Legal Kentucky Derby Betting

Legal Kentucky Derby betting has long served to be the most high-stakes event for horse racing fans and pari-mutuel bettors across the world. Legendary horses have participated in this event and the potential profitability of this race alone attracts bettors who wouldn’t normally tune in to watch the ponies. Even though legalized sports betting has begun to spread across the country, gambling on horses has stood the test of time, with many states hosting their own racetracks with simulcast wagering opportunities for their guests. However, most of these tracks require you to attend them in order to bet on the race and booking a trip to Churchill Downs to watch the event in Kentucky may prove to be too costly.

Thankfully, betting on this leg of the Triple Crown online provides a safe and legal way to still be apart of the action. Online racebooks will keep up with all of the latest odds and offer wagering types such as straight bets and will even offer exotic bets such as perfectas, trifectas, and superfectas. While many of the best online racebooks operate outside of the US, there are also horse race betting websites that operate domestically as well, giving bettors a plethora of options for legal Kentucky Derby betting. We’ll go over the legality of betting on this race, as well as discuss what the current odds for the 2019 Kentucky Derby are and explain what each major wagering type means.

2019 Kentucky Derby Quick Facts

Date: Saturday, May 4th, 2019

Post Time: 6:50pm EST

Purse: $3,000,000 1st place: $1.86M

Favorite: Game Winner +500

Betting On The Kentucky Derby

Betting on the Kentucky Derby has a long and storied tradition. Founded by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., grandson of William Clark of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, the race has been held on the first Saturday of May since the year 1875. It is the first leg of what’s known as the Triple Crown. The other two races as part of the Triple Crown are the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, however, the Kentucky Derby usually boasts the highest attendance every year. And while the event is kicked-off with the Kentucky Derby festival which lasts two weeks, the race itself tends to last only two minutes. Most people who attend are betting on the Kentucky Derby through either a straight bet or an exotic bet, both of which can pay out in high amounts. To add to this, in order to join these bettors, you don’t have to wager that much and you don’t have to be that old. Wagers can be made for as little as one dollar through online offshore racebooks, and the legal age to bet on horses in most states is only 18.

Is It Legal To Bet On The Kentucky Derby?

Yes, and depending on where you live, the avenues to legal Kentucky Derby betting may differ. For states with horse wagering officially on the books, most residents will have to go to their local horse racing track where they will provide simulcast racing betting. There are also states that will permit you to use online racebooks that operate from within the US. However, there are certain states such as that have neither of these two options. That doesn’t mean that residents of those states don’t like to bet on the ponies. If you happen to fall in that predicament you should know that there is one avenue you can take that is legal across the US and that is to simply use an online offshore betting site. These websites fall outside of both state and federal jurisdiction and offer all the latest odds for horse races year-round. These are by far the safest option for placing a wager on the Kentucky Derby if you are not sure of your state’s horse racing laws.

Current Odds For The 2019 Kentucky Derby

145th Kentucky DerbyThe Kentucky Derby is finally upon us, with the 2019 edition – the race’s 145th running – set to start on Saturday, May 4, at approximately 6:50 PM at the famed Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. With post positions finally drawn, bettors are now finally able to get concrete, fixed futures on “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.” After trailing behind early favorite Game Winner (who carried +600 or so odds until the last couple of weeks), Omaha Beach went from +1200 to +300 on most odds boards. However, a shocking late scratch for Omaha Beach – due to a rare “entrapped epiglottis” injury that was obstructing his breathing under stress – has forced the Derby favorite out, opening the door for the race’s single reserve, Bodexpress. Bovada has the following odds in place for the 2019 Run for the Roses:

(15) Game Winner +400
(5) Improbable +400
(16) Roadster +450
(7) Maximum Security +800
(8) Tacitus +800
(12) Code Of Honor +1200
(13) Win Win Win +1600
(3) By My Standards +1600
(2) Tax +2500
(6) Vekoma +2000
(1) War Of Will +1600
(20) Bodexpress +2800
(19) Country House +4000
(10) Cutting Humor +2800
(9) Plus Que Parfait +3300
(17) Long Range Toddy +4000
(18) Spinoff +3300
(4) Gray Magician +5000
(14) Master Fencer +6600

race lines provided by Bovada: May 3rd, 2019 @ 4:33pm

2019 Kentucky Derby Props

Unlike wagering on the Derby at physical racetracks, when you bet on the race via online sportsbooks, you can actually get a lot of prop wagers to choose from. These will vary by book, but if you’re used to special event sports betting, you’ll be familiar with horse racing props. Typically, Kentucky Derby props will be of the “yes/no” or “over/under” wager types, and they pay out per their attached moneylines. There are also lots of head-to-head matchups, where you pick the faster finisher between two given horses. Kentucky Derby props are not pool-based, so what you see is what you get. The following 2019 Kentucky Derby props are just a few of the dozens of available wagers that Bovada has posted.

