Shapiro: How to bet the Kentucky Derby on different budgets

TwinSpires Staff

May 4th, 2018


The Kentucky Derby is not only the most prestigious race in the world but it is a race for horseplayers of all levels.

If you have a large budget to invest on Saturday then perhaps the Pick 6 or $1 minimum superfecta wager is “right up your alley.” However, if you are not in the position to gamble more than a few bucks or want to take a more conservative approach, betting to win or across the board as well as a taking a small shot at the exacta or trifecta may be the better option.

I landed on Audible as my top selection in this year’s Derby, but had a hard time dismissing the 3-1-morning line favorite Justify based on how well he gets over the ground and an expected perfect stalking trip just off of likely pacesetter Promises Fulfilled. If I had to bet a longshot to win I would give the nod to Noble Indy, but I think a second- or third-place finish is more likely. Good Magic is the horse I think that is likeliest to hit the board, but I am not sure if he is fast enough to win. There are several price horses that can complete the trifecta or superfecta if they run their race, so spreading in the third and fourth positions is a must.

Here is how I recommend wagering on the 2018 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on a few different budgets:

$20 Budget

On a limited budget I like the idea of boxing my top 3 choices in the exacta and betting Audible to Win and Place. This will not change your year or even month, but if you catch a 7-5 or 7-6 it will be a solid return on a limited investment.

$2 Exacta Box 5+6+7 = $12

$4 Win/Place 5

$100 Budget

A lot of people like to invest $100 into the Derby and I recommend a somewhat similar approach. However, with this amount of money on the line it is worth taking a shot at the trifecta as well. Once again Audible getting the best of Good Magic or Justify would be great, but with the additional dollars you can afford to add a long shot like Noble Indy for second and a few others that could provide some separation for third.

$8 Win/Place 5 = $16

$3 Exacta Box 5+6+7+19 = $36

$1 Trifecta Wheel 5+7 with 5+6+7+19 with 5+6+7+8+9+10+13+15+19+20 = $48

$500 Budget

For those players with a larger budget I still recommend a significant Win/Place wager on my top choice, but I also like the idea of trying to connect on the exacta and trifecta for a significant amount. Playing the superfecta may be attractive to some, but I would need at least $1000 invested into multiple tickets to feel confident I could hit the top four in this competitive bunch.

$50 Win/Place 5 = $100

$20 Exacta Box 5+6 = $40

$50 Exacta Box 5+7 = $100

$10 Exacta Wheel 5 with 6+7+8+9+10+11 = $60

$14 Exacta 5-7 = $14

$2 Trifecta Wheel 5+7 with 5+6+7+19 with 5+6+7+8+9+10+13+15+19+20 = $96

$3 Trifecta Wheel 5+7 with 5+6+7+19 with 5+6+7+8+9+10+19 = $90


Good luck. Let’s make it a Derby to remember!