Kentucky Derby Betting Guide

The Kentucky Derby is the biggest race in the U.S. It’s the World Series of horse racing and naturally attracts a large amount of media, millions of eyes, and an equal number of racebook bets. Commonly referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby draws the attraction of both casual fans and longtime bettors.  

The 146th Kentucky Derby was originally scheduled to take place on May 2, 2020. However, the coronavirus pandemic postponed the event and will now take place on Sept. 5. Below we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the 2020 Kentucky Derby. Specifically, we’ll be looking over the horses, jockeys, odds, and much more. Make sure you check out our horse racing betting guide to make the best possible bets ahead of the 2020 Kentucky Derby. 

2020 Kentucky Derby – Sept. 5 

Start Time: 7:01 pm ET 
TV Broadcast: NBC 
Online Stream:  NBC Sports 
Venue: Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky 
Distance: 1¼ miles (10 furlongs)
Track: Dirt 
Horses: 3-year-old Thoroughbreds 
Purse: $3,000,000

The Kentucky Derby is one of the three legs of the American Triple Crown and is normally the one that kicks off the sports betting action. However, due to the coronavirus situation, the event ended up being postponed earlier this year. And since racing came back to New York in June, the New York Racing Association decided to hold the Belmont Stakes on June 20. This marked the first time that the Kentucky Derby was not the first leg of the Triple Crown since the 1931 edition.

While the Belmont and Churchill Downs’ spring meets were held without any spectators, it appeared early on that there will be onlookers at Churchill Downs come September. Nevertheless, an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Kentucky forced Churchill Downs to change its position. 

NBC will televise coverage of the Kentucky Derby and undercard racing from 2:30-7:30 p.m. ET. The 146th running of the Kentucky Oaks will be televised  Sept. 4 on NBCSN from 3-6 p.m. ET The Churchill Downs track record is held by Secretariat at 1:59:40, set back in 1973.

Kentucky Derby Betting Guide 2020

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Thoroughbred Triple Crown … except for 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Run for the Roses, famously contested annually on the first Saturday in May, has shifted to the first Saturday in September.

The race is open to 3-year-olds of both sexes, though the appearances of fillies are rare. There is a points system through prep races that determine how horses become eligible for a place in the starting gate. The Kentucky Derby usually has a full field of 20 horses, the most of any race in the United States. However, this year’s field will be 18. 

2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Qualifiers

Rank Horse Points Owner Trainer Jockey Breeder Earnings
1 Tiz the Law 372 Sackatoga Stable Barclay Tagg Manny Franco Twin Creeks Farm $1,972,400
2 Authentic 200 Various Bob Baffert John Velazquez Peter E. Blum $980,000
3 Art Collector  150 Bruce Lunsford Thomas Drury, Jr. Brian Hernandez, Jr. W. Bruce Lunsford $476,461
4 Honor A.P. 140 C R K Stable John A. Shirreffs Mike Smith George Krikorian $340,000
5 Ny Traffic 110 Various Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. Paco Lopez Brian Culnan $472,820
6 King Guillermo  90 Victoria Ranch Avila Juan Carlos Samy Camacho Carhue Investments $317,050
7 Thousand Words 83 Various Bob Baffert Florent Geroux Hardacre Farm $297,000
8 Dr Post  80 St. Elias Stable Todd A. Pletcher TBD Cloyce C. Clark $331,035
9 Max Player 60 George E. Hall Steven M. Asmussen Ricardo Santana, Jr.  K&G Stables $337,500
10 Caracaro  60 Global Thoroughbred… Gustavo Delgado TBD  SF Bloodstock $205,000
11 Enforceable  43 John C. Oxley Mark E. Casse Adam Beschizza  Clearsky Farms $314,550
12 Rushie 40 Jim & Donna Daniell Michael W. McCarthy TBD Ocala Stud $108,000
13 Major Fed 38 Lloyd Madison Farms, IV Gregory D. Foley James Graham Lloyd Madison IV $179,100
14 Storm the Court 36 Various Peter Eurton Julien Leparoux  Stepping Stone Farm $1,310,451
15 Attachment Rate 35 Jim Bakke, Gerry Isbister Dale L. Romans Joe Talamo Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin $93,675
16 Sole Volante 30 Various Patrick L. Biancone Luca Panici  Flaxman Holdings Ltd. $273,510
17 Finnick the Fierce 25 Arnaldo Monge Hernandez Rey Martin Garcia Paige Jillian Blu Sky Stables $121,700
18 Winning Impression 20 West Points Thoroughbreds Dallas Stewart Joe Rocco, Jr.  WinStar Farm, LLC $54,822
19 Necker Island 14 Various Chris A. Hartman Miguel Mena StoneStreet Thoroughbred $74,808

