Kentucky Derby Betting Guide: Odds, Picks, Favorites To Win 2021

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The 147th Kentucky Derby will go on as planned, as this year’s “Run for the Roses” will take place with or without fans. With that said, it is expected that there will be at least 40% capacity at Churchill Downs for this year’s race. The race is back to spring, as the date for this year’s event is May 1st, 2021.

Let’s take a look at the odds, news, top horse racing apps and more for the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby.



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Kentucky Derby Date and Time 2021

Date: Saturday, May 1, 2021
Time: Around 6:30 PM EST

Per the Kentucky Derby website, the 147th Kentucky Derby is scheduled as planned. There will be fans in the stands, likely limited to 40% capacity. Masks will need to be worn as well, unless more restrictions are lifted. Nevertheless, the roar of the crowd will certainly return in some capacity for the 2021 race.

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Latest 2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

Here’s a look at the top five in terms of Kentucky Derby odds, with the latest prices as of late April 2021.

  • Essential Quality (+200)
  • Rock Your World (+500)
  • Known Agenda (+600)
  • Hot Rod Charlie (+800)
  • Highly Motivated (+1000)

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Opening 2021 Kentucky Derby Odds

Here’s a look at the 2021 Kentucky Derby odds, with Essential Quality leading the way.

Horse Odds to Win Kentucky Derby
Essential Quality +350
Life is Good +400
Greatest Honour +600
Caddo River +1500
Mandaloun +1500
Concert Tour +2000
Highly Motivated +2000
Prevalence +2000
Proxy +2000
Spielberg +2000
Candy Man Rocket +3000
Collaborate +3000
Dream Shake +3000
Freedom Fighter +3000
Hot Rod Charlie +3000
Keepmeinmind +3000
Medina Spirit +3000
Midnight Bourbon +3000
Risk Taking +3000
Hush of a Storm +5000
Roman Centurian +5000
Rombauer +5000
The Great One +5000
Field +1000

The opening odds for the 2021 Kentucky Derby have been released, and it looks like there will be a trio of horses at the top as Essential Quality, Life is Good, and Greatest Honour lead the odds chart. For those wagering on horse racing online, check out your legal book for the latest odds. Could we see another incredibly finish like we did last year?

In addition, TwinSpires’ top handicapper predicted who the closing favorite will be, prices, and more here.



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This Year’s Kentucky Derby to Run with Fans in Attendance

There will be fans in attendance for the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby. Now, there is unlikely to be zero restrictions for the race as the COVID-19 pandemic is still limiting Churchill Downs. Here are some of the restrictions that visitors for this year’s Derby could face.

  • Limited capacity (40% or more)
  • Limited access to entire facility.
  • Reduced approved media credentials.
  • Only essential personnel in the stables.
  • Venue operation changes to limit person-to-person contact.
  • Masks are encouraged at all times, unless seated.
  • Masks encouraged while placing wagers.
  • Guests are encouraged to apply social distancing.


How Can I Bet on the Kentucky Derby?

There are plenty of ways to bet on the Kentucky Derby, but it all varies on your states laws and such. Horse Racing is a much broader market in terms of which states are allowed to offer betting at tracks via simulcast or online. You can bet on horse in most states. You cannot bet on horse racing in the following:

  • Alaska
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Washington DC

You can bet on the Kentucky Derby in a few ways:

  • At your local track
  • Online via Horse Racing Apps

Betting online via horse racing apps is the easiest and best user experience, as some of the best iGaming companies in the world offer horse racing. Let’s take a look at the best options.

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Top Kentucky Derby Online Betting Apps

A look at the best online betting apps to bet on the Kentucky Derby. There are many apps to bet on horse racing, but these are the the fan favorites.

TVG Horse Racing Betting App

TVG is one of the most well-known online horse racing betting applications, available on iOS devices. The app has plenty of historical information, live streams of the races, and an easy-to-use platform with a generous welcome bonus. Unfortunately, TVG is not available on Android devices yet but does have a mobile-friendly version. TVG has a welcome bonus that includes a risk-free bet, deposit match, and more.



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TwinSpires Horse Racing Betting App

TwinSpires is the most popular horse betting app around, as it is a partner of the Kentucky Derby. You can download the TwinSpires app on both iOS and Android devices, and can wager on horse racing from tracks all over the world. You can watch nearly any race you can image in its replay library, and TwinSpires provides handicapping, expert picks, and more from top horse racing analysts.

FanDuel Horse Racing

Did you know that FanDuel has their own horse racing platform? FanDuel is offering $5 FREE and a match up to $50 on your first deposit. Given the reputation of the company, the app on both Android and iOS platforms is a seamless experience, and allows for all sorts of betting options.

BetAmerica Horse Racing App

BetAmerica is available on both iOS and Android platforms, and offers a seamless horse racing betting experience. In addition to horse racing, it allows you to bet on greyhounds as well for those allowed. There are racetracks that are streamed and able to wager on from USA to Australia, making BetAmerica one of the most popular choices for horse racing bettors.


