Some call it “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” Others claim its name is “the run for the roses.”
Either way, it is officially the Kentucky Derby and the first leg of US horse racing’s Triple Crown.
The race is run annually in Louisville, KY, on the first Saturday in May at the at legendary Churchill Downs Racetrack. But you don’t have to travel to Kentucky to get in on the betting action.
Where to bet on the Kentucky Derby in PA
In fact, there are six live horse racing facilities and eight off-track betting operations right here in Pennsylvania that are taking bets on the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4.
Plus, there are five well-known horse racing mobile apps available in PA that allow you to place a bet on the race from the privacy of your home. These apps are:
- TwinSpires.com – Churchill Downs’ horse racing app and the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby.
- TVG.com – The top horse race TV and online horse betting site in the country.
- BetAmerica.com – Another Churchill Downs’ horse racing app that also operates online sports betting and online casino products in New Jersey.
- DRF Bets (bets.drf.com) – The online betting platform of the Daily Racing Form.
- NYRABets.com – The New York Racing Association’s online wagering site.
The six live PA horse racing facilities that offer simulcast wagering on the Kentucky Derby and full-scale casino operations are:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack in Chester
- Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville
- The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Washington
- Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre
- Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie
Of those, four also have attached PA retail sportsbooks. Presque Isle and Mohegan Sun are both in the process of launching sports betting.
Finally, each horse racing operation is authorized to offer simulcast wagering at state-approved PA off-track betting facilities.
These facilities are:
- Northeast Turf Club in Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Mall (Parx)
- South Philadelphia Turf Club on Packer Avenue in Philadelphia’s Stadium District (Parx)
- Valley Forge Turf Club near Valley Forge National Park (Parx)
- Lancaster OTW in Lancaster (Penn National Gaming)
- York OTW in York (Penn National Gaming)
- The Downs at East Stroudsburg in the Poconos (Mohegan Sun Pocono)
- The Downs at Lehigh Valley in Allentown (Mohegan Sun Pocono)
- Meadows Harmar on Anchor Drive in Pittsburgh’s Harmar Township (The Meadows)
How to bet on the Kentucky Derby
According to Churchill Downs, over $150 million is won by people betting on the Kentucky Derby every year. If you want to get in on that, it’s a good idea to learn a few horse racing betting basics first.
There are five basic ways to bet on any single horse race, including the Kentucky Derby.
A “win” wager is exactly like it sounds. It’s a bet on a single horse to win the race. If the horse wins, you win, and you get paid based on odds set by the track.
A “place” wager is a bet on one horse to finish either first or second. You win if the horse wins or finishes second. You get paid based on odds set by the track, but they’re sure to be smaller than the odds on the horse to win.
A “show” wager is a bet on one horse to finish either first, second or third. You win if the horse wins or finishes second or third. You get paid based on odds set by the track, but they’re sure to be smaller than the odds on the horse to win or place.
An “exacta” is a bet on two horses to finish first and second, in that order. You win if you exactly predict the winning sequence. The difficulty of picking two horses to win and place in exact order means exacta bets pay much bigger odds than most.
However, you can also “box” the wager, essentially betting on the same two horses to win and place in any order. This increases your chances of winning but also lowers your profit.
A “trifecta” is a bet on three horses to finish first, second, and third, in that exact order. You win if exactly what you predict to happen actually does. The difficulty of picking three horses to win, place, and show in exact order means trifecta bets pay the biggest odds of any basic bet.
However, you can also “box” the wager, essentially betting on the same three horses to win, place, and show in any order. Again, this increases your likelihood of winning, but also makes a bet more costly, lowering your potential profit.
Watching the Kentucky Derby in PA
The 2019 Kentucky Derby will air nationally on NBC. Coverage begins on May 4 at noon EST with the Kentucky Derby undercard airing on NBC Sports.
From 2:30 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. NBC takes over. Riders mount the horses at st after 6:30 p.m. and the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is set to begin at 6:50 p.m. EST.
The NBC Sports Live website and NBC Sports app will also live stream the race. The app is available:
- iTunes App Store
- Google Play
- Amazon Fire TV
Additionally, TwinSpires.com, Churchill Downs’ horse racing app and the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, will host its own live stream online.
NBC Sports is available on DISH and DIRECTV in PA.
NBC affiliates in Pennsylvania include:
- Erie – WICU-TV 12
- Johnstown – WJAC-TV 6
- Lancaster – WGAL 8
- Philadelphia – WCAU 10
- Pittsburgh – WPXI 11
- Wilkes-Barre – WBRE-TV 28
The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes (May 18) and the Belmont Stakes (June 8).