In order to compete in the Kentucky Derby, horses will have to qualify through a series of races. The field for the Derby is restricted to 20 horses, with an additional four ‘also eligibles’ that are there to fill the field in case of a late withdrawal. 

There are three options for horses looking to qualify for the Derby. The main road consists of races in North America and a lone race in Dubai, the Japan road consists of four races in Japan and the European road offers seven European races spread throughout England, Ireland, and France. 

The top four finishers in a specific event receive points, with a higher amount of points being awarded in the major prep races. In case of a tie, earned winnings will be the decider. 

When the 2020 road to the Kentucky Derby came out, it looked similar to 2019’s version; 35 races 19 of which were for the Kentucky Derby Prep Season and 16 for the Kentucky Derby Championship Season. Ultimately a lot of these ended up being postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. To help balance things out, the Churchill Downs added more qualifying races to the series back in May, which came to be known as the Extended Series. 

2020 Kentucky Derby Horses

Post

Horse

Jockey 

Trainer

Record

Morning Line Odds

1 Finnick the Fierce Martin Garcia Rey Hernandez  9 starts | 2 wins | 1 second | 2 thirds 50-1
2 Max Player Ricardo Santana Jr. Steve Asmussen 5 starts | 2 wins | 1 second | 2 thirds 30-1
3 Enforceable  Adam Beschizza Mark Casse  10 starts | 2 wins | 2 seconds | 2 thirds 30-1
4 Storm the Court Julien Leparoux Peter Eurton 9 starts | 2 wins | 1 second | 3 thirds 50-1
5 Major Fed James Graham  Greg Foley 6 starts | 1 win | 2 seconds | 1 third 50-1
6 King Guillermo Sammy Camacho  Juan Avila 5 starts | 2 wins | 1 second | 1 third 20-1
7 Money Moves  Javier Castellano  Todd Pletcher 3 starts | 2 wins | 1 second | 0 thirds 30-1
8 South Bend  Jose Ortiz  Bill Mott 12 starts | 3 wins | 3 seconds | 2 thirds  50-1
9 Mr. Big News  Gabriel Saez  Bret Calhoun 7 starts | 2 wins | 1 second | 0 thirds  50-1
10 Thousand Words  Florent Geroux  Bob Baffert 7 starts | 4 wins | 1 second | 0 thirds 15-1
11 Necker Island  Miguel Mena  Chris Hartman 10 starts | 2 wins | 0 seconds | 3 thirds 50-1
12 Sole Volante  Luca Panici  Patrick Biancone 7 starts | 4 wins | 1 second | 1 third 30-1
13 Attachment Rate  Joe Talamo  Dale Romans 8 starts | 1 win | 3 seconds | 1 third 50-1
14 Winning Impression  Joe Rocco Jr.  Dallas Stewart 9 starts | 1 win | 1 second | 2 thirds 50-1
15 Ny Traffic  Paco Lopez  Saffie Joseph Jr. 9 starts | 2 wins | 3 seconds | 2 thirds 20-1
16 Honor A P Mike Smith  John Shirreffs 5 starts | 2 wins | 3 seconds | 0 thirds 5-1
17 Tiz the Law  Manny Franco Barclay Tagg 7 starts | 6 wins | 0 seconds | 1 third 3-5 
18 Authentic  John Velazquez  Bob Baffert 5 starts | 4 wins | 1 second | 0 thirds 8-1

Check out our article detailing Kentucky Derby post position and initial reactions.

