Kentucky Derby

THE Kentucky Derby is one of the most iconic thoroughbred horse races in the world and with it comes a rich heritage of past winners.

Some of the American racing greats are featured in the winner’s list of the 2012-metre dirt race, which is held annually on the first Saturday in May and is run for a purse of around US$2 million.

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the prestigious American Triple Crown, which also includes the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes.

Known as “The most exciting two minutes in sports” the Kentucky Derby has all the flair, fashion and supreme thoroughbred talent to make it a must-watch for horse racing fans around the world.

The Churchill Downs Racetrack in Kentucky boasts a crowd which surpasses all other Triple Crown venues and betting on the Kentucky Derby is seen as a tradition in the U.S, much like betting on the Melbourne Cup is to Australians.

Betting markets open a few months before the race in May, but select bookmakers will offer early markets where punters can place fixed odds bets.

Best Kentucky Derby bookmakers

All of our listed bookmakers will have betting available on the upcoming Kentucky Derby, but only opens its market months in advance.

Bet365 offers a select market for the Kentucky Derby, which typically opens 6-7 months before the race, and it will quote any runner which isn’t listed on the page.

The following bookmakers will have futures and fixed odds betting on the Kentucky Derby:


2018 Kentucky Derby betting

We will update the odds for the 2018 Kentucky Derby when they become available.

Recent Kentucky Derby winners

2017: There was a big betting plunge for the Todd Pletcher-trained Always Dreaming and it paid off big time for punters. The strong three-year-old was backed in from $7.50 to $5 come post time and after trailing to speed throughout, it kicked clear in the straight and held on from the fast-finishing Looking At Lee. The win was both Todd Pletcher’s and jockey John Velazquez’ second Kentucky Derby success.

2016: Nyquist was the boom runner of 2016 and it didn’t let down punters. The son of Uncle Mo entered the Derby having won its first seven starts and punters secured $3 for the quality type. After jumping well, Nyquist was restrained as Danzing Candy went to the lead. Nyquist was booted up around the home turn and it held off the fast-finishing Exaggerator to win by 1.25 lengths. Exaggerator would get revenge in the Preakness Stakes when beating Nyquist which finished third.

2015: American Pharoah is a great story of a champion thoroughbred which captivated the American public. The Bob Baffert-trained colt finished fifth on debut, but it quickly rattled off four effortless wins before lining up in the Kentucky Derby. It started as the hot favourite and after settling just behind the speed throughout the trip, jockey Victor Espinoza pressed the go button around the bend and it lengthened nicely for a one-length win. American Pharoah would later become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown.

2014: California Chrome came up short in the Triple Crown, but its legacy remains firmly in tact after an incredible career. The Art Sherman-trained champion didn’t look the part in the early part of its career, but after winning four lead-up races into the Derby by big margins, a star was well and truly on the horizon. Victor Espinoza was again in the saddle and it was another Kentucky Derby favourite to keep punters happy. California Chrome settled just behind the leaders before shooting away for a five-length lead down the backstretch. The win was firmly parceled up as the turned which enabled Espinoza to ease his runner nearing the line.

2013: Orb was another favourite to win the Kentucky Derby. The Claude McGaughey III-trained colt was positioned at the back of the field before jockey Joel Rosario started to make a move down the back straight. On a rain-affected track, Orb was able to pick up runners with ease before pulling away for a 2.5-length victory. Orb ended its career with five wins from 12 starts and was unable to recapture its form from the Kentucky Derby. Orb currently stands at stud in the same paddock once used by Secretariat.

2012: I’ll Have Another caused an upset in 2012 when winning at odds of $16. The Doug O’Neill-trained colt ran in front of a record crowd of 165,307 and it became the only horse to win the Derby from barrier 19. It was also the first Kentucky Derby ride for Mario Gutierrez who didn’t have any previous experience in the Triple Crown. Unfortunately for I’ll Have Another, after winning the Preakness Stakes it would later succumb to injury and its Triple Crown dreams were dashed without getting the chance.

Kentucky Derby facts and figures

Knowing all the facts and figures can make betting on the Kentucky Derby much easier.

Listed below are some of the more important statistics which should be used as a guide for the upcoming race.

  • The betting favourite has won the last four Kentucky Derby races (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013). That hadn’t been previously achieved since 1975.
  • The favourite has won the last eight of 13 editions of the Kentucky Derby.
  • Over the same 13 years there has been two of the three biggest upsets in Kentucky Derby history. Mine That Bird and Giacomo both won paying $50.
  • Barrier 5 has accounted for 13 winners and the next best is the inside barrier. No horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby from barrier 17.
  • Four unbeaten runners have won the Kentucky Derby since Seattle Slew in 1997. These include Smarty Jones, Barbaro, Big Brown and Nyquist.
  • The best active jockeys to back in the Kentucky Derby are Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza and Gary Stevens. All three riders have won three times, with the all-time record going to Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack with five wins a piece.
  • Apollo, which won in 1882, is the only horse to win having not raced as a two-year-old. It will pay to back runners which have had a successful juvenile season.
  • The Santa Anita Derby has proven to be the best form guide leading into the race. It has produced five winners since 1997.
  • Horses with the letter S have won the Kentucky Derby 19 times. No horse starting with Q or Y has ever won and no horse starting with the letter X has ever been entered.

Kentucky Derby race record: Secretariat (1973) – 1:59.40
Longest odds to win: Donerail (1913) – $91
Record margin of victory: Eight lengths (Old Rosebud, Johnstown, Whirlaway, Assault)

Kentucky Derby past winners list

2017 – Always Dreaming
2016 – Nyquist
2015 – American Pharoah
2014 – California Chrome
2013 – Orb
2012 – I’ll Have Another
2011 – Animal Kingdom
2010 – Super Saver
2009 – Mine That Bird
2008 – Big Brown
2007 – Street Sense
2006 – Barbaro
2005 – Giacomo
2004 – Smarty Jones
2003 – Funny Cide
2002 – War Emblem
2001 – Monarchos
2000 – Fusaichi Pegasus
1999 – Charismatic
1998 – Real Quiet
1997 – Silver Charm
1996 – Grindstone
1995 – Thunder Gulch
1994 – Go for Gin
1993 – Sea Hero
1992 – Lil E. Tee
1991 – Strike the Gold
1990 – Unbridled
1989 – Sunday Silence
1988 – Winning Colors
1987 – Alysheba
1986 – Ferdinand
1985 – Spend a Buck
1984 – Swale
1983 – Sunnys Halo
1982 – Gato Del Sol
1981 – Pleasant Colony
1980 – Genuine Risk
1979 – Spectacular Bid
1978 – Affirmed
1977 – Seattle Slew
1976 – Bold Forbes
1975 – Foolish Pleasure
1974 – Cannonade
1973 – Secretariat
1972 – Riva Ridge
1971 – Canonero II
1970 – Dust Commander
1969 – Majestic Prince
1968 – Forward Pass
1967 – Proud Clarion
1966 – Kauai King
1965 – Lucky Debonair
1964 – Northern Dancer
1963 – Chateaugay
1962 – Decidedly
1961 – Carry Back
1960 – Venetian Way
1959 – Tomy Lee
1958 – Tim Tam
1957 – Iron Liege
1956 – Needles
1955 – Swaps

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