The most popular horse race in the world is fast-approaching as the 2021 Kentucky Derby is nearly upon us. Both viewing and betting interest figures to be high.

It is legal to bet on the Kentucky Derby online in many states, many of which don’t yet have legal online sports betting on other leagues and events. There are a variety of ways to bet on the Derby. Included in this how to bet the Kentucky Derby guide is a look at the current odds, bet types, picks, and everything else you to need to know about wagering on the Run for the Roses. 








The iconic event features 20 jockeys leading their teams’ respective horses on a 1.25 mile trek around the Churchill Downs track in what will mark the 147th iteration of the international spectacle.

Currently, there are 31 states in the nation that allow legal Kentucky Derby betting, with Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania standing out as some of the biggest names. Depending on the state, a number of race books have legal permission to accept online wagers. That means legal Kentucky Derby betting is more readily accessible for bettors in more states that online sportsbooks as a whole, allowing a greater number of people to potentially wager legally on the event.

If you are interested in placing a legal online bet on the Kentucky Derby, look no further than FanDuel Sportsbook’s sister site TVG. TVG is an absolute go-to for bettors interested in betting on the Kentucky Derby, featuring an excellent new user bonus, a wide array of odds, as well as an easy-to-use betting experience that is quick and user-friendly.

Click here to get a $300 risk-free first bet on the Kentucky Derby at TVG with promo code RISKFREE300.

How to Bet on the Kentucky Derby Online


There are a number of places where bettors can put money down on a number of race markets. However, we recommend going to the outright leader in the space, TVG.

As those who have had the pleasure of using FanDuel Sportsbook can attest, the user-friendly experience and seamless functionality are arguably the industry-leader. TVG is owned by the same parent company as FanDuel, so many of those same user interface functionalities exist within the TVG platform, making it the easiest place to place a legal, regulated bet on the Kentucky Derby.

How to Sign Up for TVG

Bettors interested in signing up for TVG to place a legal bet on the Kentucky Derby can do so in just three easy, required steps:

  • Click here to create a new TVG account and use promo code RISKFREE300.
  • Use one of the various deposit methods to add funds to your new account.
  • Use the $300 risk-free bet on your first Kentucky Derby bet with TVG.

After completing these three steps, navigate to the race event of your choosing, choose your horse(s) and wager(s), and use your $300 risk-free bet on the first wager of your choosing.

Which States Have Legal Kentucky Derby Online Betting?

While legal sportsbetting has had a relatively slow rollout across the country, legislation for race books has been around for quite a bit longer. As such, there is a wider array of state options in which one can place a wager on the Kentucky Derby, including:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

The good news for those bettors interested in placing a legal online wager on the Kentucky Derby via TVG is that their platform is available in each of the aforementioned states.

Kentucky Derby Odds

The following odds are the most up-to-date for the 147th Kentucky Derby via TVG:

Post Position Horse Odds
1 Known Agenda 6-1
2 Like the King 50-1
3 Brooklyn Strong 50-1
4 Keepmeinmind 50-1
5 Sainthood 50-1
6 O Besos 20-1
7 Mandaloun 15-1
8 Medina Spirit 15-1
9 Hot Rod Charlie 8-1
10 Midnight Bourbon 20-1
11 Dynamic One 20-1
12 Helium 50-1
13 Hidden Stash 50-1
14 Essential Quality 2-1
15 Rock Your World 5-1
16 King Fury OUT
17 Highly Motivated 10-1
18 Super Stock 30-1
19 Soup and Sandwich 30-1
20 Bourbonic 30-1

*Note: King Fury, originally installed at 20-1 odds, will no longer be taking part in the race due to illness.


As a 2-1 favorite, Essential Quality is the odds-on favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. Rock Your World is 5-1, while Known Agenda and Hot Rod Charlie round out the top-4 at 6-1 and 8-1 odds, respectively.

Long Shots

Long shots in the 147th Kentucky Derby include Like the King, Brooklyn Strong, Keepmeinmind, Sainthood, Helium, and Hidden Stash, all of which come in at 50-1 odds. There’s a slightly less-risky group at 30-1 odds including Super Stock, Soup and Sandwich, and Bourbonic.