2020 Kentucky Derby Betting Favorite

Tiz the Law

Tiz the Law 2020 Kentucky Derby Betting Favorite
Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP

Tiz the Law has already won the Belmont Stakes, which was contested at 11⁄8 miles in June rather than the usual 11⁄2 miles. The distance was altered because the race schedule had to be changed when the coronavirus pandemic impacted the road to the Kentucky Derby with many races either postponed or canceled.

If Tiz the Law, a New York-bred, is able to win the Kentucky Derby, he would then be in position to win the Triple Crown in the Preakness Stakes.

That race is usually held two weeks after the Derby as the middle jewel. However, in 2020, it will be the final leg of the famed series. The race, held at Pimlico in Maryland, is scheduled for Oct. 3 at 1 3/16 miles.

There have been 13 horses to have won the Triple Crown. They are: 

  • Sir Barton (1919)
  • Gallant Fox (1930)
  • Omaha (1935)
  • War Admiral (1937)
  • Whirlaway (1941)
  • Count Fleet (1943)
  • Assault (1946)
  • Citation (1948)
  • Secretariat (1973)
  • Seattle Slew (1977)
  • Affirmed (1978)
  • American Pharoah (2015)
  • Justify (2018)

As of 2018, American Pharoah and Justify are the only living Triple Crown winners. Secretariat holds the stakes record time for each of the three races.

2020 Kentucky Derby Contenders

Honor A P 

Son of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic 3rd place finisher Honor Code. However, his dam, Hollywood Story, has a more impressive history which includes 4-years of Breeders’ Cup appearances. Notwithstanding that family, some racebook bettors are writing off Honor A P due to a runner-up finish in the ungraded Shared Belief, a race in which he was heavily favored. Coupled with the fact that his pedigree doesn’t translate well into mile and a quarter, since both his sire and dam were really only effective up to 1 1/8 miles.

All in all, Honor A P has a long stride that could suggest the distance will be within his abilities. Tiz the Law undoubtedly has more natural raw ability and the same might apply to Art Collector as well. Nevertheless, Honor A P has plenty of speed and could be poised for a breakout performance at the Derby. And since other bettors are writing him off, there could be a ton of value on this prediction come race day.

Authentic

Authentic is the progeny of Intro Mischief and has been trained under the high-profile watch of Bob Baffert. In addition, Authentic has the powerful ownership group of Spendthrift Farm, Starlight Racing, MyRaceHorse Stable, and Madaket Stables behind him. These seasoned connections know how to campaign a horse for certain, but some sports betting fans have called into question their ability to compete against the very best in horse racing. And since Authentic is set to compete in the Derby, they’re ultimately questioning how he’ll measure up at Churchill Downs.

So why is Authentic so far down on this contenders list despite being No. 2 on the Kentucky Derby points leaderboard? He has but one loss from five career starts – a second-place finish to Honor A. P. at the Santa Anita Derby. Simply put, punters are undervaluing Authentic due to his lackluster pedigree. But should that be enough to keep you from backing Authentic at Churchill Downs?

Considering the couple of Hall of Famers in his corner; Baffert and jockey John Velazquez, we’re going to go ahead and say that you shouldn’t write Authentic off. Below you can find the 2020 Kentucky Derby futures odds. 

Kentucky Derby 2020 Futures Odds

Horse Odds to Win Kentucky Derby
Finnick The Fierce +5000
Max Player +2500
Enforceable +2800
Storm The Court +4500
Major Fed +4000
King Guillermo +1800
Money Moves +3000
South Bend +4600
Mr Big News +4500
Thousand Words +1400
Necker Island +5000
Sole Volante +2800
Attachment Rate +5000
Winning Impression +5000
Ny Traffic +1800
Honor A P +450
Tiz the Law -200
Authentic +750

These odds allow you to pick the winner ahead of the race and are different than the racebook odds that will be posted for the race. As can be seen, Tiz the Law is a heavy favorite over the rest of the field. Most racebook experts from across the web are predicting Tiz the Law to win, Honor A P to place and Art Collector to show. Judging from the above-listed odds, the bookmakers are expecting a similar turnout to this year’s Kentucky Derby action.

