How To Understand Kentucky Derby Betting And Odds In Pennsylvania

Written By Corey Sharp on May 2, 2023
The 2023 Kentucky Derby field is set with post positions and opening odds.

The 149th running of the Kentucky Derby takes place this Saturday evening. Some people love to party and dress up, while others look to have skin in the game.

There are some who may not have dabbled into betting on PA horse racing, but might want to starting with this Kentucky Derby.

Betting on horse racing is much different than what many are used to when wagering on sports such as the NBA and NFL. New horse racing bettors also have to learn a new set of terms.

While horse racing is different, it has the potential for great payouts. We will explain the different lingo and compare the equivalent payouts from races to what NFL and NBA parlays would look like.

2023 Kentucky Derby opening odds and post positions

Kentucky Derby odds and post positions:

1Hit Show26-1Manny FrancoBrad Cox
2Verifying 16-1Tyler GaffalioneBrad Cox
3Two Phil's 8-1Jareth LoveberryLarry Rivelli
4Confidence Game17-1James GrahamKeith Desormeaux
5Tapit Trice9-2Luis SaezTodd Pletcher
6Kingsbarns10-1Jose OrtizTodd Pletcher
7Reincarnate13-1John VelazquezTim Yakteen
8Mage18-1Javier CastellanoGustavo Delgado
11Disarm25-1Joel RosarioSteve Asmussen
12Jace's Road32-1Florent GerouxBrad Cox
13Sun Thunder30-1Brian Hernandez Jr.Kenny McPeek
14Angel of Empire9-2Flavien PratBrad Cox
16Raise Cain30-1Gerardo CorralesBen Colebrook
17Derma Sotogake7-1Christophe LemaireHidetaka Otonashi
18Rocket Can27-1Junior AlvaradoBill Mott
21Cyclone Mischief30-1Irad Ortiz Jr.Dale Romans
22Mandarin Hero21-1Kazushi KimuraTerunobu Fujita
23King Russell31-1Rafael BejaranoRon Moquett

Different types of Kentucky Derby bets

There are a few different types of horse racing bets. The ones we’ll get into are the following:

  • Win bet
  • Exacta
  • Trifecta
  • Superfecta

The win bet is the easiest to explain, and that is picking the winner of the Kentucky Derby using the horse’s odds prior to the race. Within the win bet are place and show bets.

A place bet is when your horse must finish first or second and a show bet is finishing in the top three. As you can imagine, the highest payout would be the win bet and the lowest would be from taking the show option.

Making an exacta bet is picking the top two finishers of the race in order. A trifecta bet is picking the top three and superfecta is choosing the top four, all in order. You can also choose to box whichever bet you want among these plays, which means the exact order of your exacta, trifecta or superfecta does not matter. The payout is less if you choose to box your bet.

The Kentucky Derby is an example of parimutuel betting. Once you make a bet on the Kentucky Derby, your wager is placed in a pool. The payouts are then distributed through the pool. Exact payouts are not known prior to the race and can vary slightly from year-to-year.

Where to bet the 2023 Kentucky Derby online in Pennsylvania

The only way to bet on the Kentucky Derby online is to download apps such as FanDuel Racing or PABets (TVG).

To wager on the Kentucky Derby itself, find the Churchill Downs racetrack and select the race number for the Saturday, May 6 card.

The great part about using FanDuel Racing is that it’s the only PA online sportsbook operator to offer horse racing bets and sports wagering using a single account and wallet.

To celebrate the Kentucky Derby, FanDuel is offering a “$20 No Sweat Bet” on horse racing’s signature event to all new and existing sportsbook and DFS customers.

Betting on the Kentucky Derby opens Friday morning.

Comparing horse racing payouts to NFL and NBA parlays

Now that you know horse racing lingo for betting, we’re going to compare the payouts to NFL and NBA parlays.

For example, what would an exacta payout for the Kentucky Derby look like as an NBA parlay or NFL future? Though payouts of the Kentucky Derby are not known exactly, we’re going to use payouts of the last two Kentucky Derby’s to give you an idea of what one would look like.

