On May 7, the best three-year-old horses in the world step onto the dirt at Churchill Downs to run in the annual Kentucky Derby. The Run for the Roses is America’s most prestigious horse race. Winning the Derby is a big deal, but because 20 horses will enter the starting gate, the Kentucky Derby is a challenging prospect for horseplayers. Check out our Kentucky Derby Betting Update on the rules you must stick to so you can ensure either you profit or you don’t take a bath betting on this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby Expert Picks: How to Bet On the Race
2022 Kentucky Derby
- When: Saturday, May 7
- Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY
- TV/Streaming: NBC / Peacock
How to Bet On the Kentucky Derby
- Remember, the Run for the Roses is just another horse race
The hype surrounding the Derby is so intense that it’s easy for us to forget that at the end of the day, the Kentucky Derby is another horse race.
Yes, more horses will enter the starting gate than what American racing fans are used to seeing. But those horses and jockeys are equines. Granted, they have more ability but they’re not different physically, maybe more muscle, than the horses that run in a $5,000 claimer at Turf Paradise.
So don’t get caught up with the hype. The Kentucky Derby is a spectacle, but once the gates open, it’s just another horse race.
- When handicapping the Derby, pay attention to speed ratings
Speed ratings, either Beyer or Brisnet or your own, mean something in most horses races. For some reason, speed ratings mean a lot more in the Derby.
It’s difficult to know why, but the fastest horse wins the Kentucky Derby a lot. This is especially true since Churchill Downs changed the rules so that horses had to win or finish in the top three in the major prep races to ensure a Derby start.
Pay attention to speed ratings. If the horse you like is slow, if it hasn’t run a speed figure close to the favorites, drop your horse.
- For some reason, favorites now race well in the Kentucky Derby
Speaking of favorites, they run well in the Derby. Favored Essential Quality finished fourth last year, but the Godolphin runners speed ratings were on par with the winner’s.
We should throw out 2020 because the Belmont happened at 1 1/8 miles and it happened before the Kentucky Derby. No wonder Authenticate won the Derby.
From 2015 through 2019 the favorite won the race. But in 2019, the chalk got taken down due to interference, which is why Country House is listed as the winner.
- Don’t blow your entire bankroll on the Kentucky Derby
If you just want to bet on the Kentucky Derby, that’s great. But know you could miss out on a lot of terrific overlays in other races.
Don’t bet your entire bankroll on the Derby. Try to look for races on Churchill’s card that can lead to profit and then put some money on the Derby towards the end of the day.
- Keep trifecta and superfecta tickets manageable
If you bet Derby trifecta or superfecta tickets, make sure to keep your ticket to a manageable level. Set up rules for yourself.
For example, set a rule that says you will use just 3 horses in every spot after your key horse. If you don’t set rules, you could end up with an overly expensive trifecta or superfecta ticket.
- Find your key horse and stick with it
Speaking of key horses, you can’t make Derby exotic bets unless you find a key horse. What horse do you think will finish first, second, or third?
If it’s likely chalk Epicenter, then use Epicenter as your key horse. Then bet your super, exacta, and trifecta round Epicenter to finish first or second or first, second, third, or fourth.