2020 Kentucky Derby Longshots

Major Fed

We saw Major Fed run from the middle of the pack position earlier this year. At the Risen Star Stakes (G2), he battled a wide trip to finish second. Similarly, Major Fed pushed from 14th up to finish a closing fourth at the Louisiana Derby. At the Indiana Derby, he pushed from 9th to finish 2nd behind Shared Sense. With this in mind, punters looking to back a late-race bomber should consider Major Fed ahead of the 2020 Kentucky Derby. 

Attachment Rate

Attachment Rate delivered some eye-raising finishes earlier in 2020. This includes a 3rd place finish in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and a second-place finish in the Unbridled Stakes at Gulfstream Park. However, we saw him struggle to compete with the likes of Maxfield, Ny Traffic, and Pneumatic at Matt Win Stakes.

Kentucky Derby History (Biggest Upsets)

The history of the Kentucky Derby is littered with tales of triumphant favorites. However, there have been a number of longshots to have come up big at the Run for the Roses. Below we’ll be outlining the biggest upsets to happen at the Kentucky Derby, judging from the odds those longshots were facing.

Donerail

Facing 91-1 odds, Donerail is unequivocally the biggest longshot to win the Kentucky Derby. Because the odds aren’t as steep in today’s racing world, that record is likely to stand the test of time. Donerail accomplished this victory back in 1913 so it’s already withstood a 100-year test. 

Country House 

Of course, Country House’s victory came off of Maximum Security’s disqualification at the 145th running of the Derby – the first winner to be disqualified in racing history. Nevertheless, despite the controversy, Country House was still named winner of the Run for the Roses. And since he was facing 65-1 odds, he managed to land himself on this list. Ultimately winning bets on Country House paid $132.40 so there was no way he was getting left out here. 

Mine That Bird

Mine That Bird’s performance might be the most impressive on this list. Through much of the race Mine That Bird trailed behind and ended up in last as they neared the top of the stretch. Notwithstanding, Calvin Borel asked Mine That Bird to go and it resulted in the biggest Derby win in more than 60-years. Watch the thrilling finish that resulted in a 6¾-length victory below. Mine That Bird was facing 50-1 odds. 

Giacomo 

Like Mine That Bird, Giacomo was also facing 50-1 odds. But one thing that does set them apart is the fact that Giacomo denied a Triple Crown bid with his victory. Afleet Alex had won the Preakness and Belmont in 2005 but ended up finishing third in this race. 

Gallahadion 

Although Gallahadion’s 35-1 odds aren’t as steep as the others on this list, Bimelech (the 1940 favorite to win the Kentucky Derby) was a bigger odds-on favorite than any of the other ones that could’ve been on this list. At 2-5 odds, bookies were convinced Bimelech had this one in the bag.

Kentucky Derby FAQs

Will there be a Kentucky Derby in 2020?

The Kentucky Derby is normally held on the first Saturday in May. However, the pandemic forced the event to be postponed. It will now be held on Saturday September 5th, 2020.

Who are the contenders for the 2020 Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby will sport a field of 19 with Tiz the Law being pegged as the betting favorite. Scroll up to check out the complete field for this year’s run for the roses.

Will there be fans at the Kentucky Derby?

The 2020 Kentucky Derby will have no fans in attendance. Early on there were plans in place to have a limited amount of fans in attendance. Ultimately those plans were scrapped due to coronavirus concerns.

What is post time for the 2020 Kentucky Derby?

Post time for the 2020 Kentucky Derby is set for approximately 7:01 pm ET. NBC will have the coverage.

How to Watch 2020 Kentucky Derby?

You can watch the coverage of the 2020 Kentucky Derby on NBC and NBCSports.com as well. Additionally, you can catch the coverage on the NBC Sports App.

How to bet on 2020 Kentucky Derby?

To bet on the 2020 Kentucky Derby you must first sign up by creating an account with BetUS. After making an initial deposit and enjoying one of our lucrative sign up bonuses, you can then proceed to bet on the racebook action. You can also place action on the Kentucky Derby futures odds.