2024 Kentucky Derby Betting in Michigan

Although there are a number of exciting events on the horse racing calendar throughout the year, The Kentucky Derby attracts attention like no other. Every year, the betting volume for the “Run for the Roses” is through the roof.

For diehard racing fans, it’s the biggest highlight of the season. Even those who don’t pay much attention to horse racing get involved, as Derby Day is the sport’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.

We’ll detail how to bet on the Kentucky Derby, with information for bettors across the whole racing spectrum from newbies all the way up to experienced handicappers. We’ll cover in full detail the best bets you can make and how the horses make the cut and qualify for the biggest racing event of the year.

We’ll also cover the best racing sites to bet online or via a mobile Michigan betting app, and run through the contenders and odds for this year’s Derby. Let’s kick things off by taking a look at the best ways for you to get in on the action.

Where to bet on the Kentucky Derby in Michigan

When it’s time to get your bets in on the Kentucky Derby, your primary option is to place your wagers via mobile or online betting. The good news is that Kentucky Derby betting online or via your mobile device are hands-down the most convenient options.

FanDuel Racing is available for Kentucky Derby bettors in Michigan. It’s connected to your FanDuel Sportsbook app, both with your login information and wallet. Check below for a special $20 No Sweat Bet offer for the Derby.

Until recently, you could also make bets at Michigan’s one operating race track, Northville Downs, but the track closed earlier in 2024.

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Kentucky Derby bet types explained

When betting on the Kentucky Derby, you can simply pick on the winner and move on to enjoy the race. However, there’s a lot more to see on the horse wagering menu. Let’s start with the basics.

  • Win: This is a bet on a horse to win the race.
  • Place: A bet on a horse to finish in second or better.
  • Show: A wager on a horse to finish in third or better.

These are the simplest wagers to understand. You can place any of these bets for as little as $1 at some tracks, but others require a minimum of $2. If your selection proves to be correct, then your ticket will be graded a winner.

Payouts will vary, based on the odds for the winning horse and the amount in the wagering pool. At online operators such as FanDuel, you can get a peek at the amount of win, place and show money that has been placed on each of the horses before the race goes off.

You can also combine these wagers onto a single slip, such as picking a horse to win/place/show or one to place/show. The bet amount will rise based on what you select, but it’s a good option for enhanced returns on a horse you are confident about.

Next, let’s take a look at a group of wagers known as exotics.

  • Exacta or quinella: A bet on the top two finishers.
  • Trifecta: A wager on the top three runners.
  • Superfecta: Pick the top four finishers in the race.
  • Super high five: Pick the top five finishers in a row.

Exotic bets aren’t easy to hit, but they can provide some serious bang for the buck. They’re quite popular, as a result, and the bets can be placed for nominal amounts for straight selections. If you box your choices, then the cost of the ticket rises accordingly.

To demonstrate the potential, here’s what the returns looked like for some of these bets at the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

  • $2 Exacta: $3,009.60
  • $1 Trifecta: $11,745.30
  • $1 Superfecta: $51,400.10

Those returns are phenomenal, but there are two important points to keep in mind. First, the race was won by longshot Country House. Second, the Derby attracts a ton of betting action, so the pools are much larger than they would have been for an average race.

Last but not least, remember that there’s a lot more to Derby Day than just the main event. There will be lots of other races on the card, so you can expand your horizons and use all of the above bet types for them, as well.

Additionally, there are bets you can place on the winners of multiple races in a row, ranging from the Pick 3 to the Pick 6. Once again, these bets are hard to hit, but they can provide awesome returns on really small wager amounts.

Odds for the 2024 Kentucky Derby

The 2024 Kentucky Derby was run on Saturday, May 4. A week prior the post position draw took place to determine where the horses started from and what their opening odds were, aka the “morning line odds.” Here’s how that draw went:

Post PositionHorseMorning Line Odds
2Sierra Leone3-1
3Mystik Dan20-1
4Catching Freedom8-1
6Just Steel20-1
7Honor Marie20-1
8Just A Touch10-1
10T O Password30-1
11Forever Young10-1
12Track Phantom20-1
13West Saratoga50-1
15Domestic Product30-1
16Grand Mo The First50-1
20Society Man50-1
21Epic Ride50-1
Mugatu (Alternate)

Before the race took place, advance deposit wagering was opened up which immediately affected those odds. For more about how horse betting odds change, see the below section “Kentucky Derby betting: A case study.”

