Kentucky Derby Betting Odds and Favorites 2025: Betting on the biggest race day in the USA

© Matt Stone/The Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
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  • $210.7 million wagered on 2024 Kentucky Derby race day
  • Mystik Dan won in 2024 as an 18/1 outsider
  • What will win the 2025 Kentucky Derby?

The 2024 Kentucky Derby is over, and 18/1 underdog Mystik Dan own in a thrilling photo finish. Eyes are already turned to the 2025 race at Churchill Downs, and we will share the odds, runners and riders as soon as they are published by the best sportsbooks.

The Kentucky Derby odds for the 150th ‘Run for the Roses’ indicate we’re in for an exciting showdown on May 4 at Churchill Downs. Sierra Leone, sitting at 11/4, has pipped Fierceness, now 7/2, to the favorite spot as the big day approaches. The Oxley-owned colt took the Blue Grass Stakes in style to win the last prep race before the Derby.

As we approach this historic event, the field of runners will thin to 20, with only the world’s best three-year-olds on display. And with a record $5 million purse on the line, you can be sure of some surprising runs. In this article, we’ll dissect the latest odds, including the frontrunners and dark horses, and provide expert insights and betting tips. Get the mint juleps ready and find your value bet here.

Horse bet365 odds
Sierra Leone 11-4
Fierceness 7-2
Forever Young 8-1
Catching Freedom 12-1
Stronghold 14-1
Just A Touch 16-1
Resilience 20-1
Dornoch 25-1
Domestic Product 25-1
Epic Ride 25-1
Just Steel 25-1
Mystik Dan 25-1
Society Man 25-1
T O Password 25-1
Track Phantom 25-1
Deterministic 33-1
Encino 33-1
Honor Marie 33-1
No More Time 33-1
Pandagate 33-1
Catalytic 40-1
Hades 40-1
Common Defense 50-1
El Grande O 50-1
Liberal Arts 50-1
Seize the Grey 50-1
Uncle Heavy 50-1
West Saratoga 50-1
Grand Mo The First 66-1
Le Dom Bro 66-1

Odds provided by bet365 – accurate as of April 18

Kentucky Derby Future Wager – pool 6 results

The sixth and final 2024 Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool debuted at noon ET on Thursday, April 4, 2024. It wrapped up on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at 4:00 p.m. ET, just before the conclusion of the last three major Kentucky Derby prep races. During this period, Sierra Leone emerged as a notable contender, garnering attention over the weekend.

Here are the winners and their closing odds from each race:

  • Wood Memorial: Resilience (76-1)
  • Santa Anita Derby: Stronghold (30-1)
  • Blue Grass: Sierra Leone (7-1)

Fierceness, the victor of the 2024 Florida Derby, initially opened as the 7-2 betting favorite in the final future wager pool for the 2024 Kentucky Derby, ultimately closing at 5/2.

Meanwhile, Forever Young, a Japanese contender, closed with odds of 8-1.

Below are the closing odds for all eligible horses:

Horse Odds Horse Odds
Be You 52-1 Lat Long 322-1
Catalytic 99-1 Mc Vay 194-1
Catching Freedom 12-1 Merit 478-1
Common Defense 234-1 Mystik Dan 35-1
Deterministic 12-1 No More Time 277-1
Domestic Product 40-1 Resilience 76-1
Dornoch 12-1 Seize the Grey 42-1
El Grande O 117-1 Sierra Leone 7-1
Encino 63-1 Society Man 793-1
Endlessly 37-1 Stronghold 30-1
Epic Ride 156-1 T O Password 135-1
Evening News 147-1 Tapalo 294-1
Fierceness 5-2 Tessuto 516-1
Forever Young 8-1 Timberlake SUSPENDED N/A
Good Money 157-1 Top Conor 80-1
Grand Mo the First 179-1 Track Phantom 53-1
Hades 92-1 Tuscan Sky 24-1
Honor Marie 26-1 Uncle Heavy 72-1
Just a Touch 22-1 West Saratoga 121-1
Just Steel 30-1 All other 3-year-olds 22-1

Kentucky Derby Favorites

Sierra Leone – Best Kentucky Derby Odds 11/4

Trainer Chad Brown eyes his first Kentucky Derby victory in 2024, which could be his best chance yet. Grade 1 champion Sierra Leone shows promise with three wins in four races, racking up 155 points on the road to the Derby.

Sierra Leone was beaten by a nose in the Remsen in February but followed up with a half-length victory in the $400,000 Risen Stakes (Gr. 2) a couple of weeks later. The colt then delivered his career-best performance at Keeneland in the Blue Grass Stakes (Gr.1), achieving a speed figure of 107 and securing a 1 ½ length win over Just a Touch.

