How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby in 2023 – Expert Guide on How to Place a Bet on Kentucky Derby

Jonathan Askew profile picture
Sports Editor Fact Checked by Nick Raffoul

We’re hearing many of you saying “I want to bet on the Kentucky Derby”. In this guide our US racing expert is going to go through how to bet from the Kentucky Derby, no matter what US state you’re in. Here you’ll learn about the history of the race, this year’s main contenders, and the different types of bets you can place at the track and online.

We will also look at the best betting sites, show you how to make a bet on the Kentucky Derby at a top racebook, detail the best betting bonuses, and offer some top tips for the event. 

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Top Betting Sites For The Kentucky Derby

In this section, we have listed our top 10 Kentucky Derby betting sites. These are the standout betting sites for horse racing and each comes with several reasons as to why they’ve made our list. It’s worth noting that each site includes sections on how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, which is ideal for those of you new to horse racing. 

  1. Xbet50% sports sign up bonus (x 7) up to $500 and a 7% rebate on racebook bets
  2. BUSR100% welcome offer up to $250 plus rebates on select bets
  3. GTBetsEnjoy a 100% cash bonus up to $500 on your first deposit
  4. MyBookie – 50% sports sign up bonus (x 10) up to $1000 and a 8% rebate on racebook bets
  5. – 50% sports sign up bonus (x 10) up to $1000
  6. BetUS – 100% sports sign up bonus (x 10) up to $2500 
  7. BetOnline – 50% sports sign up bonus (x 10) up to $1000 and a 9% rebate on racebook bets
  8. Bovada – 50% sports sign up bonus (x 5) up to $250
  9. Everygame – Desirable Kentucky Derby Odds
  10. Betanysports – A fantastic 10% bonus on racebook winnings and 6% cashback on bets

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby – Signing Up to a Racebook

In this example, we’ll use Xbet to show you how you can sign up for an account. The process should only take a couple of minutes and you can use our step-by-step guide below to help you. 

Step 1 – Create an Account

Go to the main Racebook page and click the JOIN NOW button. 

Xbet - Join Now and bet on Kentucky Derby

Step 2 – Enter Account Information 

Add your credentials including email, password, first and last name, and telephone number.

Xbet - Credentials

Step 3 – Enter Personal Information

Complete the form with your address details including street, zip code, and state.

Xbet - Credentials

Step 4 – Agree to T&Cs

Accept the terms and conditions and click on the “CREATE MY ACCOUNT” button.

Xbet - Credentials 3

Step 5 – Select your Bonus

Choose your preferred bonus offer from the dropdown list.

Xbet promo code

Step 6 – Place your Bets

That is your account all set up and now you are ready to bet. Head over to the racing section of the site and get betting on the Kentucky Derby. 

Xbet - Racebook

How does Betting on the Kentucky Derby Work?

Once you’ve registered an account with a leading sportsbook, betting on the Kentucky Derby should be fairly easy. However, if you’re new to all this and still feeling a bit unsure, in this section we will show you how to bet $100 on the Kentucky Derby, so read on.  

There are many ways to bet on the Derby but the two main types of wagering are standard wagers and exotic wagers. Exotic wagers are the ones that can win you a life-changing payout, as per last year’s Kentucky Derby when one Super Hi-Five paid out $296,769.60! 

Then, there are straight wagers, which is when you choose a horse to either win, place, or show. You can also bet and wager on a horse “across the board” which means you are backing to win, place and show.

Straight Wager Example Using 2021 Results

The winner, Medina Spirit, returned at odds of +1200.

Horse Win Place Show Across The Board
Medina Spirit $26.20 $12.00 $7.60 $45.80
Mandaloun $23.00 $13.40 $36.40
Hot Rod Charlie $5.20 $5.20

The minimum stake on these straight wagers is $2 and all returns above are declared to be a $2 stake. So, if you had backed Medina Spirit “Across The Board” then you would have wagered $6 and your returns would have been $45.80.

It is important to understand for novice bettors that if you had backed Medina Spirit for $2 as a show bet, then you would only have got back $7.60. Just because he won the race does not mean you get the win and/or place dividend as well.

How do I Place a Bet on the Kentucky Derby?

