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Betting the Kentucky Derby

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Betting the Kentucky Derby

Betting the Kentucky Derby: How to Wager and Win on America's Biggest Horse Race by Dean Keppler

DRF Press

The Bottom Line

The Kentucky Derby is the world's most overanalyzed race, with an overload of information that can be discouraging to the recreational or novice bettor. But when there's over $80 million in the pool and 20 horses in the gate, it is the one race where huge payoffs are in order. This book is completely geared for playing and handicapping America's biggest horse race and making those once-in-a-lifetime horse racing jackpots a reality. It includes easy to understand strategies that any bettor at any level of play can implement, making for a more enjoyable Derby wherever you are.
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  • Excellent tool especially for neophytes to Kentucky Derby betting strategy
  • Well-written in easy to understand language, does not get too technical
  • Chapter on exotic bet construction is useful for all races, not just Derby


  • Very specialized, only used 2 days per year (Oaks and Derby days)
  • Advanced players may find this to be too simplified for their tastes


  • Chapter 1: Big Race Days
  • Chapter 2: Using Beyer Figures to Evaluate Derby Contenders
  • Chapter 3: Churchill Downs Post Positions and Rail Bias: Myths vs. Reality
  • Chapter 4: Tomlinson Ratings and Pedigree Handicapping
  • Chapter 5: The Reliability of Pre-Derby Workouts
  • Chapter 6: Derby Preps: Paths to Glory
  • Chapter 7: Big-Day Jockeys and Trainers
  • Chapter 8: Derby Betting and the Basic Wagering Process
  • Chapter 9: Intra-Race and Multi-Race Betting
  • Chapter 10: In-The-Black Friday: the Oaks

Guide Review - Betting the Kentucky Derby

In his latest book, Betting the Kentucky Derby, DRF Press editor Dean Keppler helps the reader separate the wheat from the chaff, highlighting which betting angles are the most powerful but also, which angles are more likely to slip under the radar of the general public. Using examples from the last few runnings, Keppler shows how some horses got away at long odds when in retrospect, one or more angles actually made them logical choices. There are also negative angles, such as jockeys and trainers that are winless in the Derby after so many tries. Beyer figures, Tomlinson ratings, post positions, track bias, prep race path, workouts, and jockey-trainer combinations all help the player capitalize on what are often inefficient betting pools, not just in the Derby itself but on the undercard and also on Oaks day.

To help newcomers to the sport, Keppler takes the time to explain how the parimutuel system works, first with the straight bets and how their odds are calculated, and then the exotic bets and how to properly construct tickets rather than blindly boxing or wheeling too many horses as the amateurs may do.

The large field size naturally leads to higher payoffs, but also the fact that there are many people betting into the pool who are not handicappers, who bet on colors, lucky numbers, or jockeys alone. In the final chapter he discusses the importance of the Kentucky Oaks (giving several useful angles for that race), as well as the undercard races on both days. He points out that not just the uninformed public, but also many professional handicappers and journalists have spent countless hours focusing on the Derby that the Oaks, and the stakes-filled undercards on both days, can lead to some opportunities for a big hit.

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