Horse racing is one of the most popular to bet online with large amounts wagered on it every year.
Turning over billions of pounds every year in the UK, the sport of kings is always a hit with punters be that from midweek low-grade racing all the way to the other end of the spectrum at events such as the Kentucky Derby.
The reason for this is that horse racing appeals to a wide array of punters with a large number of markets and bet types available.
There rarely goes a day when there aren’t several meetings on, while major races, such as the Kentucky Derby, attract an even higher number of punters, which brings an inflated betting turnover total.
There are vast opportunities for people to get involved in horse racing betting, meaning that the different markets available can suit different people’s interests.
There are multiple race meetings on virtually every day of the year while the major races only come round once a season, meaning there is excitement and trepidation all year round.
Online betting has very much become the norm in recent years with bettors now having the ability to place bets across a variety of different sports or venues all from one place.
For events like the Kentucky Derby, this has become essential because the majority of punters betting on these meetings won’t be there in person, meaning the ability to bet online is often the only option.
Many would, obviously, love to be at the event in person but being thousands of miles away from the UK, few can make it. The benefits of betting online in these circumstances are obvious as it opens up the excitement to territories far and wide.
Online gambling is by far the most used form of betting these days, with activity at betting shops and on-course significantly lower than it used to be.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most well-known and widely recognised races in the global racing calendar.
Held annually in Louisville, Kentucky it is almost always staged on the first Saturday in May and rounds out the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival.
So far out, it’s impossible to get a feel for the intended runners in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, and there’s still plenty of racing to take place between now and then for horses and jockeys to build a run of form to give themselves a chance at success.
Being the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby tends to garner a lot of interest from the racing world.
The trials will begin in March 2022, and with the first cycle of entries for all three Triple Crown races made in January 2022, it’s unlikely the picture for race favourites will become clearer until then.
The race itself is a Grade 1 event for three-year-old male and female horses run over one mile and two-furlongs and is commonly referred to in the United States as ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports.’
The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. Interestingly, the Kentucky Derby is the only leg of the three Triple Crown races to have run uninterrupted since its inaugural race in 1875.
The race attracts the attention of millions of racing fans all over the world, and in 2017 a crowd of nearly 160,000 people saw Always Dreaming win the Kentucky Derby, making it the seventh biggest attendance in the history of the racetrack.
That same year, the track reported there was a total of over $200m wagered on the day’s racing over various sportsbooks.
And, without being able to cite exact figures from all over the world, you can be sure that this will be increased with punters overseas and in the UK getting involved.
Finding winners in these big races can sometimes be easy when there is a potential superstar in the field and sometimes difficult when there doesn’t look like a standout winner.
With such good prize money on offer, the esteem of landing one of the world’s most famous races, and with it being a Group 1, it attracts the best of horses that America and other countries have to offer.
Therefore, it’s a race that studying the ‘form’ is key for. Studying the form is essentially looking back through a horse’s career results, notably their most recent few, and seeing how they have got on.
It’s not an exact science and there are occasions when a horse that is totally ‘out of form’ roars back ‘into form’ and wins out of the blue, but more often than not, it’s a wise move to look at horses that have been running well.
There are, of course, some anomalies that can occur such as Justify in 2018 who he landed the odds without racing as a two-year-old.
All tracks in America are left-handed and the vast majority of races are run around a bend – a factor that is quite unique. In many other jurisdictions, races are run in a straight line, but in America this is uncommon.
With this in mind, it’s often a prudent strategy to select a horse with a well-known jockey, who has prior knowledge of the track. This is because they are well-versed in the best place to be on the track and whether or not they should have their ride up at the front from the off or further back with the aim of pouncing late.
Of the modern era, John Velazquez is leaps and bounds ahead of his rivals in the Kentucky Derby, having landed the prize in 2011, 2017, 2020, and 2021. This is a truly remarkable record for the 49-year-old American, who will hope to continue his fine run of form in next year’s renewal.
Otherwise known as going, this American terminology is used to describe how the track is running. As the Kentucky Derby is not raced on turf, it is important to look at horses’ form over the track conditions on the day.
Usually ran on ‘fast’, the Kentucky Derby is no stranger to occasionally getting a reading of ‘sloppy’, meaning the race will be run slower which can seriously impact a horse’s chances given their style of running.
Although, it is equally important to note that these conditions can really improve a horse’s probability of winning if they are suited to a slower race.
Don’t forget to read about how to bet on the Triple Crown.
The Kentucky Derby is synonymous with famous winners down the years, and the best place to start is with Secretariat.
Secretariat, also known as ‘Big Red’, was the ninth winner of the Triple Crown, and still holds the fastest time record in all three races. Widely regarded as one of the greatest horses of all time,
Secretariat accomplished the feat in 1973 and was the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. When winning the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths, it’s hard to argue with his superiority on the racetrack.
It would be another 42 years since the Triple Crown was won again, this time from another great, American Pharoah. American Pharoah went arguably one better, though, and after clinching the Triple Crown went on to the Breeders’ Cup to contest the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
When landing that Grade 1 race, American Pharoah achieved the ‘Grand Slam of Thoroughbred Racing’, a feat no horse had ever claimed or has ever since.
The wait for another winner of the Triple Crown would only be three years after American Pharoah’s success, as Justify landed the prize in 2018.
However, another record was broken when completing the feat as he became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old.
As mentioned, there are many different types of bets on horse racing. When deciding to bet on a horse it is important to note this as it can occur that a horse doesn’t need to win for you to make money.
The most common bet is a straight, or win, bet which is when you are putting money on something to happen. So, in the case of horse racing, you are betting on a horse to win the specific race, or ‘on the nose’ as is commonly referred to.
A slight variation of a straight is an each-way bet. This is where you are betting on a horse in both the win and place markets. This is a good bet for when there are a lot of horses running in a race because the chance of finding a winner is less and the odds reflect this.
As such, you can quite often win money even if your selection doesn’t actually win the race. Bookies often offer a huge number of places on certain races, so there is plenty of scope for each-way punters.
Another common wager type is a forecast. This requires you to pick the first and second-placed horses in a race. This can be a straight exacta which is the 1-2 in the correct order, or a reverse forecast which is where it doesn’t matter which order the selected horses finish in.
The final commonly-used bet type is a tricast. The premise of this is to back the three horses that finish first, second and third in a selected race. This is obviously very tricky so the pay-outs for punters are normally much bigger and thus are very appealing.
Punters can also play the slightly likelier combination tricast, where you have to select the first three home in any order.
Another form of bet that may appeal to the more patient punter is for a horse to land the Triple Crown ahead of the Kentucky Derby.
With the Derby being the first leg of the Triple Crown there can be the opportunity to pick out a potential superstar in the field that could go on to make history and make some money for yourself!