Ok, so let’s look at how to place a bet on the Kentucky Derby with one of the best online sportsbooks, Xbet. It is a straightforward process but we’ll go step by step.

We’re using Xbet as its user panel/interface will be easy to navigate for both novice and seasoned bettors alike.

Step 1 – Find the Race you Want to Bet on

Xbet - How to bet on the Kentucky Derby Step 1

If you are logged into your account then you need to have “Racing” selected from the main menu.

Of course, the Kentucky Derby will be held at Churchill Downs. In this example, we are using Gulfstream Park but it’s the exact same process come derby day. 

Choose which type of bet you wish to place. We’ll keep it simple and go for a “Straight” wager in this example and show how to bet on a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Then, choose your horse and enter your stake in the Win, Place or Show boxes, or all three boxes if you are choosing a horse to be on “Across The Board.”

Step 2 – Select your Stake 

Xbet - Betting on the Kentucky Derby Step 2

Once you’ve found your chosen line and selected your bet, it’s time to add your stake, which is the amount of money you’re willing to risk (we are using $2 here). The next step is to click on the green ADD TO BET SLIP button.

Step 3 – Add to Bet Slip & Place Bet

Xbet - How to bet on the Kentucky Derby - Step 3

Now you will see your bet slip appear on the right side with your chosen horse and the amounts you are betting. All you have to do now is click the blue SUBMIT ALL BETS button to place your wager.

Next to the horses’ name, you can also see the estimated odds (Morning Line) of your chosen horse. 

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby – Deposits & Withdrawals

If you are using a sportsbook for your bets on the big race then you’ll want to know exactly how to deposit and withdraw. We have put together a step-by-step guide for you explaining how this works. 

Again, we are using Xbet as an example, but any sportsbook help section will clearly show which payment methods they accept. 

How to Deposit Money into your Account

Depositing funds into your account is very straightforward.

  1. Log into your online account.
  2. Click on the green DEPOSIT button in the top right of the page.
  3. Select the deposit method (many to choose from) you wish to use.
  4. Follow the instructions in the section called “Cashier.”
  5. Choose your deposit amount.

Xbet - How To Deposit

How to Withdraw Your Winnings

If you were lucky enough to back the winner of the Kentucky Derby or have winnings to collect from one of the exotic bets then you can withdraw your funds easily.

  1. Log in to your Xbet online account.
  2. Click the “Cashier” button at the top of the page.
  3. The cashier will load, once there, select “Payout” and your desired method.
  4. Follow the instructions that will follow.
  5. Provide your phone and documents to verify your withdrawal.

Once your phone and ID have been verified then your withdrawal will be completed.

Xbet - How To Withdraw Kentucky Derby winnings

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby – Payment Methods

Most sportsbooks use similar payment methods. Some are starting to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method along with eWallets and standard payment methods like debit and credit cards. 


An electronic wallet that allows you to keep your credit or debit card off file. You simply link your eWallet to your bank account and move the money to and from as required, or by using eChecks.

Some of the most popular include Neteller, Skrill, and Moneygram.


Cryptocurrencies are fast becoming the payment method of choice for a lot of online sports bettors. As the likes of Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum are becoming recognized currencies, more and more betting sites are starting to accept them as payment. 

Depositing with Crypto such as Bitcoin has a number of advantages over other methods. These include higher deposit limits, fast payouts within 24 hours, a guaranteed 100% success rate on all deposits, and often bigger bonuses that are linked to this payment method.

Standard Payment Methods

Debit cards, credit cards, pre-paid cards, and also bank transfers are what we would class as “standard” payment methods. They are accepted at pretty much all online betting sites and there is a good chance that most of you looking at this Kentucky Derby how to bet guide will use at least one of these. 

Claiming a Kentucky Derby Betting Bonus

If you are searching for Kentucky Derby free bets and bonuses then you have landed on the right page. Earlier in the guide, we touched on the top 10 sportsbooks and racebook welcome offers.

However, these are not the only bonuses available and there will be plenty more promotions on offer in time for The Run for the Roses.

To save you time we have already done the research for you and listed these offers below. 

Sign-up Offers

Sign-up offers are one of the best things to target when it comes to Kentucky Derby promos. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and it’s not always the case that bigger is better here.

