Saddle up with the Sport of Kings as the Kentucky Derby is back on Saturday, May 2. Last year, 164,906 were on hand at Churchill Downs to see favorite California Chrome take home a purse of $1.4 million. They call this race The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports but with a jaw-dropping prize like that, they might want to change the name to “The Fastest Way to Become a Millionaire”.
The Kentucky Derby, also known as the Run for the Roses, is the Super Bowl of horse racing. If there’s one race that every jockey, trainer and owner dream of winning, it’s the big annual race at Churchill Downs.
They’re not the only ones that dream of winning on the first Saturday in May, though, as $130.5 million was bet on Kentucky Derby’s 139th running. That was the second-highest figure of all-time. Whether you had a part in that incredible sum or whether you’re new to the Sport of Kings, we’re here to navigate the way and get you ready for the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby Tradition Traces Back to 1875
The Kentucky Derby has been one of America’s greatest traditions dating all the way back to 1875. And tradition is definitely the theme of the event, starting with the annual date that it’s hosted. The Run for the Roses is always held on the first Saturday in May. That’s just the start as there’s a whole host of traditions that elevate the atmosphere: there’s the ladies big, ostentatious hats; classy partying on the infield; the “Millionaire’s Row” box seats; the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home”; the drinking of the Mint Julep; and of course, the blanket of roses. Each year, the winner of the Kentucky Derby is decorated with a blanket of 564 red roses, hence the name the “Run for the Roses”.
Kentucky Derby: Betting the First Jewel in the Triple Crown
There’s some important significance to this race as it is the first of three in the American Triple Crown of racing. The other two jewels in this Triple Crown are The Preakness and The Belmont. Only 11 horses have ever won the Triple Crown (winning all three races in the same year) and each year, the pressure falls on the Kentucky Derby winner to get the job done. The challenge is that all three venues are quite different as Pimlico Race Course, which hosts The Preakness, is the shortest of the three while Belmont Park, which hosts the Belmont Stakes, is the longest. The last to do so was Affirmed all the way back in 1978, meaning that the drought has lasted 36 years.
We’ll tell you more about the history of the race and all of the great horses that have made their mark as we prepare for the 2014 edition. We’ll also delve into further detail about Churchill Downs itself as that racetrack has some special characteristics. It’s important to understand what the track is all about before betting on Kentucky Derby as certain types of horses will thrive there while others might struggle. The track opened up in 1875 and we’ve got plenty of empirical evidence to work with, so that we can more accurately predict a future winner.
So sit back, relax and soak it all in. Betting on the Kentucky Derby is one of the greatest American pastimes and it has been for decades. We’ll be your guides through the odds, contenders, past results and even show you the best places to bet as we get set for the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.
The Top Resource for Betting the Derby
If you’re doing some research and are on the internet learning about how to bet the Kentucky Derby, the first thing you need to know is how to find a reliable sportsbook. The Kentucky Derby presents a good money-making opportunity but you’ll need to start by finding a shop that has odds on the big race and then open up an account. The good news is we have many years of experience evaluating the online sportsbooks and can recommend the best destinations for you. Setting up an account is a pretty quick process and the sportsbooks that we’ve circled will even give you a bonus just for opening an account and depositing. That’s a great bonus as it allows you to play with a little bit of the house’s money when you eventually bet on Kentucky Derby.
While that may excite you to dive right in, make sure you take advantage of all of the resources on this site before you get going. We’ve got guides on Kentucky Derby odds and the different bet types, which is quite important. Sure, you can bet the race winner but you’ll want to know the difference between Win, Place and Show, as well as learn about some of the exotic bets like the trifecta, superfecta and exacta.
2015 Kentucky Derby Contenders
Once you’ve got a firm grasp on the basics, then all there’s left to do is have a look at the 2015 Kentucky Derby contenders. As we prepare for the Run for the Roses, there is what’s called a Road to the Kentucky Derby, which is a points system that determines which horses will qualify for the big race. It has 34 stakes races, including 16 races over a 10-week schedule that is known as the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. If you’re betting on the Kentucky Derby, you’ll want to keep an eye on how the horses perform in these races (also known as the Kentucky Derby prep trail) as it will give you a good indication as to who has what it takes to win at Churchill Downs.
The Kentucky Derby is a race of the best 3-year-olds thoroughbreds and the 2014 crop looks like it will be one of the most competitive in recent memory. Shared Belief, who won the 2013 Eclipse Award as the Champion 2-Year-Old Colt, is among the early favorites. He’s trained by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who has collected more than 5,600 career wins. Cairo Prince will likely have some say in the matter as he’s won three of his first four stakes races, finished second in the Remsen Stakes in November. Candy Boy and Strong Mandate should also be strong contenders at Churchill Downs. Candy Boy opened some eyes when he cruised to an easy win at the 2014 Robert B. Lewis Stakes while Strong Mandate showed his class with a third-place finish at the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Don’t be surprised if two or three of these horses are neck-in-neck down the stretch come May 3.
The winner will of course face the pressure of the Triple Crown as The Preakness comes two weeks later and then the Belmont Stakes is three weeks after that. We’ve seen a couple of close calls with Triple Crown candidates as I’ll Have Another won the first two jewels before being forced out of the Belmont (tendinitis) while Big Brown (2008) and Smarty Jones (2004) also won the first two before falling short in the final leg.
So, are you feeling excited? The sweet smell of spring is right around the corner and so is the 2014 Kentucky Derby. We’ve got a full resource here for you to tap into, so get yourself acclimated to the betting odds, the thoroughbreds, the trainers, the tracks and the jockeys. Get ready to place some bets and pick some winners as we’ll have you so prepared that you’ll be ready to saddle up yourself!