He was sat in the last ten horses for much of the race before showing an impressive turn of pace, closing eight lengths in the last ¼ mile. He was still five lengths off 1/8 of a mile out, but when jockey Tyler Gaffalione asked the question, Sierra Leone answered with a blistering finish, passing the entire field on the outside to win by a clear length and a half.

While Fierceness may have peaked early, Sierra Leone’s improving form suggests potential for a strong showing at Churchill Downs. With consistent performances and promising workouts, Sierra Leone appears poised for success on the track. At 11/4, we reckon this might be the highest price you’ll get, with the Morning Line odds highly likely to endorse him as a strong Kentucky Derby favorite.

Oddspedia Insights Tip: Back early as a win bet because 11/4 might not hang around for long.

Fierceness – Best Kentucky Derby Odds 7/2

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher is counting on three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey John Velazquez to ride Fierceness to victory for his third derby win. Fierceness will be hard to bet against, as he showed his pedigree at the 2024 Florida Derby (Gr. 1) prep race. He became the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby with an astounding 13 ½ length triumph at Gulfstream Park.

Despite Catalytic’s efforts to keep pace, Fierceness surged ahead, extending his lead to 8 lengths at the top of the stretch before crossing the finish line comfortably on March 30. This victory marked a significant rebound for Fierceness after his setback in the Holy Bull Stakes (Gr. 3), where he finished 3 ½ lengths behind Domestic Product and Hades.

With a speed rating of 90 in previous races, Fierceness notched a career-high 112 Brisnet Speed Figure at Gulfstream Park, mirroring his electric performance at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Gr. 1) in November.

Although Fierceness boasts a commendable record of three wins in five career starts, his inconsistency, highlighted by a disappointing 7th place in the Champagne Stakes (Gr. 1), leaves room for challengers to step up.

On top of that, Pletcher has also struggled in recent years with consistency at Churchill Downs, with 15 of his last 16 Derby starters failing to hit the board. Will this be the year his fortunes turn? It very well could be. Fierceness has proved himself to be the fastest horse in the race, but he will need to bring his A-game with such high-quality competition surrounding him. He is very much a frontrunner, in stark contrast to Sierra Leone, which only adds to the intrigue around this head-to-head.

Oddspedia Insights Tip: 7/2 could show excellent value if Fierceness keeps his cool. Wait for the Morning Line odds; they may push him out slightly.

Oddspedia Insights exotic bet tip: With Fierceness being a frontrunner, an exacta of Fierceness/Sierra Leone could offer excellent value on the day.

Forever Young – Best Kentucky Derby Odds 8-1

There was speculation that Forever Young might be the Kentucky Derby favorite after his victory in the UAE Derby on March 30. A race in which he kept touch with the leaders in a wide position before turning on the style. He pushed along early before being ridden to lead 1/8 mile and never looked back.

The UAE Derby has sparked debate as a contentious route to the Kentucky Derby, with some fans in horse racing world advocating for its elimination. Since the inception of the points system in 2012-13, we have seen ten winners of the Meydan race compete in the Kentucky Derby, yet none have achieved noteworthy finishes. Forever Young faces an uphill battle given this track record, but there is a feeling that if any horse can do it, it may be him.

Despite the logistical challenges associated with shipping from Dubai, Forever Young possesses impressive Ragozin figures relative to his expected price. Considering these factors, I wouldn’t discount Forever Young’s chances. Raiders can always deliver surprise performances, and established trainer Yoshito Yhagi wouldn’t take the trip if he didn’t think there was a chance they could win.

Oddspedia Insights Tip: This is a horse to watch and could be interesting in an Exacta with one of the favorites. Or a Trifecta as the top of the field is so strong.

Kentucky Derby longshot – Resilience 20/1

The Derby has been painted as a two-horse race, but let’s remember that all 20 horses have qualified on merit and that since 2000, only 30% of Morning Line odds favorites have gone on to win. Therefore, looking at where value could be hidden in the odds for the Kentucky Derby is wise.

Dornoch has delivered Sierra Leone’s only defeat so far and, at 25/1, could offer excellent value to punters. However, the longshot I’m selecting is the Bill Mott trained Resilience at 20/1. The three-year-old has had an interesting start to his career. He didn’t win any of his races as a two-year-old but has found his pace this year.

His maiden was lifted on New Year’s Day when he won a special weight race, and he’s put in solid displays at both the Risen Star in February, backed up with a further win at the Wood Memorial. While his post position may play a part here, 20/1 looks like a great each-way bet.

Oddspedia Insights Tip: The market appears to be backing the horse, too, with some bookmakers as low as 14/1. With expectations relatively low, this horse could be the one to watch, especially in a place bet.