What the Odds Mean

For those who haven’t wagered on horse racing before, it’s critical to understand what the odds listed above mean. Essential Quality’s 2-1 odds mean that for every $1 wagered, a winning bet would pay out $2. Were Hot Rod Charlie to win, a $1 wager would pay out $8.

The reason so many people take a flier on long shots is due to the ridiculous upside in the event an upset occurs. For example, bettors who wager on Helium at 50-1 odds stand to make $50 on each $1 wagered.

How to Bet on Horse Racing

When it comes to placing wagers on horse races, the vernacular and methodology is different than traditional sports betting. Knowing the lingo is a large part of the battle, so with that let’s take a look at some of the terminology and how to bet on the Kentucky Derby.

Win, Place, Show

The traditional way to bet on the Kentucky Derby involves straight bets, including win, place, and show, all of which are tied to a horse’s individual results.


In order for a bettor to win the bet, their selected winning horse simply has to win the race. It doesn’t get any easier than that.


The place bet allows for an additional positive outcome, in which the selected horse either wins outright or finishes in second place.


The final straight bet is show. In a show bet, the bettor wins if the selected horse finishes in first, second, or third place. Making this selection effectively hedges a bit for a favorite who might finish close to victory or for a bettor looking to earn a big payout on a long shot.

Vertical Exotic Bets

While win, place, and show bets are synonymous with horse racing, the vertical exotic bets of exacta, trifecta, and superfecta are next-level bets. In exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets, bettors attempt to predict the finish of multiple horses, not just one, in what amounts to a same-race parlay.


In an exacta bet, bettors must correctly pick the horses that finish in first and second place in order to win.


A trifecta bet is the same as an exacta with the added difficulty of choosing the third place finisher. Keep in mind that for a trifecta to hit, the bettor not only has to choose the correct top-3 horses, but do so in order.


The superfecta has an even more rigorous list of criteria to hit. In a superfecta bet, bettors must identify the top-4 finishers in order to win.

Super High Five

The super high five bet is arguably the most difficult of them all. In order for a bettor to win, they must properly select the top-5 finishers in order, a difficult task for even the most skilled horse racing bettor.

Horizontal Exotic Bets

In the same way vertical exotic bets feature multiple parts of a parlay, horizontal exotic bets do as well. The difference is that horizontal exotic bets involve a multiple-race parlay rather than a same-race parlay. Examples of horizontal exotic bets include:

  • Daily double
  • Pick three
  • Pick four
  • Pick five
  • Pick six

The upside of potential payouts increases depending on the number of legs in the horizontal exotic bet parlay. Keep in mind that the bets need to be placed prior to the start of the first race.

The Biggest Long Shots to Win the Kentucky Derby

While this year’s Kentucky Derby has the longest odds listed at 50-1, a number of horses have won the Run for the Roses with odds as long or even longer.

Giacomo pulled off a stunning win at 50-1 odds in 2005, as did Mine That Bird with the same odds in 2009. Just two years ago, Country House pulled off a massive upset at staggering 65-1 odds. The longest of long shots, however, came way back in 1913, when Donerail reached the pinnacle of the sport at insane 91-1 odds.

Kentucky Derby Picks

Best Bet

Rock Your World had an interesting start to his racing career, having debuted in a six-furlong grass race back on New Year’s Day. He then went on to impress at the Santa Anita Derby. The most interesting part of his career to this point has been the fact that Joel Rosario, who rode Rock Your World in the horse’s debut, was replaced for two races by Umberto Rispoli. The Rock Your World team, however, has opted to reunite their longtime jockey Rosario with the horse again for this race. Perhaps together they’ll win big at 5-1 odds.

Long Shot

Although Dynamic One has been installed at 20-1 odds, which are far from the longest odds in the field, many pundits believe this darkhorse could pull off a long shot upset and walk away with the roses on Saturday, May 1.

When and Where to Watch the Kentucky Derby


The Kentucky Derby will run on Saturday, May 1, 2021.


The scheduled post time for this year’s race is 6:57 PM EST, while network coverage begins at 2:30 EST.


The Kentucky Derby can be viewed on NBC, NBC Sports App, and at

Click here to get a $300 risk-free first bet on the Kentucky Derby at TVG with promo code RISKFREE300.