It’s been just eight months since last year’s Kentucky Derby. But already we are staring down the barrel of another running of The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.
After a delayed, fan-less Derby in 2020, the race will run this weekend on the standard first Saturday in May, this time in front of a limited crowd.
Still, whatever the attendance, on-site COVID restrictions won’t impact Hoosiers’ eagerness or ability to bet the race, from wherever they are in the state.
So concoct your mint juleps and put on a hat.
It’s time to bet the ponies.
Essential Quality a 2-1 favorite
This year’s 20-horse field is led by Essential Quality, an undefeated horse through five races who will enter the No. 14 post and currently sits at 2-1.
Behind Essential Quality is another undefeated horse: Rock Your World, at 5-1.
Rock Your World will start in the No. 15 post and hopes to build off of his Santa Anita Derby win, a key victory considering it was the horse’s dirt track debut.
Rounding out the top five are Known Agenda (6-1), Hod Rod Charlie (8-1), and Highly Motivated (10-1).
Note that Known Agenda drew the No. 1 post, a spot from which no horse has won the Kentucky Derby since Ferdinand did it in 1986.
Meanwhile, Churchill Downs’ annual compilation of expert opinions calls Mandaloun (15-1) the most overhyped horse and Hod Rod Charlie, the Louisiana Derby winner, the best-valued horse to bet.
But where’s the fun without throwing down a few bucks on a longshot ticket, right?
Things have opened up in many ways following the year’s numerous defections, including previously heralded long-shot and Bob Baffert-trained Concert Tour.
Instead, attention has shifted in many circles to a trio of 20-1 horses: O Besos, Midnight Bourbon, and King Fury.
How to bet the Derby
There’s no shortage of ways bet on horse racing in Indiana.
The most common approach is a win-bet. In other words, a bettor picks which horse they think will win the race. Easy enough.
At 20-1, a $10 bet on the No. 10 horse, Midnight Bourbon, would win you $200, for instance.
Bettors can also choose a horse to place (a reduced payout if the horse finishes in first OR second place) or to show (first OR second OR third).
Things get more interesting, and profitable, with exactas, trifectas, and superfectas.
In an exacta, a bettor must choose the race’s top two finishers in the correct order.
A trifecta involves picking the top three finishers in the right order, while a superfecta ups the ante to the top four finishers.
Due to the difficulty of each bet, the payouts are substantial. An accurate $1 exacta bet on the 2015 Derby, for example, garnered $36.30, while a trifecta paid out $101, and a superfecta paid out at $634.
Similarly, say you feel confident about the top horses but aren’t sure in what order they will finish.
For a discounted payout, you can choose to “box” your bet. This means a win as long as your horses finish in the correct slots, in any order.
Indiana online racebooks
Betting on the Kentucky Derby is easy at an Indiana racebook, and there is more than one to choose from.
With the TVG online racebook, you can place wagers on horse races from the comfort of you home.
In addition to placing bets, users can watch the races and get expert insights all from the same app.
The company recently announced it upgraded its wagering app just before the derby.
Upgrades include enhanced betting features and more detailed information on the horses and the race.
Kip Levin, CEO of TVG, said the following about the improvements,
“Our team is always looking at ways to improve the wagering experience for TVG customers and to reinvest in technology upgrades to improve the customer experience and make it easier for new fans. These enhanced wagering and handicapping features on our mobile app are the latest example of our company’s commitment to innovation and reinvestment in our core horse racing product.”
TwinSpires is another option for wagering on the Kentucky Derby.
While the name might seem new to Hoosiers, the company has been around in Indiana for a while.
TwinSpires racing app is a rebranding of the BetAmerica app, both owned by Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs also happens to own the racetrack where the Kentucky Derby takes place.
Just like TVG, you can bet on all of the Triple Crown races and watch them live on the TwinSpires app.