Kentucky Derby Odds 2024: Who is the Favorite to Win the Kentucky Derby?

Fact Checked by Shannon Lane

Everyone in the horse racing world wants to pick the winner on Derby Day, but picking the derby winner months ahead of the 2024 Kentucky Derby can be even more lucrative. Let's break down the latest 2024 Kentucky Derby odds to get you prepped for the May 4th race

Kentucky Derby Odds

Latest Kentucky Derby Odds 2024: Top 10 Contenders

All odds listed below were provided by bet365 Kentucky

šŸ„‡ Sierra Leone+600
šŸ„ˆ Dornoch+900
šŸ„‰ Timberlake+1200
šŸŽ Fierceness+1400
šŸŽ Forever Young+1400
šŸŽ Track Phantom+1400
šŸŽ Deterministic+2000
šŸŽ Conquest Warrior+2000
šŸŽ Hades+2000
šŸŽ Mystik Dan+2000
āœ… Info Last Verified April 22, 2024

2024 Kentucky Derby Favorite

Sierra Leone (+600) is the current favorite to win the 2024 Kentucky Derby. Sierra Leone's victory in the Risen Star was visually impressive, coming from many lengths back and wide on the track to notch the win. That performance was enough for the betting lines to set Sierra Leone as a +600 favorite at most Kentucky sportsbooks

2024 Kentucky Derby Top Contenders

One visually impressive race isn't enough to guarantee Kentucky Derby success. To contend at the mile and one-quarter distance of the Derby, horses need to have the pedigree to handle the longer distance.

Dornoch +900

Dornoch has established himself as the clear-cut No. 2 option a little over a month away from the 2024 Kentucky Derby. He was trained by Danny Gargan and looks to be a formidable contender this year. 

Timberlake +1400

Timberlake gains near-favorite status after an impressive win in the Arkansas Derby prep, the Rebel Stakes. Trained by Brad Cox, this could be Cox's first derby win with his horse crossing the wire first. His only other derby win came months after the DQ of Medina's Spirit.

Fierceness +1400

The Breeders Cup juvenile champion hasn't faded from everyone's memory just yet. That win in the Breeders Cup juvenile was by far the best of Fierceness's best career races, and that effort could maybe be strong enough to beat the rest of the three-year-old crop.

Forever Young +1400

It's only a matter of time until Japan produces its first Kentucky Derby winner. They might have one with Forever Young, a two-year-old winner of the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yoshun. Notably, this horse has not raced since December and is still a favorite on Kentucky Derby future wager odds.

Track Phantom +1400

Before Sierra Leone caught everyone's eye at Fairgrounds in the Risen Star Stakes, the Lecomte winner Track Phantom was the talk of the derby trail due to a gate-to-wire win. Track Phantom's front-running style will really play to his advantage on the first Saturday in May.

Deterministic +2000

What makes Deterministic so impressive is his ability to run from off the pace against the track bias to be the winning horse in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. His romp in the New York wet on a sloppy track was impressive.

Kentucky Derby Odds 2024: Current Post Position Standings

HorsePoints
Timberlake66
Domestic Product66
Dornoch60
Sierra Leone55
Track Phantom55

Road to the Kentucky Derby

The road to the Kentucky Derby consists of prep race races that started back in the fall of 2023 and are some of the biggest horse races of the early part of the year. Horses accumulate points by finishing 1st through 4th in the designated prep races. Here are some of the most recent prep season results.

  • Tampa Bay Derby - Domestic Product
  • San Felipe Stakes - Imagination
  • Gotham Stakes - Deterministic
  • John Battaglia Memorial Stakes - Encino
  • Fountain of Youth - Dornoch

150th Kentucky Derby Odds To Watch

With some of the highest point total races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby still upcoming, the odds are bound to swing dramatically between now and the first leg of the triple crown. The most recent Kentucky Derby futures pool had "All Other Three-Year-Olds" as the slight favorite at the close, indicating that most bettors think we may not yet have seen the Kentucky Derby winner.