Relative long shot Mystik Dan ended up winning the race. Mystik Dan’s odds had changed slightly by post time, coming down to 18-to-1. That meant those who bet $2 on Mystik Dan to win earned a nice return of $39.22.

Record-setting wins at the Kentucky Derby

History is made at every edition of the Kentucky Derby, but some of the races have just been more special than others. We’ve seen a number of memorable performances through the years, including some of the record-breaking variety.

  • Speed record at current length: 1 minute, 59.40 seconds (Secretariat, 1973)
  • Largest margin of victory: Eight lengths (four times, most recently by Assault in 1946)
  • Biggest longshot: Donerail (91-1 in 1913)
  • Most wins by an owner: Calumet Farm (eight, last in 1968)
  • Trainer with most victories: Ben Jones (six, last in 1952) and Bob Baffert (six, last in 2020)
  • Jockey with most wins: Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack (tied with five)

The Kentucky Derby is traditionally the first leg of the Triple Crown, which includes the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. To date, just 13 horses have managed to win all three. Here’s the list of winners with the winning time they recorded at the Derby.

  • 2018: Justify, 2:04:20
  • 2015: American Pharoah, 2:03:02
  • 1978: Affirmed, 2:01:12
  • 1977: Seattle Slew, 2:02:20
  • 1973: Secretariat, 1:59:40
  • 1948: Citation, 2:05:40
  • 1946: Assault, 2:06:60
  • 1943: Count Fleet, 2:04:00
  • 1941: Whirlaway, 2:01:40
  • 1937: War Admiral, 2:03:20
  • 1935: Omaha, 2:05:00
  • 1930: Gallant Fox, 2:07:60
  • 1919: Sir Barton, 2:09:80

In recent years, we have seen a number of interesting developments. Included on that list is the 2018 win for Justify, whose Triple Crown season becomes even more historic when you consider that he never raced as a 2-year-old.

The following year was one for the record books as well, but for vastly different reasons. We’ll go through the lowdown on what went down later on.

How do horses qualify for the Kentucky Derby? 

The horses in the field for the Kentucky Derby are at the head of the class for the racing season. These are the best 2- and 3-year-olds in the nation, and they all will have proved that on what’s known as the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

This is a qualifier that goes through two phases, and the horses earn points based on how well they perform. The points are awarded on a sliding scale to the top four finishers, and the amounts increase as the process moves along.

For example, the top finisher in the first series of races will earn 10 points, while the amount increases to 50 for a first-place effort later on. By the time we get to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, the number doubles.

This series of races has come to be known as the Super Six, and the top finisher gets a whopping 100 points to add to the running tally. For those who regularly follow horse racing, these are some of the best events of the year.

Here are the six biggest qualifying events on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, along with the track where the event is held and purse amount:

Arkansas DerbyOaklawn Park$1 million
Blue Grass StakesKeeneland$1 million
Florida DerbyGulfstream Park$1 million
Louisiana DerbyFair Grounds$1 million
Santa Anita DerbySanta Anita Park$400,000
Wood Memorial StakesAqueduct$750,000

As you would expect, the horses that knock it out of the park in these races move on to become favorites for the Kentucky Derby and the Triple Crown season as a whole. When it’s time to break down this year’s Derby, be sure to examine how the entrants have finished in previous races, especially the bigger ones.

What is the Kentucky Oaks?

As mentioned earlier, there’s a lot more to Derby Day than just the big race. The same applies to the rest of the weekend at Churchill Downs. It’s quite the event to experience in person, and it certainly deserves a spot on the sports bucket list.

