The Kentucky Derby (5th-6th May 2017) is the third race in a series known as The Triple Crown; the other two races are the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes. All three races are highly attended and betted on.
In 2016, 167,227 fans attended the Kentucky Derby. While some of them may have gone just to watch horses run in a circle, chances are many of them were there with some money on the line.
Betting on horse racing can be a great rush, but if you’ve never done it before the whole process can seem overwhelming, so check out these 10 key insights for Kentucky Derby betting to take you through the 2017 horse racing season.
- Recent race records
- Speed figures
- Lineage & Pedigree
- Potential difficulties
- Stride length
- The Jockey
Is there more to picking a winning horse? Should you rely on a lucky number or pick the horse whose name you like? Every better has their own method, but these insights are certainly worth paying attention to.
What makes our guide the best is that not only does it provide an understanding of what makes a great racehorse, but we’ve also sprinkled in the names of some of our top horses to watch.
Look for them in bold throughout the guide!
Recent Race Records & Derby Betting
How a horse performs right up to the Derby can signal how that same horse will perform in the actual event. Take Epicharis for example, who was recently undefeated for the fourth time in a row.
Epicharis already has a spot in the Derby.
Want to know how fast a horse runs a race? Take a gander at the speed figures. There are several speed figure ratings out there, including Brisnet and Beyer.
One Liner received a 102 Bayer Speed figure, which counts among the top horses (with rare and exceptional being a 120 and higher).
Lineage & Pedigree
Just as certain dog breeds are bred for specific features, so too are horses. If your pup has a show dog for a father, that matters.
The same is true in horse racing. Take O Dionysus, for example, who was sired by Bodemeister. You might remember Bodemeister taking 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness back in 2012 after winning the Arkansas Derby.
In many sports, there comes a time when an athlete’s age takes him or her off the field or court. The same is true of horses and racing tracks.
How old is the horse you want to bet on? Some races have age restrictions; the Belmont, for example, accepts only 3-year-old horses, yet many horses race well into their fifth year.
Patch is a 3-year-old colt and one of our horses to watch.
If someone recommends a book to you, how often do they recommend based on the author? With horse racing, the trainer of the horse can make a big difference. Different trainers can have different strategies, so studying their past work can provide valuable Derby betting insights.
Take McCraken, who is trained by Ian Wilkes. Now, Wilkes was the assistant trainer under Carl Nafzger, who trained both Unbridled and Street Sense to their Derby wins.
While there aren’t hurdles on the track at the Kentucky Derby, certain horses can have figurative hurdles to jump over. Some horses might seem promising, and then they’re injured.
Others might have lower speed figures, like Irish War Cry, who holds a 76 Brisnet Speed figure. Speed isn’t everything, though, and this horse has good trainer history and some enticing race records.
A horse that wins and loses, then wins and loses, is inconsistent. This can point to a number of issues, including a poor training strategy.
Of course, it might point to nothing, but an inconsistent horse is an unpredictable horse, and an unpredictable horse can make for poor odds.
One horse that has shown consistent improvement is Bronze Age.
If you examine statistics for years of races, you’ll find that typically, horses with an average stride are more likely to win. That said, there have been a few horses that have had a much longer stride, like Secretariat.
A possible contender for this year’s Derby, Gunnevera has a long stride.
The relationship between jockey and racehorse is a partnership, so understanding a jockey’s history is important too.
Gormley’s jockey, Victor Espinoza, is a three-time winner of the Best Jockey ESPY Award.
Some of the best human athletes in the world have great coaches, play with great teammates, and spend long hours practicing their sport.
They also have something else. Some unmeasurable aspect that can only be defined as spirit, or attitude.
It’s that attitude that made the movie Seabiscuit as popular in the bookstore as it was in the box office.
While Hollywood will do what it must in order to fill movie theatre seats, the fact is that some horses do have more attitude than others. Some horses like to win.
Horses know they’re racing and some just want it more. But how do you look at the attitude of a horse? It’s not like you can interview the animal before the Triple Crown.
You follow the horse. You read stories about the horse, interviews with the owners, trainers, and jockey. You pay attention to what the horse is doing on the track.
While we think you should keep a close eye on all of the horses we’ve bolded in this guide, you’ll want to also watch Guest Suite.
When it comes to Derby betting, there’s no sure answer. That’s part of the fun, though–not knowing for sure if you’ll win!
No matter which horse you bet on for the Kentucky Derby, do your homework. Not only will you make a more informed decision, but you can learn a lot about the horses and the people who shape them into the racers we can’t wait to watch.
Stay on top of the latest horse racing news as you gear up for Derby betting!