All bonuses come with a range of terms attached and you will need to clear each bonus that you claim. Below we’ve listed our top three Kentucky Derby promotions that offer the best value for money.

  • Xbet50% sports sign up bonus (x 7) up to $500 and a 7% rebate on racebook bets
  • BUSR100% Welcome offer up to $250 plus up to 8% rebate on all bets
  • GTBets100% cash bonus up to $500 on your first deposit

Free Bets

Free bets offer huge value and are applied to accounts based on the amount of cash deposited. They are usually straightforward to use. You just make a deposit and place a bet, then the sportsbook will match that bet with a free bet.

As well as a tier welcome bonus offer, Xbet has a great free bet offer for existing players. They give all existing players a 25% reload bonus of up to $250 on follow-up deposits. BUSR also offers an incentive of up to $250 on follow-up deposits by using the bonus code HORSES10 on the cashier page.

GTBets are a bit different from some of the other new betting sites in that they offer a 150% sign-up bonus over the first two deposits plus they give automated deposit bonuses of between 5% – 50% depending on your current sportsbook balance. A great free bet incentive!


Rebates are based on a percentage of wins and losses on different types of bets. It’s essentially cashback for the money you’ve lost at the sportsbook. They range from 3% to 10% depending on if your bet was a “straight” wager or an “exotic” wager.

Three of the best we have tested out are BUSR, GTBets, and Betanysports which give a unique 6% rebate on the volume of your bets. So if you bet $100 in a day, you are going to get a $6 rebate and that’s whether you win or lose.

Popular Types of Kentucky Derby Betting Markets

At the start of this guide, we talked about “standard” and “exotic” wagers and it is the exotic wagers that are great for the novice bettor. Often boasting highly attractive Kentucky Derby odds, these types of wagers can produce big wins from small stakes.

Standard bets that you can place on the Kentucky Derby consist of the Win, Place, and Show bets. These are wagers you would have on one horse. Though they don’t tend to pay out to quite the same degree as exotics, you do stand more chance of winning. 

Standard Wagers

  • Win Bet – This is a wager on one horse with the aim for your selection to finish first past the post. Your horse will need to hit the wire first for you to collect.
  • Place Bet – The place bet is for a horse to finish first or second, even if the horse wins you will only receive the place dividend. Like a win bet, the minimum wager amount is $2.
  • Show Bet – The show bet is a great choice when you fancy a long shot you think can hit the board but may not be good enough to beat the race favorite.
  • Across The Board -Across the board means you are placing a bet on the same horse but to Win, Place and Show. This gives you more chance of getting a return on your wager.
  • Double Bet – The double bet runs right throughout a meeting so race 1 and race 2 would form the first double, then race 2 and race 3, and so on throughout the whole racecard. You have to pick two consecutive winners to get a return with this bet.


Triple Crown King $10.40 $5.60 $2.80
Derby Day Diva $6.60 $2.40
Bettor Payouts $15.80

If you backed “Triple Crown King” across the board you would get $10.40 + $5.60 + $2.80 for a total return of $18.80.

If you backed “Derby Day Diva” to place and she finished first or second then you win $6.60.

And finally, if you backed “Bettor Payouts” for the show and he finished first, second, or third, then you would win $15.80.

The Double runs right throughout a meeting so race 1 and race 2 would form the first double, then race 2 and race 3, and so on across the whole meeting.

Exotic Wagers

  • Exacta BetPicking out a winning Exacta means you have to pick two horses that will finish first and second in the exact order you choose. So if you pick horses 1 & 2 on the racecard and the result is 2 & 1 your bet is a loser.
  • Quinella BetThis bet is much the same as an Exacta but here your two horses can finish first and second in any order. You will place one half of your stake on 1 & 2 and the second half on 2 & 1.
  • Trifecta Bet – This is a bet where you have to pick three horses to finish first, second, and third in the correct order. You can do this bet as a single selection, so you might choose horses 1-2-3 or as a box.
  • Superfecta Bet – The Superfecta goes a step further and in this wager, you need to select the first four past the wire in the perfect order. Of course, this is a more difficult bet but it can pay off in a big way.
  • Super Hi-Five Bet – The bet that puts horse racing bettors in with a chance of winning large payouts from a small wager. Your aim is to get the first five home in the correct order. The 2021 Super Hi-Five returned a life-changing $296.769.60 for one lucky bettor from just a dollar stake! 