How to Bet on Horse Racing

There are many ways to bet on horses, and it is quite a bit different than using online casinos or online sportsbooks. Betting on horses comes with its own set of lingo and strategy. Here are some of the ways to bet on horses, explained. The first thing you will need is a bit of information on which race to bet on. You will need the track name, race number, horse, dollar amount, and what type of bet.

Win, Place, and Show Betting

Win – If your horse finishes first, you win money.
Place – If your horse finishes 1st or 2nd, you win money.
Show – If your horse finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you win money.

You can also bet across the board, which is a combination of the win, place, and show. If your horse wins, you cash all three bets, if horse comes in second, you win Place and Show, etc.

What is an Exacta bet?

Pick two horses, if they come in first and second in exact order, you win.

Quinella (Exacta Box)

Pick two horses, if they come in first and second in any order, you win.

What is a Trifecta?

Pick three horses, if they come in first, second, and third in exact order, you win. You can also box this, similar to an exacta box.

What is a Superfecta?

Pick four horses, if they come in first, second, third, and fourth in exact order, you win.

Daily Double

Pick two winners of two races, and you win. You have to bet on both races before the first race begins.

Pick 3

Same as Daily Double, but for three races.

Pick 4

Same as Pick 3, but four races.

Pick 6

Pick the winner in six straight races, and you win. Massive odds, but massive risk.


Kentucky Derby Betting History

The Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest events in terms of betting each year. Here is a look at some betting history for the beloved event, including top longshots, best finishes, and more.

Top 5 Kentucky Derby Longshots

A list of the top 5 longshots that have won the Kentucky Derby.

  • Donerail – 91/1
  • Mine That Bird – 50/1
  • Giacomo – 50/1
  • Gallahadion – 36/1
  • Charismatic – 31/1

In the 1913 Kentucky Derby, Donerail was a massive longshot at 91:1. Somehow the horse won, and it changed the face of odds forever as you can see above. No other longshot has won at more than 50:1 odds since that day in 1913.


Best Kentucky Derby Finishes

There have been some tremendous finishes over the last 150 years of the Kentucky Derby, including longshots winning, close finishes, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the best finishes in Kentucky Derby history.

2009 Kentucky Derby – Mine That Bird

Mine That Bird was a massive upset at 50:1, and ran away from the field in 2009.

2001 Kentucky Derby – Monarchos Nearly Dethrones Secretariat

In 2001, we almost saw a record-breaking performance from Monarchos who finished just behind Secretariat’s time in the Kentucky Derby. Just two-fifths of a second separated Monarchos from the top overall time.

2019 Kentucky Derby – Debacle Ends, Maximum Security Loses in Controversy

This may be one of the most memorable finishes, but for the wrong reason. Maximum Security won the race, but then lost due to controversy which resulted in a foul and was stripped of the win.


Fastest Kentucky Derby Horse

To this date, Secretariat still holds the fastest time to finish the Kentucky Derby at 1:59 2/5. That is still the track record for Churchill Downs. One of the most storied horses in the history of the sport holds that title for a reason. A list of the top 5 finishers in terms of time:

  • Secretariat – 1:59 2/5
  • Monarchos – 1:59.97
  • Northern Dancer – 2:00
  • Spend a Buck – 2:00 1/5
  • Decidedly – 2:00.4


Jockeys with Most Kentucky Derby Wins

A look at the jockeys with the most career Kentucky Derby wins.

  • Eddie Arcaro – 5 (1938, 1941, 1945, 1948, 1952)
  • Bill Hartack – 5 (1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1969)
  • Bill Shoemaker – 4 (1955, 1959, 1965,1986)
  • Seven tied with three (3).

Data from


Trainers with Most Kentucky Derby Wins

A look at the trainers with the most career Kentucky Derby wins for horses they have trained.

  • Ben Jones – 6 (Lawrin, Whirlaway, Pensive, Citation, Ponder, Hill Gail)
  • Herbert J. Thompson – 4 (Behave Yourself, Bubbling Over, Burgoo King, Brokers Tip)
  • D. Wayne Lukas – 4 (Winning Colors, Thunder Gulch, Grindstone, Charismatic)
  • Bob Baffert – 4 (Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem, American Pharoah)
  • James Fitzsimmons – 3 (Gallant Fox, Omaha, Johnstown)
  • Max Hirsch – 3 (Bold Venture, Assault, Middleground)

Data from


Kentucky Derby Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bet on the Kentucky Derby legally?

Yes, the Kentucky Derby can be legally wagered on in most of the states in the US.

When is the 2021 Kentucky Derby?

The 2021 Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 1, 2021.

Who won the 2020 Kentucky Derby?

The winner of the 2020 Kentucky Derby a horse named Authentic.

Where can I bet on the Kentucky Derby?

You can bet on the Kentucky Derby at your local track or online at legal online horse racing betting apps.

Who is the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby?

The favorite to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby is Essential Quality.

Where does the Kentucky Derby take place?

The Kentucky Derby takes place at the famous Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.