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2024 Kentucky Derby: Ultimate Betting Guide, Latest Updates

Bill Speros for Bookies.com

Bill Speros  | 10 mins

2024 Kentucky Derby: Ultimate Betting Guide, Latest Updates

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The 150th Kentucky Derby will be run on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Post-time for the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown is 6:57 p.m. ET. The race will air on NBC. The Derby is the most-watch, most-attended, and most-bet horse race in the country. 

The Kentucky Derby and its sister race run on Friday, the Kentucky Oaks, are the two oldest continuously contested sporting in the United States. Both were run for the first time in 1875. 

Here's what you need to know ahead of the "Run For The Roses." 

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What You Need To Know About The 2024 Kentucky Derby

What Horses Will Run In The 2024 Kentucky Derby.?

The Derby field is limited to 20 horses, all of whom are considered to be 3-year-olds. Those horses have qualified for the race by amassing enough points in previous races. There will likely be some horses scratched before the race for various reasons. Here is a look at the likely field, with the projected odds for each horse. Horses are listed by post position with their win-place-show record (and a number of starts), morning line odds, Kentucky Derby qualifying points, trainer, and jockey.

PP Horse OddsRec. Points Trainer Jockey
1.Dornoch20-13-2-0 (6)75Danny GarganLuis Saez
2.Sierra Leone7-23-1-0 (4)155 Chad BrownTyler Gaffalione
3.Mystik Dan20-12-1-1 (6)46 Kenny McPeek Brian Hernandez Jr.
4.Catching Freedom8-13-0-1 (5)125Brad CoxFlavien Prat
5.Catalytic30-11-2-0 (3)50Saffie Joseph Jr. Jose Ortiz
6.Just Steel20-12-4-1 (11)65D. Wayne LukasKeith J. Asmussen.
7.Honor Marie20-12-2-0 (5)65 Whit BeckmanussenBen Curtis
8.Just A Touch10-11-2-0 (3)75 Brad Cox Florent Geroux
9.EncinoSCR3-1-0 (4)40 Brad Cox Axel Concepcion
10.T O Password30-12-0-0 (2)NA*Daisuke Takayanagi Kazushi Kimura
11.Forever Young10-15-0-0 (5)100Yoshito YahagiRyusei Sakai
12.Track Phantom20-13-2-1 (7)70Steven AsmussenJoel Rosario
13.West Saratoga50-12-5-1 (10)93 Larry W. Demeritte Jesús Castañón
14.Endlessly30-15-0-0 (6)100 Michael McCarthy Umberto Rispoili.
15.Domestic Product18-12-1-0 (5)60 Chad C. BrownIrad Ortiz
16.Grand Mo the First50-12-0-4 (6)40 Emisael Jaramillo Victor Barboza Jr.
17.Fierceness5-23-0-1 (5)136Todd PletcherJohn Velaquez
18.Stronghold35-13-3-0 (6)125Phil D’Amato Antonio Fresu
19.Resilience20-12-1-1 (6)110Bill Mott Junior Alvarado
20.Society Man50-11-1-1 (5)50Danny Gargan Frankie Dettori
21.Epic Ride 30-12-2-1 (5) 35 John Ennis Adam Beschizza
* - Japan Road to Kentucky Derby invitee

2024 Kentucky Derby: Ultimate Betting Guide, Latest Updates 1

What Are The Favorite Horses In The Kentucky Derby?

Fierceness (5-2) won the Florida Derby by 13 lengths and moved into the favorite’s spot, just ahead of Sierra Leone (3-1). Fierceness is owned by Mike Repole (above), who had the favorite heading into last year’s Derby in Forte. That horse was scratched on Derby Day due to a bruised foot. Sierra Leone has won 3 of his 4 races, losing only to Derby entry Dornoch by a nose at Aqueduct on December 2. Fierceness is in the No. 17 post, a spot from which no horse has ever won the Derby. But it could work well for him, considering that his preference is sit back  behind the early speed horses, most of whom are on the inside, and look for the lead at the far turn. Trainer Brad Cox - a Louisville native and two-time Eclipse Award winner has three entries, including two (Encino and Just a Touch) running side-by-side this year. But Encino was scratched on Tuesday. Cox had the eventual 2021 Derby winner in Mandaloun. But only after the late Medina Spirit was officially disqualified due to a drug-test violation. Forever Young boats an impressive 5-0 record but has yet to run in North America. He's coming off a win in the UAE Derby. 

How Long Is The Kentucky Derby?

Known as the “Fastest 2 Minutes In Sports,” the Kentucky Derby is 1 ¼ miles (or 10 furlongs). It’s run on a dirt track and the horses run counterclockwise. The race was run at 1 ½ miles from 1875 through 1895. 

How Much Money Is At Stake In The Kentucky Derby?

The winner gets $3.1 million of the $5 million purse. That's up from $1.86 million in 2023. Second place earns $1 million, third $500,000, fourth $250,000 and fifth gets $150,000. In 2023, the Kentucky Derby recorded a handle of $188.7 million.

