A Bookie’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby

A Bookie’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a prestigious American Horse race and one of the most popular horse racing events in the world. It is held annually at the Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville and has been captivating horse gamblers since 1875. Our Bookie’s Guide to the Kentucky Derby, will go over its history, the horse gambling aspect of it and more.

Also known as the “Run for the Roses, The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown. In addition, the Derby features three-year-old thoroughbred horses racing a distance of 1.25 miles. Thus, the intense competition, and the thrill of the race make it a captivating spectacle for fans, gamblers, and bookies.

The History of the Kentucky Derby

The History of the Kentucky Derby

Every year, on the first Saturday in May, approximately 150,000 spectators gather at Churchill Downs to witness the Derby. Furthermore, it is often referred to as “the greatest two minutes in sports” because of the adrenaline-packed race duration.

The History of the Kentucky DerbyHowever, it’s claim to fame is not just because the Kentucky Derby is the longest-running sports event in the US It is also because it is a major horse betting event that is full of traditions. So much in fact that it has now become an integral part of American culture.

The person behind the Kentucky Derby is Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. He began this endeavor after being inspired by European horse races. The inaugural Derby on May 17,1875 featured Aristides, ridden by African-American jockey Oliver Lewis. Over time, the race evolved, and the distance was shortened to its current length of 1.25 miles.

In addition, much of its fame today is due to the efforts of Colonel Martin “Matt” Winn.  This thanks to innovations, including introducing pari-mutuel betting machines, elevated the event’s status. Therefore, he made the Derby into America’s most iconic horse race during the early 20th century.

Today, Derby fans are known for their flamboyant hats, and the event is a celebration of dress, food, and pleasure. People sip on mint juleps, sing “Old Kentucky Home,” and revel in the festive atmosphere.

Guide to the Kentucky Derby – Importance of the Kentucky Derby for Bookies

For bookies and sportsbook owners, the Kentucky Derby is not just any horse race. This is because it is very profitable due to the amount of money people wager on it. In fact, betting on the Kentucky Derby continues to grow every year.

Guide to the Kentucky Derby – Importance of the Kentucky Derby for BookiesIn 2023 sportsbooks took in a record $188.7 million in wagers on the main race of the Kentucky Derby. Not bad for a 2-minute event! In addition, the bookies took in a record $288.7 million across all 14 races. And that is just from licensed sportsbook in the U.S. and does not include offshore betting operations.

In 2022, bookmakers took $179 million betting on the Kentucky Derby which was 17% higher from the 2021 race.

In the COVD era (2020-2021), the racebooks did not do as well. However, it still took in $126 million in wagers in 2020 despite being closed to the public. Thus, this says a lot about horse bettors. It shows how they will keep betting on the Kentucky Derby no matter what is going on.

Overall, the wagering Kentucky Derby continues to increase every year. In 1981, the total bet on the Derby was $11.4 million. 10 years later in 1991, it had grown to $42.7 million and another decade later, the number had increased to $107.6 million. Thus, we can expect to see even better for the next decade.

It’s no wonder so many people want to open a horse betting business and get in on the action.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

For the casual horse racing bettors who want a piece of the action, there are many horse betting options available. Ideally, they could just go to Churchill Downs, go to the betting window a place a $2 bet. Unfortunately for most, that is not a possibility. Therefore, they must make use of online sportsbooks that have a horse betting platform and software to place their wager.

The drawback of horse betting online for first time bettors is that no one is there to explain how it works. Thus, here is a short but concise tutorial on How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby. Just keep in mind that this Kentucky Derby wagering tutorial will just go over the main type horse racing wagers.

Straight Horse Wagers

These are the simplest and easiest way to bet on a horse race as you are betting on one horse

  • Win – This is where you are betting on which horse will win the race.
  • Place – This is where you bet on whether a horse will “place”, meaning come in first or second place.
  • Show – This is where you bet on whether a horse will come in first, second or third place.
  • Across the Board – When you place a bet across the bord, you are betting that the hose will win, place and show. Also known as a combo straight because it is 3 different bets in one.

Exotic Wagers

Exotic wagers allow bettors to bet on multiple horses are the same time. They are:

  • Exacta – You bet on two horses to come in first and second in an exact order.
  • Quinella – When you bet on two horses to come in first and second in any order.
  • Trifecta – Wagering on 3 horses to finish in first, second, and third in an exact order.
  • Superfecta – Betting that four horses will finish, first, second, third, and fourth in an exact order.

In short, the Kentucky Derby is much more than a mere horse race. No, it is also a cultural phenomenon, a celebration of history, style, and the thrill of competition.

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