Horse Racing

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby in 2024 (Horse Race Betting Explained)

FanDuel Staff
FanDuel Staff
How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby in 2024 (Horse Race Betting Explained)

The Kentucky Derby is coming up at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4. If you are curious about betting on horse racing, there is no better time to learn horse racing betting than right now. After all, with a field of 20 of the best three-year-olds in the country, it is not only a fun and exciting race but a lucrative betting opportunity.

This is Research’s guide for how to bet on horse racing, especially the Kentucky Derby: keep reading to find out how to become a part of the action!

Naturally, you can bet on which horse will win the Kentucky Derby with FanDuel Racing. Discover the exciting 2024 Kentucky Derby promos to wager on FDR and FanDuel Sportsbook and get up to $20 back on your bet!

New FanDuel Racing users are included in the excitement with a chance to get your first win wager on a single horse in any race at any track up to $500 back if you lose. Bet the Derby!

How and Where to Bet on Horse Racing

You’ve already found the best place to bet on horse racing online: FanDuel! In states that offer sports betting, you can bet on horse racing in your FanDuel Sportsbook app, the same place you can go to bet on other sports. Anywhere else, you can bet the races through FanDuel Racing.

FanDuel is the industry leader in sports betting. FanDuel offers a full variety of wagers, convenient deposit options, and the best customer service in the betting world.

Here are the simple steps to betting the Kentucky Derby at FanDuel:

  1. Click here to visit the FanDuel Kentucky Derby Betting page. This will direct you to the appropriate place to sign up based on what state you live in.
  2. Sign up for FanDuel! By signing up, you automatically claim your Kentucky Derby bonus offer.
  3. Bet your horse in the Kentucky Derby.
  4. Watch the Kentucky Derby, knowing you’re a part of the action by having a bet down on your horse!

Just in time for The Run for the Roses, it’s a good time to get to know the full range of betting options. You’ll be able to make any of these bets on the Kentucky Derby, and on races all year long, through FanDuel!

Horse Racing Odds

It is important to know how to read horse racing odds since they are an expression of what the public thinks are the chances of each horse winning.

In American racing, odds are typically shown as a fraction: think 6-5, 7-2, or 5-1. This expresses how much you get back in winnings.

For example, let’s say you bet $2 on a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Their post-time odds are 10-1, and they win. Congratulations! You’re going to get back $22: $20 because 10-1 odds mean you win ten times your betting stake, plus your original $2 betting stake.

Wagering on horse races is parimutuel betting. This means that the payout on each horse is based on the actual money wagered on each one. This means odds aren’t final until the race starts. But, you can always track the odds through the FanDuel website or app.

Betting horse racing is a game of information, and following the odds can give you a lot of valuable data. It gives you an idea of what horses may be “hot on the board” (more heavily bet than expected, either based on the morning line or your own assessment) or “cold on the board” (less bet than expected), so you can think through why that may be the case. Following the odds can also lead you to an overlay: odds that pay better than your assessment of the horse’s true chance of winning.

Horse Racing Betting Options

In the Kentucky Derby and horse races all year long, you have a large range of options for how to play the race. It may seem complex at first, but after playing a few races, the options will seem like second nature. It is a good idea to learn about all of your horse racing betting options. After all, you’ll have different opinions on different races, and knowing the right bet in any situation is the best way to turn your opinions into real money!

Straight Bets

Straight bets refer to the simplest, most classic horse racing bets: win, place, and show. These are bets you make on one horse.

On a win bet, your bet pays off if your horse wins the race, simple as that. Traditionally speaking, when discussing a horse’s odds, these are the odds on a win bet. Win bets typically pay the most of any straight bets because they are the hardest to hit: you need the horse to finish first. Period.

Other straight bets can cash even if a horse does not win. A place bet pays off if a horse finishes first or second. For a show bet to cash, the horse must finish first, second, or third.

You can also bet a horse across the board. This means that you place the same amount of money on them to win, place, and show. If they win, all three bets cash. If they run second, the place and show bets cash. If they finish third, just the show portion hits.

Exotic Bets

Straight bets cover just one horse, but exotic bets allow you to bet on the performance of more than one horse. Typically, they pay more money when you win than straight bets do. However, they are also more difficult to hit.

There are two major bet types for exotics. Intra-race, or vertical, exotics involve betting on the finishing order of one race. You can also bet multi-race, or horizontal, exotic bets that need you to pick the winners of multiple races.

Intra-Race Exotics

If you have opinions on multiple horses in a race, intra-race exotics can often be the right bet. The major kinds of intra-race exotics include:

  • Exacta: Pick the first two finishers in the correct order.
  • Quinella: Pick the first two finishers, no exact order necessary.
  • Trifecta: Pick the first three finishers in the correct order.
  • Superfecta: Pick the first four finishers in the correct order.
  • Super High Five: Pick the first five finishers in the correct order.

Typically, bettors will bet more than one combination in a race. Common ways of covering multiple combinations include a box, key, or part-wheel.

In a box, you are covering all possible combinations of a group of horses finishing in the requisite spots. Be careful, though: the price can skyrocket quickly as you add more horses. A $1 exacta box with two horses is just $2. It is $6 for three horses, $12 for four, $20 for five. A trifecta box cost can rise even more quickly: with a $1 base bet, it is $12 for three horses, $24 for four, and already $60 for five.

Another reason boxing may not be the best choice is it puts equal weight on all combinations, and you may have a stronger opinion on a particular horse finishing in a particular spot. That is where keys and part-wheels come in.

In a key, you denote a single horse to finish in a particular place, betting a few other horses in the other spot or spots. You can key a horse in any spot: though keying a winner is most common, it can be a good bet to key a horse in second place, especially if their past performances reveal that they finish second a lot.

In a part-wheel, you choose horses for each spot. For example, if you think that there are two horses who could possibly win, three who could finish second, and six who could finish third, you could do a trifecta part-wheel.

Multi-Race Exotics

If you’re more comfortable choosing horses simply to win, or you have strong win opinions in consecutive races, go for a multi-race exotic! The simplest of these is a Daily Double: picking the winners of two consecutive races. They get longer and more difficult from there: Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6. Many tracks offer Daily Doubles and Pick 3s for any group of two or three consecutive races, called “rolling” doubles or Pick 3s. Longer sequences are offered one or more times during the day; make sure to check the race program or FanDuel betting interface to see when those are offered.

Typically, these bets are offered for consecutive races, though Churchill Downs will offer special sequences around the Kentucky Derby. These include bets like the Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby double, an all-dirt Pick 5, and a Pick 3 featuring only three-year-old races.

New to FanDuel Racing? Place your first bet on any race at any track and get it back in Racing Bonus if it doesn’t win! Valid in participating states. See here for full terms and conditions. Learn about today’s other offers at FanDuel Sportsbook Promos.

Looking for more horse racing betting opportunities? Head over to FanDuel Racing to see all of today’s horse racing odds.

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