Your Guide for Betting on the 2017 Kentucky Derby Online

(Image credit: John Hoey)

The 143rd Run for the Roses is just over a week away and the news coverage is hyping the biggest horse race on American soil. The 2017 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs falls this year on May 6th with a 6:34 PM ET post time. Coverage begins at 12 PM on the NBC Sports Network and will then switch to NBC from 2:30 PM through 7:30 PM.

Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites for 2017

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Churchill Downs, ancestral home of the Kentucky Derby, will be hosting special events every day leading up to the day of the Derby itself on Saturday, May 6th. They call this “Derby Week” and there will be plenty of sights to see, races to watch and food to eat all week long. On Kentucky Derby Day, the park will open to its max capacity to fit upwards of 170,000 spectators all decked out for the occasion.

As usual, the hype is building in the final days leading up to the Kentucky Derby. This is the one race even the general public tends to stop, watch and celebrate. With the starting lineup beginning to take shape, handicappers are already planning their Kentucky Derby bets and doing their due diligence before the big day.

There remains one more significant task, and that is the Post Position Draw to be held on May 3rd. This will give us the final list of runners and starting positions. You’ll want to pay attention to the Post Position Draw as it will place the order of the horses and impact the odds. After the order and runners are confirmed, you’ll have three final days to manage your bets and plan your viewing experience wherever you are.

The projected Kentucky Derby odds have already bee posted by a number of betting sites located outside the United States. Inside the USA, licensed horse racing sites operate on the tote system which means all wagers taken online will be mixed in with wagers placed trackside and we will only have projected odds prior to the beginning of the race.

Our post today will be focusing on three subjects in particular today: the projected betting odds for the Kentucky Derby, where to bet online and a preview of the big race. We’ll be working in that exact order, so let’s begin with the projected odds.

Projected Kentucky Derby Odds

International racebook is taking early bets on the Kentucky Derby and we’ll be referring to their lines for this chart. These odds are subject to change as the event grows closer, but they offer a fairly accurate look at what the oddsmakers are thinking as far as favourites, long shots and middle-of-the-pack runners.

HorseProjected Odds
Classic Empire6/1
Always Dreaming6/1
Irish War Cry15/2
Practical Joke14/1
Thunder Snow16/1
Battalion Runner22/1
Lookin At Lee22/1
Battle of Midway25/1
Royal Mo28/1
State of Honor28/1
J Boys Echo33/1
Fast And Accurate66/1

Recommended Betting Sites for the 2017 Kentucky Derby

For our readers in the United States, we strongly recommend you go with BetAmerica or TwinSpires to bet on the Kentucky Derby online. Both sites are headquartered, licensed and legal inside the United States. Both are also highly reputable and will pay whatever you do.

If you’re betting from the United States, any bets you place online will be treated exactly the same as those placed in person. You’ll be a part of the greater betting pool and be paid at full track odds just as if you were there.

Projected odds will be posted online the day of the race, but remember these are just estimates. The size of the betting pool, the number of wagers placed on each horse and the outcome of the race will all impact the final odds paid to winners.

Readers located outside the United States are also welcome to bet on the Kentucky Derby via bookmakers that are licensed in the UK, Malta and elsewhere. If you live outside the US, just scroll down a little way for a quick look at our top picks for non-US readers.

Bets placed at bookmakers outside the United States will not participate in the Kentucky Derby betting pool. Instead, you may take the early price which is a fixed-odds price determined by the bookmaker ahead of time. Alternatively, you may take the starting price option in which the final price is not known ahead of time similar to how tote betting works. Starting price bets do not actually participate in the on-course pool, but they usually follow closely along the prices paid on-course.

Number One Pick for USA Readers:

We believe BetAmerica is the best Kentucky Derby betting site because it holds a valid license from the Oregon Racing Commission, has been in operation since 2008 and has maintained a reputation for security for nearly a decade now. Additionally, BetAmerica has the most generous betting bonuses on offer for both new and existing customers alike.

If you do not already have an account with BetAmerica, you can sign up today to receive a 200% bonus on your first deposit. What this means is if you deposit $100 today, BetAmerica will give you $200 on top of that for a total bankroll of $300. You can get up to $400 in bonus money with this offer.

BetAmerica has also scheduled a number of additional promotions just for the Kentucky Derby. These include winnings boosts of up to 20%, exacta insurance that pays if your bet loses and the winner wins by less than one length, a reload bonus for existing customers and an “inquiry relief” guarantee that pays your bet even if your winning horse is disqualified after an inquiry.

