What 5 Races are Best to Bet on Kentucky Derby Day?

Kentucky Derby Trophy
Kentucky Derby trophies at Churchill Downs (Horsephotos.com)

The Kentucky Derby generates a tremendous amount of coverage and interest from the media and horse racing industry. But with 14 races on the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Day card, there are six other stakes races that also generate strong wagering interest.

With the requirement to bet a minimum of 4 races on Kentucky Derby day for the Kentucky Derby Betting Championship, there may be questions to which races to utilize in your wagering strategy. Find a quick look at five of the quality stakes to have betting selections in, below.

Here are the 5 best Kentucky Derby Day stakes races to bet.

The $2 million Kentucky Derby and ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports’ is certainly one of the best five races to bet on as the historical payouts have proven to be substantial at times. Despite the favorite winning each of the last five 1 ¼ mile Kentucky Derby’s since 2013, the favorite may still be near 5-1 in a 20-horse filed like Always Dreaming was in 2017 when he paid $11.40 on a $2 win wager. But when a pair of long shots at 33-1 and 40-1 finished 2nd and 3rd, it triggered payouts of $336.20 on a $2 exacta and $16,594 on a $2 trifecta. So you can see that if you’re playing a simple heavy win bet even on a favorite and you come up with the winner, your return is likely to be quite good. Prior to the recent run of favorites winning the Derby, the median win payout since 2000 in the Kentucky Derby was $23.00, or essentially 10-1 odds.

The $250,000 Pat Day Mile for 3-year-olds draws large fields often of at least 12 horses, and has had some bigger payouts in recent years. In 2017, Wild Shot (8-1) paid $19.40. In 2016 Sharp Azteca (13-1) paid $28.20 to win while an 8-1 horse finished second. In 2015 Competitive Edge (7-5) paid $4.60 as the favorite, but the long shot in the field (27-1) finished 2nd for a $2 exacta payoff of $118.60.

The $300,000 American Turf is another race for 3-year-olds and contested at 1 1/16 miles. Since 2014, long shot odds have won the race starting with Global View (2014) at 6-1 for $14.00, Divisidero (2015) at 8-1 for $19.20, Camelot Kitten (2016) at 18-1 for $39.00 and Arklow (2017) at 15-1 for $32.00.

The $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes presented by Twinspires.com also draws large fields and in 2017 long shot Limousine Liberal (13-1) captured the 7 furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and returned $28.40 to win in a field of 14. In 2016, Catalina Red (14-1) was another long shot winner and paid $30.20 while the favorite finished eighth. In 2015 Private Zone (5-2) won and paid $7.40 but just six horses raced and the 4-5 favorite finished last. The long shot in the field (29-1) finished 2nd to trigger a $2 exacta of $191. In 2014, another long shot Central Banker (10-1) won and paid $23.60 to win.

The $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic has returned the least payouts of these Derby Day races in recent years, but still draws bigger and strong fields. In 2017 Divisidero (7-2) won his second consecutive Turf Classic and paid $9.00. In his 2016 victory in the same race, Divisidero (6-1) returned $15.40. In 2015 Finnegan’s Wake (7-2) went last to first to win and return $9.40 as the favorite.

Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs offers plenty of strong races and big payout potential, and Twinspires.com is a best bet for legal wagering online or on a mobile app.

by Fairway Jay