Betting on the 135th Kentucky Derby

Liam ParkerContributor IApril 26, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 1:  A man walks upstairs at an Off-Track Betting (OTB) parlor in Midtown Manhattan March 1, 2008 in New York City. The board that oversees New York City's OTB operations voted last week to close all 71 parlors by mid-June since the city does not want to subsidize the gambling outposts. State officials are contesting the ruling.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

It’s that time of the year when the sports world takes a two-minute breather from the NBA and NHL Playoffs. The world turns its eyes to the Bluegrass State on the first Saturday in May for the running of 135th Kentucky Derby.

Only trailing the Super Bowl, the Kentucky Derby is the biggest betting event for online sportsbooks and bookmakers.  Every year the Kentucky Derby attracts new gamblers to the Internet to place their bets, and this year should be no different.

If you’re a new horse bettor, there are some tips that the seasoned horse handicappers of the world would like to pass along. So you can bet on the 135th Kentucky Derby and more importantly make some money betting on the 135th Kentucky Derby.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks chatting with some of the best horse bettors I know and asked them to pass along some tips for making money betting on horses. Let’s have a look at them now.

It is not just the favorite

Making money betting on horses is not just about picking the winners; it is about picking the winners that will pay you more than the betting world expected. 

The race favorite only wins about 33 percent of the time. You make your money by picking the horses not expected to win, to win.

Don’t be afraid to pick a horse whose odds are in the middle of the pack. These horses are the ones that will bring you long-term profits.

The lines you see on the tote board are not always an accurate reflection of the horse that will win the race.  The morning odds posted at the track are created by anyone from racetrack staff, media handicappers or public relations people.

Most major tracks employ their own handicappers to set the odds as accurately as possible. One point to remember is if a horse realistically has a 99-1, shot of winning the track will often open their odds at 30-1 in an effort not to offend the horse’s owner.

Conversely, if a horse is expected to be dominant and its odds should be 2-5 the track will open with a line of 6/5 or 11/10 to encourage some betting on the horse.

Hot Tips aren’t always that Hot.

The thing is, veteran Kentucky Derby handicappers will tell you hot tips are usually come from someone with intimate knowledge of the horse. I don’t know many people who work for the Lakers that wouldn’t say this is our year.

However, if you get a tip from an horse racing insider cautioning you to stay away from their horse it could be something to consider, unless they are betting and want to keep the track odds high to maximize their win.

Rory says, “Do your own handicapping, or if you are a beginner learn from a veteran horse bettor. Many of these guys were in your shoes several decades ago, so they would likely be willing to help you out.”


You mean you give me all the stats I need

Unlike the NFL or NBA, the Kentucky Derby wants you to bet on the race. Horse tracks all over the country will give you all the stats and information you need to research your bets.

The Daily Racing From is given to horse bettors at the track but if you are like the millions of us who won’t be in Kentucky and are placing your Kentucky Derby bets online, check out The DRF online.

It costs money to get a premium membership but if you are betting, your hard-earned cash make sure you have all the tools available.

Get on the Trainers Train

Beyond pedigree, the trainers are the people that raise a champion. If you are undecided between two equally impressive horses, a great trainer should be enough to put the horse in the money.

Last week you only won $10

Don’t be fooled by inflated win percentages, always check the horse’s purse for each race.

If you see a horse that was earning hundreds of thousands running in Grade 1 races now only earning tens of thousands a race, chances are the horse has dropped to run only in grade 3 races.

This isn’t a good sign when they move back to race against premier horses that only race against the best.

Don’t be a dartboard handicapper

Every gambler will tell you gut feelings influence their bets but please don’t ever let that be the only reason you are betting on a horse. Veteran handicappers get gut feelings but those guts have years of experience picking winners. Those guts have been wrenched countless times after bad beats.

So when a Veteran Horse bettor tells you he’s going with his gut there is probably a lot more going on than he lets on. Until you reach that point do your homework, know the horse you are betting on, memorize the daily racing form.

Check out this Tuesday's article where I teach you how to recognize movers and how to capitalize on other peoples knowledge.

Stay Gold,
Rory Gold