Kentucky Derby: How to bet on the Kentucky Derby

MyBookie makes wagering on Kentucky Derby simple. 

First steps:

  1. Login or Create a MyBookie Account.
  2. You will need a positive account balance to place a bet. You can make a deposit using our available methods.
  3. Choose a Deposit Option and Select a Bonus.
  4. Deposit Funds into your MyBookie Account.
  5. Learn how to bet with your account: Betting Odds and Place Sports Bets. We have a complete help section on ‘How to bet guides‘ available for you.
  6. Now visit the Racing section.
  7. Select the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs (12th race, Saturday, May 1, 2021).
  8. Select your type of Bet: Straight, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double, Pick 3 or Parlay.
  9. Enter your bet amount and choose Box or Box with Key options.
  10. Make your picks and add them to your Betslip and Place your Bet

Now learn about the types of bets for Horse Racing.

In addition to the traditional “straight” wagers (Win, Place, Show), fans can also attempt to cash big in the various “exotic” pools. Exacta (first two), Trifecta (first three), Superfecta (first four), and Super High Five (first five) wagering are all offered, and cashing a ticket in any of these pools can produce a bigger payday.

  • Win: Bet on the horse you think you will win the Kentucky Derby.
  • Place: Get paid the place price if your horse finishes first or second.
  • Show: A show bet pays the least, but you win and get paid the show price if your horse finishes first, second or third.
  • Exacta: Predict the first two horses in the correct order.
  • Trifecta: Predict the first three horses in the correct order.
  • Superfecta: Predict the first four horses in the correct order.

Win, Place or Show

Simple horse racing wagers feature the traditional win, place and show (first, second and third) wagers. A winning wager is exactly that, betting on a horse to win the race. A place wager means betting on a specific horse to finish second or better while a show wager is betting on a particular horse to finish third or better. The minimum amount that can be wagered for any win, place or show bet is $2.

Across the Board

An ‘across the board’ wager is wagering on a horse to either win, place or show. For example, if you like the No. 2 horse in the second race (Race 2) at Delaware Race Track. You bet $2 on the 2 horse across the board. The total amount of the wager is $6. The horse finishes second and pays $5 to place and $2.60 to show. You get back $5 on the $2 place wager and $2.60 on the $2 show wager. You get back nothing for the $2 win wager since the horse finished second (place) and not first (win).

Exotic Horse Betting

Betting on a mount to win, place or show is the most traditional way of betting on the ponies. The biggest profits, however, come with exotic betting. Betting on an Exotic bet means wagering on combinations to occur in any particular race or in multiple races. The most traditional exotic wagers are the daily double, exacta, the trifecta, and the superfecta.

Daily Double

Many race tracks offer bettors rolling ‘daily doubles’ and that means that you can pick the winner of two consecutive races. Most tracks still offer the traditional daily double and the late double. The traditional double requires horse racing gamblers to pick the winners of Race 1 and Race 2. The late daily double features bettors selecting the winners of the final two races of the day. The daily double is similar to betting a two-team parlay in football. If both horses win, you win the wager. The daily double is also known as a vertical horse racing wager.


When you wager on the first two finishers in a single race, that is called making an exacta wager. Let’s say, you like the 6 and 7 in Race 3 at Belmont Park. You make a $2 exacta box wager with the 6 and 7. The exacta box suggests that the 6 horse can finish first and the 7 can finish second or the 7 can finish first and the 6 can finish second. The wager will cost you $4. If race ends with the 6 first and 7 second, or 7 first and 6 second, you win the wager.


Betting on each of the first three finishers in a single race is called making a trifecta wager. For example, let’s say you like the 5, 7, and 8 horses in Race 8 at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans and you make a $2 trifecta box wager. The trifecta box will cost you $12 because there are six different combinations and you are betting $2 on each combination. You win if any of the 6 combinations hit in the race: 5-7-8 or 5-8-7, 7-5-8 or 7-8-5, 8-5-7 or 8-7-5.


This wager means you’re wagering on the first four finishers in a single race. Superfecta wagering can be quite costly–but also bountiful. A $2, four-horse, superfecta box will cost $48 since there are a whopping 24 combinations that could play out. Superfectas can also be very difficult to nail.

Most times, horse racing handicappers prefer to use a key horse. Let’s say that you like the No. 2 mount to finish first or second and the No. 3 horse to finish first or second in Race 5 at Churchill Downs. You also believe that the 5 and 6 horses will finish either third or fourth in the race. You would then key the 2 and 3 horses in the first two slots (win and place) and put all four of your choices in the third and fourth slots. Your wager would look like this 2, 3 with 2,3,5,6.

This wager provides a dozen (12) different possible combinations. A $2 wager on a superfecta will cost you $24. By using a key horse, you’ve cut your investment in half for this kind of wager.

Pick 3 and Pick 4 Wagers

Many Racebooks offer other vertical horse racing bets in addition to the daily double. A Pick 3 wager requires picking the winner of three consecutive races in a row. For example, betting a Pick 3 that starts in Race 1 will cover Race 1, Race 2, and Race 3. Betting a Pick 4 that starts in Race 6 requires picking the winner of Race 6, Race 7, Race 8, and Race 9.

Prop wagers

If you have ever bet on the Super Bowl coin toss, then you know what a prop is. For Kentucky Derby props, these are fun wagers on the race or events happening around the race. Some examples:

  • Which gate will the winning horse break from?
  • Will the attendance record be broken?
  • Will the Derby winner also claim the Triple Crown?
  • Will the winning time be within one second of Secretariat’s winning time from 1973?
  • How many lengths will the race be won by?

Read the Racing betting rules. For a list of tracks offered, click here.

Was this help article helpful?