All odds provided by bet365

Kentucky Derby Opening Odds

Horse bet365 odds
Sierra Leone 11-4
Fierceness 7-2
Forever Young 8-1
Catching Freedom 12-1
Stronghold 14-1
Just A Touch 16-1
Resilience 20-1
Dornoch 25-1
Domestic Product 25-1
Epic Ride 25-1
Just Steel 25-1
Mystik Dan 25-1
Society Man 25-1
T O Password 25-1
Track Phantom 25-1
Deterministic 33-1
Encino 33-1
Honor Marie 33-1
No More Time 33-1
Pandagate 33-1

Odds provided by bet365

Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown Odds

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the elusive ‘Triple Crown’ that only the winner can achieve. If they go on to win the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, they will join an exclusive club of Triple Crown winners. Only 13 horses have achieved the impressive feat in the last century, so it’s certainly not easy. Betting early on these markets gives the best odds, but your selection has to enter and win all three events.

Current Triple Crown odds

  • Sierra Leone 14/1
  • Fierceness 20/1
  • Stronghold 80/1

How are the Kentucky Derby rankings determined?

To qualify for the Kentucky Derby, horses must earn points through designated prep races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” With only 20 horses making the field, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for three-year-olds to compete in one of the most prestigious races on the calendar.

The points system was overhauled in 2013, with races from September through April offering points to the top finishers. Early races award 10-4-2-1 points, while major prep races in February-April offer much higher point totals – 50 points for a win, 20 for second, 10 for third, and 5 for fourth. Winning one of these 50-point races essentially secures a spot in the Derby.

The final prep races in late March and April are the most sought-after, offering a whopping 100 points to the winner, 40 for second, 20 for third, and 10 for fourth. Horses earning at least 40 points usually make the Derby field.

Races are held across seven US states, in Dubai and qualifying series in Europe and Japan. The top point earners from those international roads are invited to the Kentucky Derby.

With such a competitive points system, only the most accomplished horses from each year’s foal crop earn the privilege of competing in the iconic “Run for the Roses”.

How are Kentucky Derby odds made?

The Morning Line odds for the Kentucky Derby are the initial odds set by the racetrack’s official oddsmaker before the race takes place. Usually, they are announced on the Wednesday before the event.

Here are the key details about Morning Line odds for the Kentucky Derby:

  • The morning line odds are published in the race day program and represent the oddsmaker’s best estimate of how likely each horse is to win.
  • The Morning Line favorite is typically the horse with the lowest odds, often around 3-1 or 4-1. This is the horse considered the most likely winner by the oddsmaker.
  • The Morning Line odds are not fixed and will change as bets are placed leading up to the race. As more money comes in on certain horses, their odds will shorten (get lower).
  • The tote board determines the final odds that the horses go off at (the “post time” odds) and reflect the total amount of money bet on each horse.
  • The Morning Line is just the starting point, but it provides an initial indication of how the race is expected to play out, according to the racetrack’s expert oddsmaker.

Betting sites can set their odds but will always be similar to the Morning Line odds.

In terms of legality, there are a few horse racing betting sites that allow you to wager, but not all. The good news for bettors looking to place Kentucky Derby bets is that online and retail wagering for horse racing is allowed in over 35 states.

Bettors from Canada can access various online betting sites with top odds and promotions. However, if you are based in Ontario, horse race betting is no longer permitted due to gaming regulation changes on April 4, 2022.

How are horse racing odds calculated?

Understanding how odds are created can help you pick your bets and give you a fresh perspective on why the market moves regularly. While the Morning Line sets the base, bookmakers change their odds to ‘balance their books’. So, what does this mean? Let’s take an example of a four-horse race.

Horse Odds Implied probability(%)
A 1/1 (EVS) 50
B 3/1 25
C 4/1 20
D 9/1 10

In this race, Horse A is the clear favorite and has an implied probability to win of 50%. This is simply expressing the fractional odds as a percentage (1/1 = 2.0. 100/2 = 50). However, if a betting site takes a high percentage of their wagers on Horse A the odds will shorten, as they need to mitigate risk. In turn, another horse will be pushed out and the odds lengthened.

For ‘fair odds’ the implied probability of the book should be 100% (because someone needs to win!). However, the best sportsbooks will always include an ‘overround’, and in the example above it is 5%. Fair odds can be considered at a 2% overround per runner. But you don’t need to worry too much about this as the Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest races globally and with such big audiences you will be able to find value odds at the best online betting sites.

