Here’s all you need to know about wagering on this weekend’s Kentucky Derby

This Saturday evening sees the 143rd Kentucky Derby take place, with excitement beginning to build ahead of the legendary event.

The Kentucky Derby is one of the US's most iconic sporting events.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the US’s most iconic sporting events.

As we’ve seen in the other biggest events in the racing calendar this year, such as the Cheltenham festival and the Grand National, there are no clear favorites in the fold. While that means that bookies are set to make a fortune, it also opens up some opportunities for bettors to make a winning selection at higher odds.

While the Triple Crown race takes place on Saturday evening, there will be a week of races to look forward to, with the undercard and Kentucky Oaks also promising more excitement. This guide will give you a quick run-down of how you can place a wager on the race, how you can watch it on TV, and which horses to look out for if you’re struggling to make a selection.

Can I bet on the Kentucky Derby from the US?

Depending on which state you’re based in, probably. TwinSpires, which is the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, allows you to bet legally on the race in the vast majority of US states. You can check to see if it’s allowed where you live by consulting their FAQ.

For states where gambling restrictions are looser, of course, you’ll have plenty of other options. Outside of the US, for countries with legalized gambling, you should be able to find prices at any major bookmaker.

So who’s a good pick for the race?

With a relatively open field, there are few clear favorites this year, but there’s a chance to get some pretty big odds on some horses with excellent pedigree. Here are just a few to consider betting on.

Classic Empire

The early favourite for the Derby had struggled for form, before returning to post some impressive results, most notably winning the Arkansas Derby, just in time for the main event. While the horse hasn’t raced much in the past two years compared to its competitors and has a history of being temperamental, it’s still the leading contender for the main prize. Due to that nature, it’s probably worth backing to go all the way and win.

Irish War Cry

One contender, which defeated favourite Classic Empire in the Holy Bull to score a significant upset, Irish War Cry has also been tipped by several pundits. That victory was hoped to be the start of something special, and a derby win would fit firmly within that narrative. Also victorious in the Wood Memorial, the horse is a serious contender and looks good value to either win or place.

Always Dreaming

Stormed to victory in the Florida Derby, Always Dreaming is also up there among the leading contenders for the race and is expected to put in a strong showing. Definitely worth a look if you don’t fancy the prices of the two above.


Undefeated at Churchill Downs, McCraken doesn’t have quite the same pedigree as the other contenders, but is nonetheless expected to run well and could be excellent value for money, as well as a reasonably safe bet to place.


Posted very strong results leading up to the derby. While the price fell after suffering defeat in the Florida Derby to Always Dreaming, there’s no doubt about the quality of this runner and some bettors have been taking advantage of the better odds now available.

Where can I watch the Kentucky Derby on TV?

This year, NBC have the rights, so you can catch the event starting at 2.30pm on Saturday on NBC Sports. If you decide to bet through TwinSpires, their own TwinSpiresTV will also get you covered.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Casinopedia

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