Let’s look at one of these exotic bets in a little more detail and explain how you can gamble on the Kentucky Derby and how to bet on the Kentucky Derby online with a Trifecta bet. We already mentioned you have to find the first three past the wire in the correct order on the board.

You could “box” your selections to give you more chances. So, if you choose three horses in a “box” this would give you six bets: 1-2-3, 1-3-2, 2-1-3, 2-3-1, 3-1-2, 3-2-1

The minimum stake is $0.50, so in the above example, your bet would cost you 6 x $0.50 = $3.00.

  • $0.50 Box with four horses $12 (24 possible combinations)
  • $0.50 Box with five horses $30 (60 possible combinations)
  • $0.50 Box with six horses $60 (120 possible combinations)
  • $0.50 Box with seven horses $105 (210 possible combinations)

If you had picked out the first second and third in the 2021 Kentucky Derby then you would have collected nearly $850 for a small wager of just fifty cents. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about how to bet Trifecta for the Kentucky Derby.

Our Top Tips on How to Place the Best Bet on the Kentucky Derby

We’ve included tips to help you out when placing bets on the 2023 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. We have a few tips for you on how you can bet, including our own Kentucky Derby picks for betting and handicapping, as well as an explanation of how to claim a bonus.

Finally, we’ve also included specific bet types you might want to try out on the big day when the horses take part in “The Run For The Roses.”

Tip 1 – Research the Form

Form is one of the best ways to see which horses are running well and which you want to avoid. Most races will come with a form guide attached, but one of the best ways is to use videos of previous runs to get a better feel for how a horse has run, rather than simply its finishing position.

You can do this by watching re-runs of some of the Kentucky Derby trials and points races. These are all available to watch for free on YouTube.

Tip 2 – Read the Expert Picks

There are expert picks for horse racing on pretty much every sportsbook, racebook, and sports betting site that you’ll visit, including here at BBI where our experts are on hand with Kentucky Derby betting picks to help you try and find the winner.

Epicenter looks like being a strong favorite in this year’s race. His form, as you saw above, is very strong. He won the Louisiana Derby very easily last time and could be a tough foe for the whole field.

White Abarrio has captured the hearts of the racing nation. One because of his undoubted talent but also because he is that very light grey color which makes him unique. He is now the second favorite behind Epicenter in the betting futures for the race at around +700 and has a strong chance of victory. 

However, our Kentucky Derby expert’s betting pick is Mo Donegal who is a real battler. His late-closing style will go well here in a race that is sure to be run at a very fast pace and he has a tendency of coming through late to hit the frame which could lead to a famous victory.

Tip 3 – Claim a Bonus

Everybody loves to place a wager on the “Run For The Roses” and for those reading who are novice bettors, signing up and claiming a bonus from one of the sportsbooks is a great idea.

Having researched a full list of the sportsbooks and racebooks, our top 3 are:

  • Xbet50% sports sign up bonus (x 7) up to $500 and a 7% rebate on racebook bets
  • BUSR100% Welcome offer up to $250 plus up to 8% rebate on all bets
  • GTBets100% cash bonus up to $500 on your first deposit, and then 50% cash up to $250 on your second deposit, plus a 10% rebate on net losses on horse racing wagers

Tip 4 – Select the Right Kind of Bet

We looked at three of the horses that are fancied. If you are picking one of those, then you can do a standard wager which means a Win, Place, or Show bet. But you might want to cover all three. So, a suggested wager, if you are picking one horse, would be an “Across The Board” bet where you have a Win, Place, and Show for a $2 stake (Total $6).

The Trifecta is a great bet where you need to pick out the first three in the correct order. We mentioned Epicenter, White Abarrio, and Mo Donegal, however, a couple of others you might want to consider are Zandon and Tiz The Bomb.

Don’t forget, to be a winner you have to get the first three past the wire in the correct order. You can also “box” your three selections. This just means that your three selections can come in any order as long as they are all in the first three.

A three-horse box is 6 bets so if you were doing a $1 box then your total stake would be $6.

