It’s been known as the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” as well as the “Run for the Roses”, but whatever you want to call it, the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is the longest, most exciting continuously running sporting event in America.
The Derby is the first jewel of the Triple Crown, which includes the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes, and is ran the first Saturday of every May. For over 125 years America’s finest 3-year old thoroughbreds assemble at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky for a chance to ink their name in the annals of horse racing history.
So how do you get in on some of the world’s most famous horse racing excitement?
Wagering is a sure fire way to catapult yourself into the action. Whether you’re an experienced bettor or a newbie, there are some things you will want to consider when placing your bets.
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There are a fair amount of early contenders lists already posted for this year’s 136th Running of the Derby, but there will be lots of changes between now and when post positions are announced on Wednesday, April 28th. You’ll want to keep up with all the happenings right up until post time.
Date: Saturday May 1st, 2010
Post Time: 6:15 PM (EST)
TV Network: NBC, 5:00PM (EST)
You’ll want to start by getting familiar with the track and the horses that will be scheduled to run.
Churchill Downs was built in 1875 and has the ability to hold more 48,000 fans. The one-mile track is a mix of, sand, silt, and clay and it is approximately 80 feet wide. This is important as some horse perform better on different tracks surfaces such as synthetic and turf. Inclement weather on race day may also affect a horse’s ability, as a dirt track can turn into mud; some horses will fare well on it, while others will not. You’ll need to research a horse’s prior race history to see how he performs.
Since the horses and jockeys are an all-star lineup, the field should be evenly matched with a lot of solid contenders. Even if there is a clear-cut favorite, selecting a winner can still be an arduous task.
When looking at the horses you need to ask some basic questions. How well does the horse finish — was he running strongly at the end of the race or looking leg weary down the stretch? At 1-¼ miles, the Derby is longer than any of the prep races for it, and a horse must finish strongly to win it. Also important is the company they keep. Always look who he beat when assessing the quality of a horse’s prep race. Finally, there is running style. Horses with good tactical speed and the ability to stalk tend to do better than horses that charge to the front early or come from behind late in the race. This usually has a lot to with the horse’s pedigree. Some run well at short distances, while others thrive at longer distances.
Although trainer experience, morning workouts and postposition can all factor into where the horse may finish on D-Day, jockey experience may be the single most important element and most commonly overlooked. The media glare during Derby Week is overwhelming, and the large field gives ample opportunity for an inexperienced rider to compromise his horse’s chances. An experienced jockey who has been to the Derby before is less likely to fold under pressure.
Finally, here’s an insider tip. Even the best professional sports betting handicappers have miserable track records when it comes to selecting Derby winners over the years. So have fun with your pick, go with your gut, and be sure to get your bets in early.
Personally, I usually consider half the horses in the field to be potential winners. Given the many open questions and potential for traffic jams, I will bet five horses in various combination’s and hope for the best.
Good Luck with your Kentucky Derby betting!