What Horse Won The Kentucky Derby Last Year?

Mage, a chestnut colt, won the 2023 Kentucky Derby by 1 length a time of 2:01.57. Mage was ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by Gustavo Delgado. He paid $32.42 to win on a $2 bet. The favorite in that race, Forte, was scratched on race day. 

RELATED: How Much Money Would You Have Won Betting On The Kentucky Derby Favorite

2024 Kentucky Derby: Ultimate Betting Guide, Latest Updates 2

What Are The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Betting On The Kentucky Derby?

FanDuel TV host Todd Schrupp offers the following perspective: “"Exotically speaking, meaning wagers outside of Win, Place & Show, there are more wagering options on the Kentucky Derby than ever before. There are at least a dozen pools for different wagers tied into the Derby. Narrow your focus on which ones you want to play. The Skill Set for playing 'Horizontally' into the Derby, i.e.; Double, Pick Three, Pick Five, or a Pick Six, is vastly different  than trying to hit the Derby 'Vertically'. Exotic Vertical options are Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, and Super Hi-5. Be a Horizontal or Vertical player on the Kentucky Derby, not both."

What Is The No. 1 Pick Of Advice For Bettors Heading Into The Derby?

"Avoid the temptation to be 'the smartest person in the room’,” Schrupp advises. “ We'd all like to be the only person to pick the Derby winner, and upsets do happen; but there is nothing wrong with consistently identifying solid 9-1 shots that can win versus the rarity of a 50-1 shot. Also, your first instinct about who can win the Derby is usually the best one. Don't be swayed by the deluge of information put out leading up to the Derby. There's nothing worse than being moved off a horse you always liked, because of someone else's opinion. Trust yourself, you got this."

Are There Any Major Misconceptions About Horse Racing Betting In General?

It’s not rocket science. But it does take work. “THE biggest misconception about betting on horses is that it's completely random,” Schrupp says. “There is a sophistication and cerebral component to handicapping a horse's past performances and trying to find a winner. Over time makes you realize it's more than just 'horses running in a circle'. Couple that with the challenge of which pool to bet into and constructing your play; and you have not just the greatest challenge in the gambling world, you have the most rewarding." 

What Is Father-Son Combination In The Kentucky Derby? 

Jockey Keith Asmussen is the son of long-time Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Both will be in action for Saturday’s big race. Keith will be aboard Just Steel (25-1) even though has been riding full time for less than two years. Steve is training Track Phantom (15-1). Steve has more than 10,000 wins as a trainer, but has yet to train a Derby winner in 25 tries.

Who Are The Brother Jockeys In The Kentucky Derby?

Long-time riders and Puerto Rico natives Jose L. Ortiz and Irad Ortiz Jr. race against each other again Saturday. Jose will be aboard Catalytic. Irad will ride Domestic Product. Jose won his 100th career race on April 20 in the Oaklawn Handicap. That put him 2 wins behind his other brother. 

2024 Kentucky Derby: Ultimate Betting Guide, Latest Updates 4

What Is Up With All The Hats?

Hats were long been a sign of social standing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Often, the bigger and more ostentatious, the better. The Kentucky Derby has long been a magnet for cameras, and eventually film and TV. So the hats and fashion statements became a way to attract attention. Thus, the size and style of hats expanded along with the Derby’s wider audience. 

Why Is The Kentucky Derby Called “The Run For The Roses”?

The winning horse of the Kentucky Derby has been draped in a blanket of 554 roses since it moved to its current length in 1896. Why 554 roses? According to Derby historians: “Each rose in the garland represents the renewal of life and the endurance required to win the demanding 1 1/4-mile race.” 

What Horse Is The Fastest Kentucky Derby Winner Of All Time?

The great Secretariat won the 1973 Kentucky Derby in a time of 1:59.4. 

What Horse Is The Slowest Kentucky Derby Winner Of All Time?

Kingman took 2:52.25 to cover what was a 1 ½-mile run back in 1891. 

What Are The Other Races In The Triple Crown?

The other two races in the Triple Crown at the Preakness – run at Pimlico in Baltimore – and the Belmont Stakes – run at Belmont Park in New York. The Preakness is the shortest of the Triple Crown races at 1 3/16 miles (9.5 furlongs). The Belmont is the longest at 1 ½ miles (12 furlongs). This year, the Preakness will be run on May 18. The Belmont is scheduled for June 1.

2024 Kentucky Derby: Ultimate Betting Guide, Latest Updates 3

What Horses Have Won The Triple Crown?

The Triple Crown is bestowed upon the winners of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Since the three races began being run in the same year in 1875, 13 horses have won them all. None was better than Secretariat (above). Here’s the list: 

Horse Year
Sir Barton1919
Gallant Fox1930
War Admiral1937
Count Fleet1943
Seattle Slew1977
American Pharoah2015

About the Author

Bill Speros for Bookies.com
Bill Speros
Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.