How Do You Bet the Derby?


After hearing much of the public opinion and reviewing the comments on this blog, it is fair to say that most of us disagree on who will win the Kentucky Derby. In fact, admitting that we disagree is probably the only thing we will agree on!

With that being said, let's turn our attention for a moment on not WHO we will bet in the Derby, but HOW we will bet the race. Often, devising a strategy on how to bet is just as important as finding the winner.

For those of you who are seasoned handicappers, you already know that the only way to come out ahead in this game in the long run is to stay disciplined. Stay away from exotics, bet heavy win or show tickets on horses we really like, and resist temptation to play multiple racetracks.

Despite knowing these facts, like most people, I do not have that discipline. I have pretty much conceded that I will lose in the long run, trading that in for the rush I get when I score a big exacta or trifecta. The first time I cashed an IRS ticket, I knew I was hooked on exotics and would never be the same.

If you are an exotic sucker like me, the Derby is your playground. The enormous pools are way too much to resist, especially this year, when we are likely to have 17 or 18 horses at double-digit odds. Can you imagine the superfecta if Big Brown and/or Colonel John run off the board? It will be a lottery ticket.

Knowing all that, tell me your favorite Derby betting strategies. Do you key horses in trifectas? Pool you money with friends and bet the super? Bet numbers? Or do you stay disciplined and put a few hundred to show on one horse? What is your biggest Derby hit?

In years past I have put most of my money into exactas, considering the size of the pools will give you a very nice return on investment. The last one I hit was Barbaro/Bluegrass Cat, which paid over $400 for $2. Afleet Alex cost me a huge one when he couldn't get up over Closing Argument.

I usually take my key horse and box him with four or five others. For some reason, this year, I think I will be more tempted to go for the trifectas and supers. That is based on how wide open this year seems to be.

Luckily, I still have one week until I have to make up my mind.

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