Top 2024 Kentucky Derby Predictions

As the most consequential racing has yet to unfold, the biggest guarantee is that these odds will change wildly between now and the first Saturday in May. In the last two years, Japanese horses have taken a lot of action in the lead-up to the race itself. So, the best odds you can get on Forever Young might be the odds you get right now.

As of today, my prediction to win the 2024 Kentucky Derby is Timberlake ā€“ the winner of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Rebel win was impressive, and maybe due to recency bias, that performance stuck out more than the most recent prep races. By Into Mischief, Timberlake should have the pedigree to handle the distance of the Kentucky Derby.

Looking Back at 2023 Kentucky Derby Odds

The 2023 odds-on favorite at most Kentucky betting apps was Angel of Empire at 4-1 to win after Forte was scratched on race day. Practical Move, Lord Miles, Continuar and Skinner were all scratched and were replaced by Cyclone Mischief, Mandarin Hero, and King Russell.  

These were the top five Kentucky Derby morning line odds leaders according to TwinSpires, and their Post Position:

āŒ Forte (4-1)
SCRATCH
ā­ļø Angel of Empire (4-1)
Gate 12
ā­ļø Tapit Trice (9-2)
Gate 5
šŸ‡ Derma Sotogake (7-1)
Gate 14
šŸ‡ Two Phil's (9-1)
Gate 3
šŸ“† Last Updated
April 22, 2024

Leading up to the 2023 Kentucky Derby, no contender had impressed like Forte had in his career. Despite only having raced five times, he's already a three-time Grade 1 winner, one of which came in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and he could hardly have got his three-year-old career off to a better start when scorching away from his rivals in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Race trainer, Todd Pletcher maintained his dominance of the Curlin Florida Derby after Forte took a late lead to win the race. 

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2023 Kentucky Derby Odds: Post Positions

Horses' Post Positions, the gate they are assigned from which they start the race, can have a big impact on whether or not they place. Here's where all eligible and scratched horses were posted, along with their latest odds, before the race began.

Horse (Latest Odds)Post
Hit Show (24-1)1
Verifying (14-1)2
Two Phil's (9-1)3
Confidence Game (19-1)4
šŸ’° Tapit Trice (9-2)5
Kingsbarns (11-1)6
šŸ“ˆ Reincarnate (13-1)7
Mage (17-1)8
āŒ Skinner (20-1)9 (SCRATCHED)
āŒ Practical Move (10-1)SCRATCHED
Disarm (25-1)9
Jace's Road (31-1)10
Sun Thunder (31-1)11
šŸ”„ Angel of Empire (7-2)12
āŒ Forte (4-1)SCRATCHED
Raise Cain (31-1)13
Derma Sotogake (8-1)14
Rocket Can (28-1)15
āŒ Lord Miles (30-1)SCRATCHED
āŒ Continuar (50-1)SCRATCHED
āœ… Cyclone Mischief (27-1)16
āœ… Mandarin Hero (20-1)17
āœ… King Russell (31-1)18

Here's an interactive breakdown of winners by post position since 1930. You can use the filter to see only the winners in the last 20 years or the last 10 years.

Per the chart above, Posts 5, 7 and 15 have produced the most all-time Kentucky Derby winners. Since 1930, posts 1-10 have produced 66 winners of the Kentucky Derby. However, there have been multiple efforts to improve and evolve the Kentucky Derby starting gates. 

In the last 20 years, there's been an even 10-10 split between winners in Posts 1-10 and 11-20. In the last 10 years, Posts 11-20 actually have a slightly better win rate with six, compared to Posts 1-10's four. In 2020, Churchill Downs debuted a custom 20-stall starting gate to eliminate the wide gap between posts 14 and 15.

Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply. Play Responsibly.

History of the Kentucky Derby

Sporting events don't get more historic than the Kentucky Derby. First run in 1875, it is officially the longest-running sports event in the United States. Only the best three-year-olds get to compete in a race dubbed "the most exciting two minutes in sports."