Number Two Pick for USA Readers:

Like BetAmerica, TwinSpires is headquartered in the United States and holds an active license from the Oregon Racing Commission. TwinSpires also has the unique distinction of being the official betting site of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

TwinSpires offers a $100 welcome bonus for new customers that you can earn by making a deposit and placing a total sum of wagers equal to $500 during your first 30 days. This is a fixed $100 bonus that is not tied to the amount of your first deposit. You can deposit as much as you want; what’s important in getting the bonus is placing $500 worth of bets within 30 days of that first deposit.

Top Pick for Non-US Readers: is our number one recommendation for all international punters due to the site’s reputation for safety and competitive betting odds. Before you bet on the Kentucky Derby online anywhere else, you should make it a point to see what ComeOn is paying for your picks. ComeOn frequently pays more than the competition for individual horses to win major races.

More importantly, ComeOn is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. Both licenses are difficult to earn and involve licensees being audited for proper financial and safety controls.

Number Twp Pick for Non-US Readers:

Like the other bookmakers on this page, is licensed, regulated and safe. This site’s biggest advantage is that it is dedicated entirely to horse racing and nothing else. does not distract itself with other sports or gambling; they are all racing, all the time.

With racing betting being its only business model, does not treat racing a simple afterthought like so many other betting sites. takes its business seriously and this shows in the competitive betting odds and a constant supply of racing-related promotions.

2017 Kentucky Derby Preview

Unlike previous years, the 2017 Kentucky Derby does not have a single, standout favorite to win it all. We had Nyquist last year who went off as the 2/1 favorite and delivered on that count and then eventual Triple Crown winner American Pharoah the year before who started the 2015 Kentucky Derby as a 3/1 favorite.

This year, the closest horses we have to favorites are Classic Empire and Always Dreaming who have both been priced at 6/1 by UK-based oddsmakers. Immediately behind those two are Irish War Cry at 15/2 and Mccraken at 10/1. Going on down the list, we have quite a few horses that are all priced as middle-of-the-pack runners with odds in the range of 20/1 to 40/1.

In short, the 2017 Kentucky Derby is open for the taking with even the favorites paying decent odds. Dale Roman, trainer of J Boys Echo, said this year’s race is “as wide open as we’ve seen in a long time.”

Looking at the Favorites

If we have to name two favorites in this wide open field, they would be Classic Empire and Always Dreaming. Both have been given the shortest odds of the bunch so far and a case could be made for either one being the horse to win it all this year. That being said, there are questions surrounding every horse this year and none are dominant favorites. Some just have shorter odds than others.

Classic Empire and Always Dreaming had their final workouts on Friday and both horses looked strong heading into the final days ahead of the big race. Classic Empire’s trainer Mark Casse said “it gave me chills” when he saw how well his horse ran at the track early Friday morning, going half a mile in :49.20.

Casse was particularly happy to see Classic Empire come back so strong after a rough stretch marked by setbacks. After taking third in the Bull Stakes back in February, Classic Empire developed a foot abscess and then had to be treated for a back injury. As if that wasn’t enough, Classic Empire then refused two workouts.

Classic Empire then made a comeback at the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on April 15th to take first place over fellow Kentucky Derby contender Lookin At Lee. One other mark in his favor is his sire: Classic Empire is the son of Pioneerof The Nile, who also sired 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Meanwhile, Always Dreaming went 5 furlongs in :59.60 in a Friday morning workout that Todd Pletcher called “exceptional.” Always dreaming made his name known at the Florida Derby on April 1st where he achieved a five-length victory over State of Honor and Gunnevera.

Fairway Jay at OSGA made an interesting point in an article he published yesterday: all of the five previous Kentucky Derby winners ran the last 3/8ths of a mile time in their final Derby preparation race in under 38 seconds. Always Dreaming’s last 3/8th in the Floriday Derby came in at :36.56. His purpose in noting that particular statistic is that horses who finish their prep races on a strong note are more likely to handle the length of the Kentucky Derby.

Always Dreaming is the son of Bodemeister, who finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2012.

Long Shot Kentucky Derby Winners

While the favorites snag all the attention, we shouldn’t rule out the long shots – especially not in a race lacking clear, dominant favorites. If you’re looking for those long shots capable of producing massive paydays, a post over at America’s Best Racing makes a good case for five long shots based on four categories plus the best overall long shot.

You should read the whole article, but the short of it is they like Thunder Snow for pure ability, Irap for his connections, Tapwrit for his running style, Patch for his pedigree and Hence as the “best overall” long shot.

The wide open state of the race makes for difficult predictions, but it also presents limitless opportunities. With so many horses priced so long and the field showing so much parity, a few life-changing bets will likely be placed on Kentucky Derby horses. Massive wins are not unheard of in horse racing betting. Just ask the horseplayer who turned £19 worth of online horse bets into £823,000 this past weekend. With amount of money that will be bet into the Kentucky Derby pools on May 6th, anything is possible.