Make Smarter Kentucky Derby Wagers

And they're off! The 2024 Kentucky Derby takes place this evening, and we have you covered from all angles so you can make smarter Kentucky Derby wagers.

Peter Clarke - Content Editor at
May 4, 2024 • 09:53 ET
Tiz the Law, left, ridden by jockey Manuel Franco and Authentic, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, lead the field as they come out of the final turn during the running of the 146th Kentucky Derby.
Photo By - USA Today

The Kentucky Derby is a tried and true spring betting tradition. The 150th running is happening today on Saturday, May 4, 2024, and is the first leg of the Triple Crown. 

Time and place

  • Date: Saturday, May 4, 2024
  • Post time: 7:00 p.m. ET (approximately)
  • Place: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, United States

Derby Day Challenge 2024


When race day arrives, Covers' horse racing analysts will lock in their favorite picks and predictions — including a long-shot trifecta pick — for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby. 


Kentucky Derby odds are available year-round and shift as the race approaches. For up-to-date favorites, check back often, as the 2024 Kentucky Derby odds could see quite a bit of movement right up until the race begins.  


The field of Kentucky Derby horses will be set before the race. See how's riding these thoroughbreds and who their trainers are before making your bets. 

Post positions

The Kentucky Derby post position draw for this year's race happened on Saturday, April 27. It's an important part of Derby week, as odds will shift depending on which post position a horse draws. Learn more about how the post-draw affects the race with our post-position guide.

Kentucky Derby for beginners

For many bettors, the first horse racing wager they'll make happens at the Kentucky Derby. And making that first horse racing bet can be confusing! From win-place-show bets to trifectas and superfectas, our how-to bet on the Kentucky Derby guide tells you what you need to know before making a bet. And don't forget to check out our guide on pari-mutuel betting before you lay down your first wager.


Television coverage of the Kentucky Derby will begin at 12 and run until 2:30 pm ET on the USA Network, and then switch to NBC from 2:30 to 7:30 pm ET. 

The Kentucky Derby can be streamed on and on the NBC Sports app.


With a history dating back to 1872, the Kentucky Derby has one of the richest traditions of any sporting event in the United States. From mint juleps and grandiose hats to "My Old Kentucky Home" and, of course, betting, "The Run for the Roses" is the pinnacle event of American horse racing.

150 years and counting

Although the first race wasn't held until 1875, the idea for the event began three years earlier when Meriwether Lewis Clark traveled to Europe and was inspired by the Epsom Derby and the French Jockey Club. Upon his return, he organized a local club of horse racing fans to form the Louisville Jockey Club. Lewis also convinced his uncles, John, and Henry Churchill, to gift him the land needed to build the racetrack. 

The first race was held on May 17th, 1985, when the Louisville Jockey Club opened its doors and held the inaugural Kentucky Derby. Fifteen horses ran in front of around 10,000 fans that day, with Aristides pulling away and becoming the first Kentucky Derby champion. Eight years later, in 1883, the racetrack was officially named Churchill Downs.

Churchill Downs

The Kentucky Derby runs yearly at the famed Churchill Downs track in Louisville. It opened in 1875 and has grown into one of the most famous race tracks in the world, being designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986. With the infield open, the current capacity of Churchill Downs is almost 170,000.  


The tradition of those fancy Kentucky Derby hats you see each year dates back about as long as the race itself and is rooted in Clark's vision for the event. In the late 1800s, dressing up for races was the norm in Europe but not in the USA. Clark wanted the race to be a high-class event more like the Epsom Derby than the typical American horse races of the time, so, per, "he used high-class women to recruit his target clientele to attend the race. The event quickly became just as much about the fashion as the racing."

Mint juleps

The mint julep came later but has been the traditional Kentucky Derby beverage for nearly 100 years. The drink was first introduced to the racetrack in 1938 and has grown to the point where almost 120,000 mint juleps are served over the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend. 

Where can I bet on the Kentucky Derby?

While horse racing is legal in almost every jurisdiction, some sportsbooks do not post Derby odds. You can count on several legal horse racing betting sites to wager on the Derby in those areas where online sports betting is not legal.

Best horse racing bonuses

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Take a look at the best Kentucky Derby betting sites available in your area.

Kentucky Derby FAQs

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