Staged at the historical Churchill Downs Racetrack, the race has been won by some of the sport's greats, including the likes of American Pharaoh, California Chrome, and Smarty Jones.

Bob Baffert is the most winning modern-day horse racing trainer with six victories in the famous contest under the Twin Spires, while 2018 winner Justify became the first horse since Apollo in well over one hundred years to win the Grade 1 prize without having raced as a two-year-old.

šŸŽ MORE: Best Jockeys in Kentucky Derby History

Who Won the Kentucky Derby 2023?

Mage (15-1) won the Kentucky Derby in 2023. Here are the rest of the results of the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

šŸ„‡ Mage (15-1)
ā±ļø 2:01.57
šŸ„ˆ Two Phil's (9-1)
1 Length
šŸ„‰ Angel of Empire (4-1)
1 1/2 Lengths

The early heavy favorite, Forte, was scratched the morning of the race, which put Angel of Empire at the top of the Derby favorites. Angel of Empire ended up coming in third place, behind Mage and Two Phil's. The last time a post-time favorite won the Run for the Roses was in 2018 when Justify did so en route to the 2018 Triple Crown.

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Who Won the Kentucky Derby 2022? 

History was made at Churchill Downs Racetrack in 2022, with Rich Strike becoming the biggest-priced winner of the Kentucky Derby in over 100 years.

šŸ„‡ Rich Strike (2:02:61)šŸ’° $1.86 Million
šŸ„ˆ Epicenter (3/4 length behind)šŸ’° $600,000
šŸ„‰ Zandon (1 1/2 length behind)šŸ’° $300,000
āœ… Simplification (3 1/2 length behind)šŸ’° $150,000
āœ… Mo Donegal (3 3/4 length behind)šŸ’° $90,000

Rich Strike was sent off an unconsidered 80-1 chance in Kentucky Derby odds. Still, jockey Sonny Leone captured the nation's hearts by coming from off the speed on the Eric Reed-trainer underdog, who was only entered into the race after another horse was scratched.

Notable Past Kentucky Derby Winners

Some of the biggest stars in horse racing have won the Kentucky Derby, including the great Secretariat who still holds the record (1:59.40 in 1973) for the fastest Derby success. Here are the fastest times in the history of the mile-and-a-quarter race:

šŸ‡ Secretariat (1973)ā±ļø 1:59:40
šŸ‡ Monarchos (2001)ā±ļø 1:59:97
šŸ‡ Zandon (1964)ā±ļø 2:00:00
šŸ‡ Spend a Buck (1985)ā±ļø 2:00:20
šŸ‡ Decidedly (1962)ā±ļø 2:00:40

American Pharaoh and Justify both went on to complete the Triple Crown for trainer Bob Baffert in the last decade, while 2014 winner California Chrome went on to earn the best part of $15 million in a stunning career. Bookmakers were the winners in 2022 though, because 80/1 outsider Rich Strike became the biggest-priced winner of the race since Doneail won at 91/1 in 1913.

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How To Place Bets on the Kentucky Derby

Here's how to place bets on the 2023 Kentucky Derby:

  1. āœ… Login or Sign Up with the legal sportsbook of your choice
  2. āœ… Choose Churchill Downs Race Track
  3. āœ… Select the Kentucky Derby race number (typically second to last on the card)
  4. āœ… Pick the horse that you want to bet on
  5. āœ… Select your desired wager
  6. āœ… Enter the dollar amount you would like to wager
  7. āœ… Place your bet

Win bets on the Kentucky Derby favorite was the safest betting strategy between 2013 and 2018, during which period every favorite went in. However, the trend has shifted in recent years, so much so that three of the last four winners have gone off 81/1, 269/10 and 65/1.

That suggests anyone assessing the latest 2023 Kentucky Derby odds should look further afield than the top of the market and tackle the race with more exotic bets than straightforward win wagers.

Don't forget to check out our list of the best Kentucky betting promo codes for the latest offers. 

Kentucky Derby Futures Betting

Futures betting on the Kentucky Derby can be risky but it can also bring great rewards. 

