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.

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 (except in 2020, COVID-19). The event is kicked-off with the Kentucky Derby Festival which lasts two weeks but the race itself tends to last only two minutes.

Thankfully, betting on the first leg of the Triple Crown can be done online in a safe and legal way. Online horse racing betting sites offer wagering types such as straight bets and exotic bets like 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 fans a plethora of options for legal Kentucky Derby betting.

2020 Kentucky Derby Quick Facts

Date: Saturday, May 1, 2021​

Post Time: 6:50pm EST

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

Favorite: Unknown

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 2021 Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is set to run on May 1st, 2021 after being delayed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Looking at the 2021 Kentucky Derby, Concert Tour and Essential Quality are the leaders of the pack. In the next tier, Hot Rod Charlie, Greatest Honour, Known Agenda, and Medina Spirit are the names of the horses running in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Betting odds will adjust as the race nears, so use this approaching time to monitor the Kentucky Derby betting odds and watch the horses.

How Will Coronavirus Affect The 2021 Kentucky Derby?

After the 2020 Kentucky Derby was postponed and ran with no fans in attendance, they will look forward to allowing fans at the 2021 Kentucky Derby. It will be run on May 1st which is its original date and will allow there to be somewhere between 40%-50% of fans in attendance. Although things can change in a matter of seconds, those in charge of the Kentucky Derby are planning it with every intention of their being fans in attendance. 

2021 Kentucky Derby Props

2021 Kentucky Derby prop betting is a little different than betting on the race. Prop bets involve the sportsbook making predictions on certain actions happening at the Kentucky Derby. An example of a prop bet could be who will the winner thank first after the race? Props could be the horse for +115, God +365, or anyone else. There are also prop bets on celebrities attending the race. If a racebook has will Kanye West attend the Kentucky Derby? You can bet on that action. Prop bets are designed to bring in a little extra fun to betting on the races. We definitely recommend you give them a try.

How Will Coronavirus Affect The 2021 Kentucky Derby?

After a recent rash of event delays, suspensions, and cancellations, many people are concerned about the future of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. The good news for fans is that the Kentucky Derby is not scheduled until May. Most organizing bodies seem to be estimating a return to competition in early-to-mid April, so there is a good chance that the Derby will be unaffected by the outbreak. Still, be sure to monitor national news updates because the situation is fluid and changes by the hour.

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 2021 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.

2021 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. At the moment of this writing, it is a bit too early to know when post time is going to be for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. But because this is such a historical race, we can look at how things were last year and figure out the times. On Saturday, the first race of the day will be from around 10 am to 11 pm. This is the first race of the day and races start early. The following 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 somewhere between 6:30 pm and 7:30 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.

2021 Kentucky Derby Purse

Although the 2021 Kentucky Derby purse can change, we know what the purse is right now. The purse at the time of this writing is $2 million. However, there is a slight chance that the purse can increase. During the 2020 Kentucky Derby, the purse was $3 million. If Churchill Downs has good business before the 2021 Kentucky Derby, the purse could potentially grow to $3 million or maybe even more. For now, the purse is set to $2 million which has been the traditional purse size within the last decade.

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. During the 2019 Kentucky Derby, many controversies and horse scratches made it impossible for a Triple Crown winner to happen. The 2020 race was eventually won by Authentic. Horse fans are hoping that the 2021 Kentucky Derby will give horse racing a clean slate and help us get another potential Triple Crown winner.