How to bet on the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is America’s biggest horse race, and people can be part of the action by betting online on TVG, BetAmerica and TwinSpires.

The Kentucky Derby is a horse race held annually in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States (US). It is held on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs, and usually lasts for two weeks. The Derby field is limited to 20 horses who are three years old. According to reports, the fillies, which are the female horses, are 55 kg and the male unsterilised horses, colts, carry 57 kg.

The Kentucky Derby is the first round of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and lastly the Belmont Stakes. Between the three races, the Kentucky Derby is the only one that has run uninterrupted since its introductory race in 1875.

After the competition, the winner is clad with a blanket of roses, and this has led to the race being popularly termed “The Run for the Roses.” In order to win the Triple Crown, a horse must win all three races.

The Derby’s history

The Kentucky Derby was first run at one and a half miles, which is the same distance as the Epsom Derby, but it changed lengths in 1896 to one and a quarter mile. The Derby debuted on Monday, 17 May 1875 in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people, where a field of 15 three-year-old horses competed in the first Derby. A colt named Aristides, who was trained by Ansel Williamson and ridden by Oliver Lewis who was the Jockey, won the inaugural Derby.


The Kentucky Derby is well-loved, with millions of people around the world betting at several live tracks and online sportsbooks. In 2017, a crowd of 158,070 people watched American thoroughbred racehorse, Always Dreaming, win the Derby. The attendance was the seventh biggest attendance in the history of the racetrack. According to reports, the race brought in a total of $209.2 million, this was a nine percent increase compared to the total $192.6 million in 2016, and an eight percent increase over the 2015 previous record of $194.3 million.

Furthermore, the race attracts millions of people who want to bet on the horses. In 2017, TwinSpires, which is a partner of the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup, and is a platform for betting online, recorded $32.8 million from the Churchill Down races for the Kentucky Day programme. This record was a 22 percent increase over the previous year. On the 2017 Kentucky Derby, TwinSpires made approximately $20.1 million – also a 22 percent increase from the previous year.


There are millions of fans who bet on the Kentucky Derby across the US. Betting on the Derby is easy, and one may even do it from their mobile phone.

According to reports, signing up for a wagering account to bet on the Kentucky Derby is possible if a person is 18 years and older, or 21 years old in Washington and if they are TVG users in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa and North Dakota, they must also be older than 21 years. For free and legal horse betting, fans can do so on platforms such as television games network (TVG), BetAmerica and TwinSpires.

TVG is known as a premium place to watch and gamble on the Kentucky Derby and other live races. It is a digital, cable and television network owned by FanDuel Group. The network offers a convenient shop for all horse racing fans as it offers online wagering, a betting app, as well as livestreaming and race results. By betting online, fans are afforded the convenience of not waiting in line, not dealing with delays and circumventing any possible errors by bank tellers. This network is available in Arizona, Washington, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Virginia and Illinois.

Furthermore, BetAmerica is another top choice for horse betting. The online sportsbook and race wagering platform is owned by Churchill Downs. It is a fully licensed and regulated US-based website that offers options to bet on races from more than 400 racetracks online. BetAmerica also offers free live horse race video streaming, information as well as contests and reward programmes that are not available when one is betting at a casino or racetrack. BetAmerica offers online horse betting in the following states: Colorado, Idaho Indiana Maine, Michigan, Minnesota as well as New Mexico.

Moreover, TwinSpires was incorporated by Churchill Downs as an online betting site in 2007. The site is now a firmly established leading race book in the US, and it has since branched out with an online sportsbook and casino. This means that people have the option of betting on horses, table games and other exciting sports all in one place. TwinSpires offers a three-step registration process that most users find straightforward. The first step is to visit and choose ‘racing’ at the top of the homepage, before clicking the ‘join now’ button. A registration form will come up and the first step will require personal details, such as a name and email address.

The second step requires information about one’s address and the final step asks for a date of birth. One is also required to set up a passcode and provide the last four digits of their social security number. TwinSpires offers online horse betting in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico, Virginia and Washington.

Lastly, once an account has been set up from the three options above, all that is required is to locate the track listing at Churchill Downs, the race number of the Kentucky Derby, and then to select the horse number. After that, the number is added to the betting slip and an amount of the win wager must be confirmed.


Race has been a huge factor in the Derby. In the 1870s when the race debuted, Black jockeys dominated organised racing, with African-Americans winning 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbies. However, by the early twentieth century, racial discrimination had started to restrict the role of African-Americans in American horse racing and subsequently, no African-American rode in the Kentucky Derby between 1921 and 2000.