How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

The race is dubbed "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” and there is a very good reason for that. It can also be dubbed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports Betting.”

Tens of millions of dollars will be wagered on the outcome of the two minute race, and with 20 horses heading into the gate and countless ways to wager on the outcome, the race is a horse bettor’s dream.

In 2011 Animal Kingdom sprung the upset, with a $2 win wager on the colt returning $43.80. The $2 exacta with 8/1 Nehro returned $329.80. Mucho Macho Man (9/1) completed a $2 trifecta that paid $3,952.40, and Shackleford (23/1) rounded out the $2 superfecta that returned $48,126.00.

Whether you are a small bettor or push the cash through the betting window with both fists, there are many ways to make a huge windfall during the Run for the Roses.

Other big payoffs for a small investment include the $2 exacta with Giacomo (50/1) and Closing Argument (70/1) in 2005 that paid a hefty $9,915, and in 2002 War Emblem (20/1) and Proud Citizen (23/1) combined for a $2 exacta that paid $1,300.

Here is a quick look at the betting menu for the Kentucky Derby:

WIN: A bet on a horse to win.

PLACE: A bet on a horse to finish either 1st or 2nd.

SHOW: A bet on a horse to finish either 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

EXACTA: A bet picking the 1st and 2nd place finishers in a race.

TRIFECTA: A bet picking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in a race.

SUPERFECTA: A bet picking the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers in a race.

DAILY DOUBLE: A bet picking the winners of two consecutive races. There is a double linking Friday’s Kentucky Oaks with Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

SUPER HI-FIVE: A bet picking the top five finishers in a race.

In addition, look to your favorite online racebook, who will be offering fixed future odds on the Kentucky Derby. If you have a favorite horse, you can lock in generous odds weeks before the race, and are guaranteed that price no matter what odds the horse ends up on Derby Day.

A few Derby betting tips:

• Do not be afraid to wager on a longshot. Among the recent payoffs are Animal Kingdom ($43.80), Super Saver ($18.00), and Mine That Bird ($103.20).

• Look for a horse that is coming into the race in sharp form.

• While we have seen “low profile” trainers like John Servis and Chip Woolley win the race, look for trainers that have a proven record in big races like Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher.

• Look for a horse that has a foundation as a two-year-old, and at least two preps in their three-year-old season.

• Don’t use your entire betting bankroll on just the Derby. Churchill Downs puts on an outstanding two days of races, with Kentucky Oaks Day on Friday getting things started in a big way. There will be more than 20 races over the two days, and plenty of opportunities to find good betting value.