History of the Kentucky Derby

kentucky derby logoFew sporting events are more widely-recognized than the Kentucky Derby. This annual horse race occurs on the first Saturday of May. The history of the Kentucky Derby itself has deep roots for horse aficionados everywhere, ever since its first running at Churchill Downs . Attendance for the Kentucky Derby normally is greater than at all other stakes races. This is largely owed to the unique traditions, powerful horses and thrilling wagers associated with the Kentucky Derby.


On May 17, 1875, the first Kentucky Derby race was held at Churchill Downs; this landmark race track still hosts the event today. Although considered a success after its first race, Churchill Downs experienced financial hardships in 1894. The facility began to prosper again in the early 1900s. It was at this time, in 1908, that Churchill Downs implemented a parimutuel betting machine for the Kentucky Derby. This made the track more profitable and turned the Kentucky Derby into the choice event that it is today.

Betting at the Kentucky Derby

Since its earliest beginnings, the Kentucky Derby has been nearly synonymous with betting. The Kentucky Derby is supported by the parimutuel wagering system. This technique first provides a fixed percentage of all of the race’s wagers to the track. That dollar amount is usually between fourteen and twenty-five percent of the total. In turn, those funds are used for operating expenses, racing purses and taxes. The money that remains from this amount is divided by the number of wagers to calculate bettor winnings.

The estimated payout amounts on the Kentucky Derby, or odds, are formulated recurrently by the computers at Churchill Downs. These are then posted online and on track odds boards before the event. Bettors are enthralled with this hallmark event for two reasons: the Kentucky Derby offers the greatest payouts of all horse races in the world, and the excitement of selecting a winning horse makes for a heart-pounding experience.

Check Out Official List of the Top Derby Sportsbooks Here


Triple Crown

In 1917, thoroughbred owners began to send their horses from the Kentucky Derby to compete in the Preakness Stakes held in Maryland. This race was followed by New York’s Belmont Stakes. The number of horse owners who competed in this succession of races began to gradually increase as a result of the winnings they provided. In 1930, these three events became known as the Triple Crown.

The media utilized this term to grab the attention of spectators. Interest grew with regard to a super horse that could possibly win the Triple Crown. As this interest increased, so, too, did the number of betting enthusiasts who frequented the Kentucky Derby, the first race of the Triple Crown.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby pays a $2 million purse to the victor of the race. The possibility of winning this money draws the best thoroughbreds in the world. As betting enthusiasts are aware of this, they continually check the race line-up and those odds of favored horses. Essentially, betting at the Kentucky Derby is an intricate activity that requires its homework.

The three most common methods of betting on the Kentucky Derby are as follows:

Bet to Win: a wager placed on the projected winning horse.
Bet to Place: a wager placed on the horse projected to take first or second place.
Bet to Show: a wager placed on the horse projected to take first, second or third place.

The largest payouts are given to those who place bets to win; this is premised on the fact that predicting the winner of the Kentucky Derby is more difficult than predicting the second or third-place finishers.

Today, a generous number of Kentucky Derby betting sites are available for enthusiasts to place their wagers on the Kentucky Derby. The odds at these sites are clearly posted, and many also provide props for the event on which additional wagers can be placed. It is common for online betting sites to also include Triple Crown odds and betting lines with those of the Kentucky Derby. This elite event is unlike any other in the world, and betting for it can be found in large quantities at online betting sites.

Play Sport of Kings!

© 2010 KentuckyDerbyPicks.com - All Rights Reserved.