145th Kentucky Derby post positions and betting odds
Here is a look at this year’s Derby field.
|1||War of Will||Tyler Gaffalione||15/1|
|3||By My Standards||Gabriel Saez||15/1|
|4||Gray Magician||Drayden Van Dyke||50/1|
|5||Improbable||Irad Ortiz Jr.||5/1|
|7||Maximum Security||Luis Saez||8/1|
|9||Plus Que Parfait||Ricardo Santana Jr.||30/1|
|10||Cutting Humor||Corey Lanerie||30/1|
|12||Code of Honor||John Velazquez||12/1|
|13||Win Win Win||Julian Pimentel||12/1|
|14||Master Fencer||Julien Leparoux||50/1|
|15||Game Winner||Joel Rosario||9/2|
|17||Long Range Toddy||Jon Court||30/1|
|19||Country House||Flavien Prat||30/1|
With the original favorite, Omaha Beach, now a scratch, this is one of the more wide-open Derby’s in recent memory. With a chance of rain, look for horses that fare well in muddy conditions.
If you want to go with pedigree, the two Bob Baffert-trained horses, Roadster and Game Winner, seem to be the frontrunners, and for good reason. Baffert has trained a Derby-winning horse five times. With a win Saturday, he would tie the all-time record.
Last year’s winning jockey, Mike Smith, was set to ride Omaha Beach. However, the 2017 winning jockey, John R. Velazquez, will be in the race, riding Code of Honor. That horse is currently going off at 12-1.
Handicapping the KY Derby horses
After winning the Tampa Bay Derby and the Wood Memorial leading up to the Kentucky Derby, the Bill Mott-trained Tacitus comes in as one of the favorites opening at 6 to 1.
Vekoma won the 2019 Blue Grass Stakes heading into the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Louisville local George Weaver, Vekoma opened at 15 to 1.
3) Plus Que Parfait
Plus Que Parfait finished first in the UAE Derby, but Dubai-based horses have never done well in Kentucky. The Brendan Walsh-trained horse is a longshot to win opening at a lofty 50 to 1.
Trainer Bob Baffert has compared Roadster to 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. After surgery to correct a breathing problem, Roadster won the Santa Anita Derby this year and looks to be another Kentucky Derby favorite opening at 5 to 1.
5) By My Standards
The Bret Calhoun-trained By My Standards won at the Louisiana Derby on the path to the Kentucky Derby. However, horses from the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans have not finished strong in Louisville. By My Standards opened at 20 to 1.
6) Maximum Security
Maximum Security is an undefeated horse coming off a wire-to-wire win in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Jason Servis, Maximum Security opened at 10 to 1.
7) Game Winner
The Bob Baffert-trained Game Winner finished second to 2019 Kentucky Derby favorites Roadster and Omaha Beach in consecutive Kentucky Derby prep races. However, the horse won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and division championship as a 2-year-old. Game Winner opened at 8 to 1.
8) Code of Honor
The Shug McGaughey-trained Code of Honor earned the points necessary for a Kentucky Derby berth finishing third in the Florida Derby. However, the horse did win the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and will open at the Kentucky Derby at 15 to 1.
Haikal finished third in the Wood Memorial coming off a Gotham Stakes win at Aqueduct. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained horse opens at 30 to 1.
Improbable opens at 10 to 1 after two second-place finishes this year, the last one in the Arkansas Derby. The Bob Baffert-trained horse is possibly a threat to win and most definitely to place.
11) War of Will
War of Will opens at 20 to 1 coming off a ninth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby. However, Trainer Mark Casse had most pundits thinking War of Will was a Derby favorite before a bad start in that race. He won the Lecomte and Risen Star and the price is right.
12) Long Range Toddy
A sixth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby has the Steve Asmussen-trained Long Range Toddy opening at 30-1. However, he has four career victories, including a win over Improbable in the Rebel.
Tax finished second in the Wood Memorial. Trainer Danny Gargan has turned this one-time claiming horse into his first Derby starter, but not likely a contender. Tax opens at 30 to 1.
14) Cutting Humor
Cutting Humor is coming off a win at the Sunland Derby. However, the Todd Pletcher-trained horse opens at 30-1 with pundits giving Cutting Humor little chance of repeating that feat.
15) Win Win Win
Win Win Win probably won’t at the Kentucky Derby this year. Trainer Mike Trombetta got a win at Tampa Bay Downs in January, and a runner-up finish at the Blue Grass Stakes out of the horse. However, he never really challenged Vekoma in that race and will open at 30 to 1.
16) Country House
Country House will open at 30 to 1 after coming in third at the Arkansas Derby for trainer Bill Mott. Unless you believe the sloppy track at Oaklawn Park was to blame, Country House will not be a real factor in the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
17) Gray Magician
Gray Magician is a real longshot to win the 2019 Kentucky Derby opening at 50-1. This is the Peter Miller-trained horse that finished runner-up in the UAE Derby.
Spinoff is yet another horse that will open at 30 to 1 after a runner-up finish in his last race. Spinoff’s second came in the Louisiana Derby where the Todd Pletcher–trained horse gave up the lead down the stretch.
19) Master Fencer
Master Fencer is the Japanese invite to the race and will come in as the other true longshot opening at 50-1. Trained by former jockey Koichi Tsunoda, Master Fencer has never won a stakes race. Co-owner Katsumi Yoshizawa said he feels lucky just to be there and his biggest hope is that the horse returns home safely.