Finally, the Super Hi-Five bet can be life-changing money. It is very difficult to win, but well worth a try for a dollar. You have to pick the first five home past the wire to win.

Tip 5 – Have Fun!

The Kentucky Derby is regarded as “the fastest two minutes in sport” and also the first leg of the iconic Triple Crown. Whether you are watching at the track or on TV make sure to have fun.

Make sure you limit what you bet to an amount that you can afford to lose. Never bet more than your means and see betting as a way to enhance entertainment, rather than make money. Our guide on how to bet on the Kentucky Derby will give you the best chance to make your picks as informed as they can be. 

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby on Mobile

Betting on the Kentucky Derby can be done in a number of ways. You can bet on the track, you can bet online via your computer and even via mobile with the mobile website or the sportsbook app.

Most racebooks have an app now that you can download for Android and iOS devices and these can be much easier to use than the desktop version of a website.

Here are 5 reasons why you might want to place your wagers on your mobile.

  1. The interface is not so confusing and it’s easier to find a specific event.
  2. Mobile users also receive free bets and special offers that desktop users don’t.
  3. Some racebooks give specific bonuses to mobile users.
  4. You can bet on your mobile from anywhere within a regulated state.
  5. You can also stream the race live on the go.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby at the Track

If you’re lucky enough to be at the track for the Kentucky Derby then betting is simple as you’ll use the teller windows or runners to place your bets. 

Track betting is a little different as you will be betting into the pari-mutuel pools. This is a good thing as you are often playing for bigger payouts, especially if placing an exotic wager.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to gamble on the Kentucky Derby and place a bet at the track:

  1. Decide how much you want to bet on each race during the day.
  2. First, check your race card and make sure you have the numbers of the horses you wish to bet on.
  3. Make sure you have read the form. Check if your horse’s trainer and jockey are in form.
  4. Place your bet with the teller at the various windows on track. You can use one of the self-service betting terminals which are available around the various track enclosures.

Where to Bet on the Kentucky Derby Near Me

If you are not going to the race then figuring out how to bet on the Kentucky Derby at home or close to home can be a chore, depending on which state you reside in.

You have to follow the strict gambling rules in the US, but now most states allow you to bet on the Kentucky Derby online. Among our pages, you will find detailed guides on betting in specific states. So, for example, if you were hoping to learn how to bet on the Kentucky Derby in NJ – and New Jersey horse racing in general – click the link to learn more.

States that do not currently allow betting at all include Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas (some exceptions) Utah, and Washington DC (this list is subject to change).

If you want to learn how to bet on the Kentucky Derby in Texas, NJ or NY then make sure to check out local state legislation. New York and New Jersey are okay to bet online while Texas has very strict rules on betting on the Kentucky Derby which can only be done at certain locations offering simulcasting and pari-mutuel (pool-based) betting.

Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites
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More on Horse Racing Betting…

We’ve covered the upcoming Kentucky Derby in plenty of detail and below you can find some more general information about horse racing and sports betting.

  • Kentucky Derby betting sites – Our full list of sites and our top 3 are the best options for wagering on the Kentucky Derby.
  • Kentucky Derby odds – To find the latest odds you should visit the racebook section of our recommended sportsbooks and look for the “racing futures” section.
  • Kentucky Derby picks – Have a read of our expert Kentucky Derby picks ahead of the big race.
  • Best racebooks – Look for a racebook that has a good welcome offer but also offers rebates on your horse racing wagering.
  • Horse racing free bets Many sportsbooks will offer free bet bonuses based on the amount deposited on your preferred sportsbook.
  • Horse racing betting apps – All the sportsbooks now have apps where you can place wagers and also watch the racing live.
  • Parimutuel betting – Same as pool betting where the total amount bet is divided amongst holders of a winning ticket.
  • Pool betting – If 100 people bet $1 on a race that would mean the total pool available to holders of winning tickets is $100 less the fee taken by the racetrack.
  • Virtual horse racing – These are random computer-generated races that many sportsbooks now provide.


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Jonathan has been working within the iGaming sector since 2007. After graduating with a BA Hons in Marketing from Northumbria University, he's been able to set up his own online content business, working with some of the biggest brands in the iGaming sector. Outside of work he enjoys any type of sports, especially cricket, golf, football and darts.