoulder 121 pounds.
The original distance of the contest was over 1 and a half miles (2.4 km) but it was changed to 1 and a quarter miles in 1896 (2.0 km) and has remained that way ever since.
Betting on the Kentucky Derby
Throughout the previous season, many two year olds will take to the racetrack for the first time and the most impressive tend to be targeted at the Kentucky Derby. The majority of trainers will target specific thoroughbreds at this race and therefore online betting markets for the contest can often be priced up months in advance.
Each site’s racebook will offer a range of ante-post or future betting opportunities on all three of the Triple Crown contests and these will alter throughout the course of the racing calendar (depending on the strength of previous performances)
Most punters will simply have a ‘win’ bet on the race which requires selecting the first horse to pass the post. If your selection is scratched and does not feature, some online bookmakers will refund the stake. Win bets are ideal for favourites in the market and with a race as competitive as the Kentucky Derby, decent lines and odds are usually available on the top few in the market.
Place bets offer Canadian punters a little more scope when it comes to securing a return on their investment. If you selection finishes in one of the place positions (usually top four – but this depends on the amount of runners), you will receive a pay-out. Show bets will reward backers of any horse who finishes in the top three and all of these are available with the top Canadian betting sites which are all listed here at BettingTop10.
The Kentucky derby can provide huge pay-outs and can be hugely rewarding for some bettors. Exactas and Trifectas are available and smaller stakes are generally advised for these types of wager. The former requires predicting the first two horses to cross the line in that particular order whilst the Trifecta is similar but applies to the first three to come home. The Superfecta requires punters to predict the first four home in any order at all, these are ideal for smaller field contests.
Those who wish to minimise the risk (slightly) can bet on a Quinella, which is predicting the first two horses to cross line but this may be in any order.
Boxed Wagers often require larger stakes but cover a number of eventualities and outcomes. It involves three or more horses and instead of predicting the outcome of each horse to finish first, second and third separately, these are combined in a permutation. Even if all of them don’t land, a number of successes will offer some kind of return. It is likely to require the number of outcomes (24 for example) multiplied by the stake ($1 for example) = 24 x $1 = $24.
Betting Strategies on the Kentucky Derby
There is no sure fire way of predicting the outcome of the Kentucky Derby but keeping abreast of all of the information during the build-up is a good way of increasing your chances of success. Trainers don’t typically give much away ahead of the contest but there are often clues which can be extracted from their interviews so it’s advised to watch as many of these as you can.
Go back and watch highlights of the main protagonists in the race, how was their performance? How did they cope with the distance? Will they want to be a frontrunner or will they be a fast finisher? These are all things to look out for.
If a top jockey has been riding regularly for a particular stable and happens to make a switch prior to the race, this could be a clue in itself. If a yard really fancy their horses’ chances in the contest, they will spend more money on recruiting the best jockey for the job as they believe they will recoup some of that fee when they collect the prize money.
Finally, always check the market. If a trainer has two runners but their second string is being backed, this is often another sign of a big run ahead. Always take the conditions of the track into consideration too.
Famous Horses of the Kentucky Derby
American Pharoah was the last of the champions to win the Triple Crown and was successful here in Louisville back in 2015. Under the ride of Victor Espinoza it won with a time of 2:03.02 before going on to dominate the world of racing. Starting as the favourite in an 18 runner field, American Pharoah misbehaved at the beginning of the race but still went on to beat Dortmund and Carpe Diem.
Other notable successes in the race include Donerail who triumphed against the odds back in 1913 and returned an impressed 91-1 with his unexpected success. Secretariat holds the course record with a time of 1:59.40 and like American Pharoah, proceeded to win the Triple Crown back in 1973. Monarchos was just the second horse to run the course in under 2:00 when clinching the race back in 2001.
Smarty Jones was the first unbeaten horse to take the Kentucky derby in 2004 with jockey Stewart Elliott guiding the horse to success on his debut in the race.
Facts about the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is steeped in traditional and there are a number of facts relating to previous runnings of the race. The contest has never been postponed due to bad weather.
1892 saw the smallest ever field with just three horses going to post whilst only three fillies have ever been successful in the event. The last of which was Winning Colors who was successful back in 1988. No female trainer has managed to saddle a winner of the race although Shelley Riley came close in 1992 clinching second with Casual Lies.
1952 was the first time the race has been televised whilst around 80,000 punters will visit the track to watch the drama unfold.
Finally, no winner has ever emerged from stall 17.