7 Surprising Stats About Kentucky Derby Betting

Profile Picture: Andrew Armstrong

February 24th, 2017

With just over 2 months remaining until the 2017 Kentucky Derby, the action is heating up as contenders travel across the country in search of qualifying points. With each passing week, the field for the 143rd running over "the most exciting two minutes in sports" slowly takes shape. Betting on the 2017 Kentucky Derby is already underway via "futures" pools, and serious players already are doing in-depth research on this year's crop of potential entries.

As such, we decided to look back at last year's Derby, and do some analysis of the BetAmerica community and how our players fared in the big race. What we found we some very intriguing, and in some cases rather shocking, statistics related to betting on the 2016 Kentucky Derby. From our analysis, we present to you 7 surprising stats about Kentucky Derby betting with BetAmerica (#7 will really shock you!)

1. The Mid-West was home to the best and worst-performing states in 2016

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Looking at bettor performance by state during the 2016 Kentucky Derby, Michigan was the top performer. Players from the "Great Lakes State" posted an impressive 40% return-on-investment from their wagers. Unfortunately for their neighbors to the west, Wisconsin was the biggest loser in 2016, with players collectively posting a -61% return-on-investment from Kentucky Derby bets.

2. Columbus, Ohio cleaned up in last year's Derby

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Drilling down by zip code, a lucky winner (or perhaps lucky winners) from the Columbus, Ohio area netted an impressive 120% ROI on their 2016 Kentucky Derby bets, making 43222 the best-performing zip code in the country. By contrast, the 95630 zip code in Folsom, California had the opposite distinction of being the worst-performing zip code in the country, losing everything wagered on last year's Derby.

3. Straight "Win" bets were 2016's favorite Kentucky Derby bet type

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When it came to the favorite type of bet made by BetAmerica players on the 2016 Kentucky Derby, the traditional "win" bet was the most popular, followed by trifecta bet (22%) and then the exacta bet (19%).

4. Fortune favored the bold in 2016

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A conservative betting strategy was not the right approach in the 2016 Derby. "Show" bets produced the lowest ROI of any bet type at -35% while long-shot Superfecta bets netted a tidy 26% ROI. This statistic is likely due to the fact that three favorites occupied the first three positions in last year's race.

5. Florida led the way in new account sign-ups

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In terms of the most new accounts playing on BetAmerica for the 1st time during the 2016 Kentucky Derby, Florida led the way, followed by California, and then Kentucky, the home state of Churchill Downs and America's most famous horse race.

6. The most new sign-ups from a single city for the 2016 Derby came from...

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Apparently not everyone in Louisville can get a ticket to Churchill Downs to watch and bet on the Kentucky Derby in person. Last year the single most new sign-ups for the BetAmerica platform came from Louisville, KY during the Derby weekend.

7. Want to pick a winner this year? Maybe ask your grandparents

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Apparently technology and all the so-called advantages it presents (predictive algorithms, easier access to data, etc) means squat when it comes to picking winners in the Kentucky Derby. Or at least that was the case last year. Looking at the average ROI on wagers from the race by what decade bettors were born, those born in the 1930's blew away everyone else (followed by those born in the 40's and then the 20's):
  • 1990s: -17% ROI
  • 1980s: -27%
  • 1970s: -11%
  • 1960s: - 24%
  • 1950s: -7%
  • 1940s: +8%
  • 1930s: +39%
  • 1920s: -4%
The most popular year to be born for BetAmerica bettors on the Derby was 1961, with the oldest bettor born in 1924  (a grand old age of 92)  and the youngest born in 1998 (making them 18 years old and legal in case you're wondering!).

How do you think the stats will shake out for the 2017 Kentucky Derby? Will Generation X and the Millennials redeem themselves or will the "Greatest Generation" and the "Silent Generation" continue their dominance? Sound off in the comments and good luck!