Getting a bigger price is all well and good, but the further in advance of the big day you place a futures wager, the bigger the scope for something to go wrong. If your wager doesn't make the race, for whatever reason, then the bet is down.

Kentucky Derby Betting Tips

For all of Forte's prominent class, the Fountain Of Youth Stakes has only produced two winners since 1980. However, 5 of the last 7 Kentucky Derby winners ran in the Florida Derby, and Forte took home first place.

Run style is essential when assessing Kentucky Derby odds. 2022 winner Rich Strike came from off the pace but the opening quarter splits were the quickest in the race's history and the race was set up perfectly for a close.

However, nearly every other winner in the last decade has raced close to the pace and the ability to lay up handy, no matter the gate, is ultimately a crucial factor. Any horse not near the front by the home turn almost certainly has too much to do.

Top 2024 Kentucky Derby Predictions

Now that the 2023 race has passed, we'll be looking ahead to the historic 150th Kentucky Derby in 2024! Check back soon for our early predictions.

Kentucky Derby Betting Glossary

  • šŸ„‡ Win: Simple, you need to bet the winner! If your horse dead heats, your stake is halved.
  • šŸ„ˆ Place: Generally speaking, this is a top-three wager, although that drops to the top two in fields of 5-7 runners.
  • šŸ„‰ Show: A similar bet to the Place bet, your selection needs to finish third or better.
  • šŸŽÆ Exacta: One of the most popular wagers as it can often generate juicy returns. Two horses are selected and must finish first and second in the correct order.
  • šŸŽ Quinella: It's an Exacta bet with some insurance in that your two selections must finish first and second but in either order.
  • šŸ† Trifecta: A bet that can return big bucks. You must select the first three horses home, in the correct order if the favorite bombs completely, winning Trifecta wagers can often pay huge returns, especially in Triple Crown races.
  • šŸ‘‘ Superfecta: Even bigger than a Trifecta, you need to go one place better by selecting the first FOUR horses home, in the correct order. This can pay mega sums.
  • āœ‹ Super Hi-Five: A potentially life-changing bet because you must select the first FIVE horses home, in the correct order. Winnings are unlimited and a winning Super Hi-5 bet from the 2022 Kentucky Derby would have generated a near $150,000-1 payout.

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More Horse Racing Betting

The Kentucky Derby is just the start to the most exciting racing season in the United States. There are several other major horse betting markets you can join after the Kentucky Derby. But, before you pick your wagers, check out our guide to the best horse race betting apps of the year

Triple Crown Horse Racing

The Kentucky Derby winner nearly always goes on to attempt the fabled Triple Crown, which a horse achieves by winning the three biggest U.S. races. However, only 13 Kentucky Derby winners have gone on to earn a place as one of the greats of the sport. As more horses attempt this rare feat, you can follow Triple Crown odds as soon as they're released.

Preakness Stakes Horse Racing

The 2023 Preakness Stakes takes place at Pimlico Race Course in the weeks following the Kentucky Derby. No horse has won the Preakness Stakes by further than than the 11-and-a-half length success of Smarty Jones in 2004. Bob Baffert has won the race more than any other modern-day trainer but the eight-time winner hasn't got his hands on the Grade 1 prize since Justify scored en route to completing the Triple Crown in 2018. Follow Preakness Stakes odds in the lead up to 2024's race!

Belmont Stakes Horse Racing

The Belmont Stakes is the last and often the most difficult leg of the Triple Crown to win, primarily because the 1-mile, 4 furlong contest is a stiffer stamina test than both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Follow Belmont Stakes odds in the lead up to 2024's race!

Kentucky Derby Odds FAQ

Author

Gavin Beech is a writer and contributor for BetKentucky.com and has worked in the betting industry for almost 20 years. Gavin is an experienced horse racing journalist, sports betting content writer and tipster. He has worked for some of the biggest online operators around, notably MailOnline and the Racing Post, where he is a regular on the Live Tipster slot.

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