The 2022 Kentucky Derby was the craziest race in recent memory. Rich Strike had the longest odds of any horse in the draw and won the race at 80-1. The payouts were as follows:

  • Exacta: 21-3 | $1 exacta paid $2,050.60
  • Trifecta: 21-3-10 | 50 cent trifecta paid $7,435.35
  • Superfecta: 21-3-10-13 | $1 superfecta paid $321,500.10

Having Rich Strike win the Kentucky Derby is similar to placing a wager on the Tennessee Titans to win the Super Bowl on DraftKings PA Sportsbook. Out of 32 teams, the Titans have the 29th-best odds (+8000) to win it all. Obviously the NFL season is longer than a Kentucky Derby race, but you get the point.

Let’s dissect the exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets. Essentially, they are parlays. And because Rich Strike won the race as a massive underdog, anyone with the horse in any of those three wagers had a tremendous payout.

A $1 exacta bet paying out $2,050.60 is the equivalent of a Buccaneers (+4000) and Titans (+5000) Super Bowl matchup. A $1 bet on +209000 odds would yield an NFL bettor $2,091.

A 50 cent trifecta bet paying out $7,435.35 is so rare, it does not have an NFL or NBA equivalent parlay. The same goes for the superfecta, which is obviously even rarer than the trifecta. There are no scenarios in which an NFL futures or NBA parlay comes close.

That’s what happens when a massive underdog shocks the world. After Tom Brady retired from football and with the Titans selling off parts, who in their right mind would bet a Bucs-Titans Super Bowl this season? That is basically what happened in last year’s Kentucky Derby.

More conventional results from the 2021 Kentucky Derby

The 2021 Kentucky Derby was much more conventional. Medina Spirit won the 2021 race at 15-1, which tied for the sixth-best odds to win. Medina Spirit winning the Kentucky Derby is almost the equivalent to choosing the Dallas Cowboys to win the Super Bowl this year. The Cowboys are +1400 on DraftKings to win it all

The payouts were as follows:

  • Exacta: 8-7, $2 exacta paid out $503.60
  • Trifecta: 8-7-9, 50 cent trifecta paid out $848.45
  • Superfecta: 8-7-9-14, $1 superfecta paid out $9,456.40

As you can see, the payouts aren’t as high after a more conventional finish. They would have been even less if a heavier favorite had won the derby.

A $2 exacta bet paying out $503.60 is the equivalent of making a Minnesota Vikings (+1800) and Los Angeles Chargers (+1300) Super Bowl parlay on DraftKings. That matchup is +26500 and $2 pays out $532.

A 50 cent trifecta bet paying out $848.45 is the equivalent of a hitting on this first field goal NBA parlay on DraftKings:

  • Kevin Love: +1100
  • Draymond Green: +1000
  • PJ Tucker: +1200

A 50 cent bet on those three to score the first basket is +171500 odds and pays $858.

For a $1 superfecta to pay out $9,456.40, I had to add another leg to my first field goal parlay, but was able to choose slightly better players. Here is the parlay:

  • Gabe Vincent: +1000
  • Draymond Green: +1000
  • Al Horford: +800
  • Jamal Murray: +750

A $1 bet on that NBA parlay at +925550 odds pays out $9,256.50.

These examples put things into perspective on how hard it is to hit on an exacta, trifecta or superfecta bet without boxing it.

NBA and NFL betting comparison

As Medina Spirit was a believable dark horse (pun intended) to win the Kentucky Derby, choosing a parlay such as the Chargers and Vikings is also believable. Is it still a long shot for this season? Sure, but both teams made the playoffs last year and anything can happen once you get in.

For exact finishes such as the trifecta and superfecta, you’re getting bang for your buck even though the odds become longer. That’s why picking the first scorer in the NBA also has long odds, but has comparable payouts.

Photo by Charlie Riedel / AP
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayPennsylvania bringing you comprehensive coverage of sports betting and gambling in Pennsylvania. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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