How to Bet on Horses at the 2018 Kentucky Derby – 3 Things to Know!

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By: Teresa Strasser Posted: 6:31 PM, May 4, 2018

Derby Day is upon us! On May 5th, Churchill Downs is hosting its 144th Kentucky Derby. There's nothing more American than betting on these fancy ponies, but it's not as easy as it looks! So if you're feeling lucky, get the basics on betting straight from the horse’s mouth with trainer Stacy Campo.


1. Know the Odds


First up – know the odds. “Odds are – you have the general public betting,” explains Stacy.  “They're all betting to win. So the odds are based on the win pool.” Odds are set by how much money is bet on each horse; they're based on public opinion of each horse’s perceived chances to win. “So with everybody […] betting on the two horse, everyone is sure the two is gonna win. It's gonna drop the odds down,” she adds.  Good to know!


2. Learn the Lingo


But odds can change by the second – so what’s your best bet? Bet wisely and learn the lingo! “For lingo, ‘win’ is gonna be first; ‘second’ is gonna be show; ‘place’ is gonna be third,” informs Stacy.  “Do $2 across the board – that's gonna be a six-dollar bet. Two dollars to win, two dollars to place, two dollars to show.” So if you have one horse you’re rooting for, it doesn't matter, as it can win, place, or show…and you still win!


You can also wage a trifecta bet – meaning you pick three different horses you think will finish first, second, and third. When you’re not sure how they’ll place, you can also say “box.” “Any time you use the word ‘box’, you’re saying you want it to come in any order,” offers Stacy. “But all three of those horses have to finish first, second, and third.” Duly noted!


3. Place Your Bets


Finally, you can't get to the winner’s circle if you don't place your bets – so start by reading the form. Stacy illustrates an example of placing your bets: “There's six horses in the race, so out of the six horses we have to pick the winner. We want two dollars on the one horse to come and place; and then two dollars to win on the four; and then we have one more horse [as] a longshot. We have a six horse – two dollars to show on the six.” Hopefully that clears up any confusion!


You win some, you lose some. But either way, have a happy Kentucky Derby Day!


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