The Derby is Coming! The Derby is Coming!

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

April 28th, 2014

by Molly Jo Rosen

A while back, Derek Brown wrote a brilliant piece about what happens when you're invited to your first Derby party and - like seeing Christmas tree lots pop up at Halloween - it was a great way to get into the spirit of the season.

More recently I've been approached by a slew of people who all say the same thing: "sure I've bet a few races here and there over the years, but this is THE DERBY ~ there have to be different rules for THE DERBY, right?!?"

According to statistics from The Jockey Club, there were 48,580 races in North America last year, meaning the 139th Kentucky Derby was 1 of like 133 races run on May 4, 2013.

We all want to believe the Derby is just another race on a Saturday afternoon, even though we know it's not. It's America's oldest continuously run sporting event and the largest single-race field run in North America, with more media coverage of every horse and trainer and jockey and owner ~ it's an overload.

But does this mean there are "different rules"? No.

There is no reason this race should strike fear into the hearts/minds/wallets of anyone, let alone the casual fan. So what are we to do?

First: Breathe. If you want to bet: bet. If you want to just watch horses run in circles: do that. Having mythical money on a horse can be just as fun (if nowhere near as lucrative). And the beauty of online betting is no one but you has to know what you're playing (plus with promotions like Second Chance, you could even get your money back for picking the runner-up!)

Second: Have a Goldilocks Moment. Racing is a sport of statistics and it's really easy to feel overwhelmed, especially with a 20 horse field on a 13 race card. So find your comfort zone: Are full Past Performance sheets too much? Is just looking at a list of names too little? There are plenty of sources out there that have different levels of information for all types of player. Want help finding what's just right for you? Leave a comment on this post or send us a tweet!

Third: Be a Know-It-All. Most people can't tell you anything about any of the horses, so there is absolutely no shame in learning just enough about the key runners to impress your friends. Be able to talk knowledgeably about 2 or 3 horses and ~ poof! ~ you're the star of the show. No one has to know that's the extent of your brilliance.

Whether it's your first or just a race that confounds: what questions do you have about betting the Derby?