Kentucky Derby Props Found at Bovada, Over 60+ Available

race props provided by Bovada: May 3rd, 2019 @ 4:02pm

Kentucky Derby Horse Bet Types

While many people who plan on tuning into the race this year are familiar with how the different wagering types work, first-time viewers may get confused on how to bet on the 2019 Kentucky Derby. This is why we’ve broken down the most popular forms of pari-mutuel wagers below into either straight bets or exotic bets. These Kentucky Derby Horse bet types will be available whether you’re at Churchill Downs watching the ponies live or using a third-party betting service.

Straight bets

Win – This is arguably the simplest type of bet. You’re simply selecting which horse will finish in first place. These will pay the highest amount of all the different straight bets.

Place – If the horse you choose finishes in either first place or second place you’d be able to cash in on this bet.

Show – If you choose a horse and it finished in either first, second, or third, you’d have a winning bet. Because this type of bet is easier to hit then the other straight bets, the payouts will be lower.

Across The Board – This is a bit of a combination of all three straight bets. With a bet across the board, if the horse you choose finishes in first then you win all three bets. If your horse gets second place then you’ll win on both the place and show bet. And if your horse gets in third place then you’ll simply win the show bet.


Exacta – In this case, you will be betting on two horses within a single race. If they place in first an second in the exact order you chose them then you’ll win the bet.

Trifecta – This is very similar to the exacta bet except with this you would have to bet on three horses and they would have to place first, second, and third in exact order.

Superfecta – This is only adding to the previous two exotic bets. You’d have to pick four horses and they would have to place first, second, third, and fourth in exact order. This is one of the most profitable wagering types.

Pick 3 – This is simply an addition to the daily double. If you choose a horse and they finish first on three consecutive races then you’d win the bet. You’d have to place the bet before the first race.

2019 Kentucky Derby Post Time

While there are 14 races scheduled at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, the most important race is obviously the Kentucky Derby itself. (Derby celebrations will be held all weekend, with the Kentucky Oaks kicking things off Friday night at 6:12 PM.) On Saturday, the first race of the day will be run at 10:30 AM, with races commencing just about every half-hour after that. The Kentucky Derby will be the 12th race run, and the horses will be in their paddocks and ready to go at 6:50 PM. Make sure your wagers are in before that, of course, as there’s no live betting on the Derby, and the whole amazing thing will be over in about two minutes. Don’t spill that mint julep!

2019 Kentucky Derby Purse

The Kentucky Derby purse has increased by 50% this year to a guaranteed $3 million. This is the first increase in 14 years, as the purse was set at $2 million from 2005 through 2018. From 1996 through 2004, the purse was set at $1 million. This boost is due in large part thanks to renewed wagering interest driven by historical horse racing machines (aka instant racing machines) that recently went live in KY. Additionally, with two Triple Crown winners over the last four years, the Derby is more on the radar for sports bettors in the US than possibly ever before, and the brand is growing in kind.

The $3 million purse for the 2019 Kentucky Derby will be apportioned as follows:

  • 1st – $1,860,000
  • 2nd – $600,000
  • 3rd – $300,000
  • 4th – $150,000
  • 5th – $90,000

Past Kentucky Derby Winners

American PharaohPast Kentucky Derby winners ultimately cement their name into the history of the sport. After their career is over they are highly sought out for breeding because of their championship pedigree. During the 1970s there were three horses that won the Kentucky Derby and then ultimately went on to win the Triple crown including Affirmed in 1978, Seattle Slew in 1977, and the famous Secretariat in 1973. Over 35 years had to pass before American Pharaoh was able to achieve that same success in 2015. And even more recently, last year saw the likes of Justify, who was able to complete the Kentucky Derby in two minutes and four seconds before going on to win the next two legs of the Triple Crown. However, Justify will not be competing in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, so in order to predict the winner of this year’s race, you will have to choose a new horse to possibly join the ranks of these legendary ponies.