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A Betting Guide to the Kentucky Derby

The 148th Kentucky Derby is coming up and many horse racing fans are already excited and preparing for the classic event. The Kentucky Derby is amongst the most popular thoroughbred races in North America, boasting attendances of over 150,000, more than comparable single events such as the World Series, Super Bowl, or NBA Finals. The reason for its success is stemmed in the roots of the contest, which dates back to 1875 when horse racing was still in its infancy in North America. The Derby is a great event for fans, families and people who are merely curious about the grand event.

The race itself is a Grade I thoroughbred race, rated as the joint second top race in North America with the Whitney Handicap, behind only the Breeders' Cup. At 1.25 miles long, the race has also been called "The Two Most Exciting Minutes in Sports", relating to the approximate duration of the contest. The race is the first race in the Triple Crown series, which is always a highlight of each year.

Horse Racing Bets

The simplest horse racing bets are the win, place and each-way. The win is when you place money on which horse will win the race and it has the highest odds. The place bet is on whether the horse will finish the race in the first or second position, it is a safer option then betting on the winner, but it comes with reduced odds. The each-way bet is a bet on which horse will win, but a portion of the bet will pay out if the horse finishes in second place. The each-way bet has lower odds when compared with the win, and will not pay out as much for a second place finish as the place bet, but for some it is the perfect combination to use if they can afford the risk.

These are the standard bets that can be placed on any major horse racing event, but there are a number of "exotic bets" that can be placed by bettors who want to find higher odds. The Exacta, Quinella, Trifecta and Superfecta are bets that are more specific and therefore can payout far higher than the standard bets.

The Exacta is a bet on which horse will finish first and which will finish second, in the correct order. The Quinella is a "boxed bet" that is based around the Exacta. What this means is that it is also a bet on which horses will place first and second, but they do not need to be put in order. The Trifecta is a bet on which horses will finish in first, second and third places, in the correct order. The Superfecta is the highest paying bet in the sport, it is a bet on which horses will place first, second, third and fourth, and needs to be in the correct order.

Road to the Kentucky Derby

There will be up to 20 horses running in the Kentucky Derby. To qualify for the race, all horses need to win enough points on the Road to the Derby, a series of races that take place before the Kentucky Derby. There are three different Roads, including the US Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby and the European Road to the Kentucky Derby. The US Road has the most contenders, followed by the European and finally the Japanese Roads.

The winners of the Japanese and European Roads will receive a berth to the competition, whilst the first 18 in the US Road will receive berths. If either European or Japanese berths are rejected, they are offered to the next horse on the leaderboard, and will be passed down again if rejected until the fourth position, and if that berth is rejected, then it is offered to the 19th positioned horse in the US Road. The same principle applies to the US Road, that if a berth is rejected, it is passed to the next horse on the leaderboard.

The leaderboards and previous races are a great chance for fans to follow their favourite horses, but also a place where potential bettors can collect information about the contenders. Factors such as a horse’s form, preferred track type (dirt of grass), favoured race length, jockey form can all be tracked in the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Additional factors such as weather conditions, whether the Jockey has a history with the Derby (or if the horse has) can be researched as well to help with bet placing.

2022 Kentucky Derby entries

The leading horses in the Road to the Kentucky Derby are:

Classic Causeway

Bred by Kentucky West Racing, this colt has had three Graded starts in his career, finishing in first, second and third place. All of his Graded starts have been on dirt tracks and his dam, Private World, was a Derby winner. The Chestnut colt is trained by Brian A. Lynch and looks to be a strong contender with over $300,000 in career earnings.


Trainer Mark Casse has won the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes but has yet to win a Kentucky Derby. Pappacap is a bay colt who belongs to Rustlewood Farm and has won $600,000 in his career. He has one non Graded start which he won, as well as five Graded starts, where he won once, placed second twice and came in third place once. His dam is Pappascat, whose pedigree traces back to champion Peruvian Al Qasr, who was praised for his Derby stamina.


Epicenter is trained by the leading all time trainer of winners in North America, Steve Asmussen. Though Asmussen has yet to win a Kentucky Derby. Epicenter is a bay colt who hails from a family of horses that have won Stakes races that are more than a mile long, where he inherited his Derby stamina. The Kentucky based colt prefers dirt tracks, and has won twice and placed second once from four starts, that include his Graded maiden where he came in second.

White Abarrio

White Abarrio is a grey coated colt who has raced before at a Graded race in the Churchill Downs. Trainer Saffie A. Joseph Jr. will try to improve on the colts last performance at the dirt track where he finished third, setting his track record at one win and one third place from two Graded starts and two wins from two non Graded starts. He has won over $240,000 from his racing career.

Mo Donegal

Owned by Donegal Racing, this bay colt is trained by Todd A. Pletcher and showed great determination last year to win and place third in his two Graded races. He has the same record in his two non Graded races, and has earned over $220,000 in his career so far.

Rattle N Roll

This chestnut coated colt returns with owner Kenneth G. McPeek to familiar territory. He won a race at the Churchill Downs last year and followed that race with a Grade I win at Keeneland. He has won twice from four starts, and placed third once, making a total of $380,000 in his career.

In the other two Roads, the leading contestants are:

Consigliere (JPN)

Leading the Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby is Consigliere, a bay colt. He took the lead when he won the First Leg at the Cattleya Stakes in Tokyo. The colt is owned by Kazumi Yoshida and with trainer Yukio Inagaki, he has won two races from two starts, making over $200,000 in earnings.

Luxembourg (IRE)

This Irish bred bay colt had one of the best European two year olds last year when he won three from his three starts, winning over $250,000. Two of his races were Graded races in England and Ireland, and with trainer Aidan O'Brien, who has trained Breeders' Cup winning horses, both horse and trainer will look to secure a place in their maiden Kentucky Derby.

Angel Bleu (FR)

A French bred grey coated colt, Angel Bleu was trained in Britain, he was also one of the top two year olds in Europe, winning five out of his eight races. He is bred by Ralph Beckett and has earned over $580,000 in his career, with three Graded wins.

Royal Patronage (FR)

This French bred bay colt is trained by Mark S. Johnston. He started six times last year, winning three and placing second once, earning $165,000. Two of his wins came at Graded races in Britain.

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