Aside from money laid on horses, other factors that go into making the odds include:

  • Recent form
  • Course and distance results
  • Kentucky Derby future wagers
  • Breeding
  • The jockey
  • Public perception

Post position draw

The Kentucky Derby post-position draw is an important event in the days leading up to the race. It determines the starting gate position for each horse in the Kentucky Derby field. It also has a bearing on the odds.

The post-position draw is typically held 2-3 days before the Kentucky Derby race day. It is a live televised event where the post positions are randomly selected individually for each horse entered in the race.

The post position is significant because it can greatly impact a horse’s chances in the race. Stats show that no horse has ever won from the 17th gate, while most winners have come from the 5th gate (10). Horses in the inside posts (1-5) are typically favored, as they can get to the rail and save ground around the turns. Horses in the outside posts (10+) may have to race wider and cover more ground.

Oddspedia Insights Tip: In its history, 67 winners have come from the top 10 inside posts, compared with only 27 from the outside. Therefore, watch where your fancied horse has been drawn, as it could impact its chances.

Kentucky Derby bet types

Win

A win bet is a wager that your selected horse will win the race. If your horse finishes first, you win the payout based on the odds. Any other result sees your bet as a loser.

Place

A place bet is a wager that your selected horse will finish first or second. If your horse finishes in the top two, you win a payout based on the place odds. Remember that the odds for this will be considerably lower than if you place a straight-win bet.

Show

A show bet is a wager that your selected horse will finish in the top three (first, second, or third place). If your top horse wins and hits the board, you win a payout based on the show odds.

Exacta

An exacta bet requires picking the horses that finish first and second in the exact order. You win the exact payout if you correctly predict the top two finishers. These are difficult to predict, but the payouts can be high.

Quinella

A quinella bet is similar to an exacta, but you only need to pick the horses that will finish first and second without having to predict the exact order. Odds are, of course, lower, as you have more of a chance of correctly predicting this.

Trifecta

A trifecta bet requires selecting the horses that finish first, second, and third in the exact order. Correctly predicting the top three finishers in order is hard, but the rewards can be high.

Superfecta

A superfecta bet is the most difficult, requiring you to pick the horses that will finish first, second, third, and fourth in the exact order. Correctly selecting the top four finishers in order leads to a large superfecta payout.

Daily Double

A daily double bet involves picking the winners of two consecutive races. If you correctly select the winners of both races, you win

Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, or Pick 6

These exotic bets require selecting the winners of multiple consecutive races, with the payout increasing based on the number of legs. Correctly picking the winners of all the races in the sequence results in a big payout.

Kentucky Derby Future Bets

A future bet is a wager placed well in advance of a race, such as the Kentucky Derby. You bet on a horse to win a specific race, with the odds set months before the event.

Who Won the Kentucky Derby and What Were the Odds

Year Kentucky Derby Winner Odds
2023 Mage 15-1
2022 Rich Strike 80-1
2021 Medina Spirit 12-1
2020 Authentic 8-1
2019 Country House 65-1
2018 Justify 5-2
2017 Always Dreaming 9-2
2016 Nyquist 2-1
2015 American Pharoah 3-1
2014 California Chrome 5-2

Kentucky Derby info

Race Kentucky Derby
Type Grade I Stakes Race
Distance 1.25 miles (2 km)
Track Churchill Downs
Purse $5 million
First Run 1875
Most Wins by a Trainer Ben Jones (6)
Most Wins by a Jockey Eddie Arcaro (7)
Most Wins by an Owner Calumet Farm (8)

Kentucky Derby Odds FAQs

Who is favorite to win the Kentucky Derby?

Sierra Leone is the favorite ahead of the race with a best price of 11/4 currently available. This follows some impressive displays including an impressive win in the Blue Grass Stakes. He is expected to be the Morning Line favorite when those odds are released.

Who won the 2023 Kentucky Derby?

Mage took the 2023 Kentucky Derby title winning by a length over Two Phil’s. Despite only racking up 50 qualifying points, this colt held his nerve to deliver Gustavo Delgado his first derby win. At 15/1 he also ensured his backers earned a healthy payout.

How are Kentucky Derby odds calculated?

Kentucky Derby odds are initially set by the racetrack’s oddsmaker in the published morning line. These odds reflect the oddsmaker’s expert opinion on each horse’s chances of winning. However, the final odds that the horses go off at are determined by the total amount of money bet on each horse through the tote system and a few other factors.

What is the best betting site for the Kentucky Derby?

There are a number of the best sportsbooks you should consider when race day comes around. Many will likely offer welcome bonuses and some of the the best sportsbook promos will focus around the Kentucky Derby. Our advice is to check the biggest sportsbooks offers with Oddspedia in the lead-up to the day then consider making your first bet on an earlier race in the days before the Derby so you can use your welcome bonuses to bet on the race itself.

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