On the Friday before the Derby, the biggest highlight of another packed day of racing action is the Kentucky Oaks. This is a Grade 1 stakes race with a purse of $1.25 million and an eye-popping first-place prize of $750,000.

The race is contested over 1-1/8 miles with a field consisting of 3-year-old fillies. For fillies, this is one of the signature races of the season, and it also attracts plenty of action at the betting window.

The Oaks can be a great way to get in some last-minute prep for the Derby, as it affords another chance to break down a high-stakes race. Here’s a look back at the last decade of winners and their winning times.

  • 2022: Secret Oath, 1:49.44
  • 2021: Malathaat, 1:48:99
  • 2020: Shedaresthedevil, 1:48.28
  • 2019: Serengeti Express, 1:50:17
  • 2018: Monomoy Girl, 1:49:13
  • 2017: Abel Tasman, 1:51:62
  • 2016: Cathryn Sophia, 1:50:53
  • 2015: Lovely Maria, 1:50:45
  • 2014: Untapable, 1:48:68
  • 2013: Princess of Sylmar, 1:49:17

For the 2020 edition, here’s what the payouts looked like for the top three finishers and some of the exotic bets on the race.

  • 1 – Shedaresthedevil, Win — $32.20, Place — $8.40, Show — $3.80
  • 2 – Swiss Skydiver, P — $3.80, S — $2.60
  • 3 – Gamine, S — $2.40
  • $2 Exacta — $118.80
  • $1 Trifecta — $116.80
  • $1 Superfecta — $297.30

Kentucky Derby betting history

The history of the Kentucky Derby goes all the way back to 1875. A horse by the name of Aristides won the inaugural race, which was contested over 1-1/2 miles in a time of 2:37:75. The Derby remained at that length for several years before switching to 1-1/4 miles in 1896.

It’s still contested at that length to this day. The legendary Secretariat set the speed record with a time of 1:59:40 in his record-setting 1973 campaign.

For some perspective on the evolution of Kentucky Derby betting, consider the betting handle for the entirety of Derby day back in 1985, which checked in at $26.8 million. By 1998, it was up to $88.9 million. For the 2019 edition, the all-sources handle was a staggering $250.9 million.

On the Derby alone, $165.5 million was bet on the race, besting the previous record from just one year prior by 10%. The Kentucky Derby is a special sporting event — and one that attracts bettors in droves, to boot.

Kentucky Derby betting: A case study

There is often a good deal of movement in Kentucky Derby betting numbers once the money starts flowing in. Here’s a look back at how the field and odds shook out in 2019.

Post #HorseMorning LineFinal OddsFinish
1War of Will20-116-17
3By My Standards20-118-111
4Gray Magician50-133-119
7Maximum Security10-13-117-DQ
9Plus Que Parfait30-156-18
10Cutting Humor30-123-110
12Omaha Beach4-1NAScratched
13Code of Honor15-113-12
14Win Win Win15-116-19
15Master Fencer50-158-16
16Game Winner5-16-15
18Long Range Toddy30-154-116
20Country House30-164-11

Improbable, Maximum Security, Tacitus, and Game Winner were the clear favorites when the race took off, but it was Country House with the win after a stunning turn of events. Here were the payouts for the top three finishers.

HorseWin payoutPlace payoutShow payout
Country House$132.40$56.60$24.60
Code of Honor-$15.20$9.80

When the race was over, it looked like Maximum Security had won a thrilling race in front of a jam-packed crowd of more than 150,000. However, objections were filed by jockeys for two of the other runners almost immediately.

After a rather unprecedented and lengthy review, Maximum Security was shockingly disqualified over the objections. The horse had made contact with another entrant and interfered with two others prior to the stretch run.

The rulebook states that if a horse veers off course in a way that affects another entrant, then that activity can be grounds for disqualification. The team behind Maximum Security was stunned, as was just about everyone else, as this was the first disqualification for an infraction on the course in Derby history that affected the top spot.

When all of the dust had settled, Country House was declared the winner, followed by Code of Honor and Tacitus. The Derby is always a history-making event, but the 2019 edition was really one for the record books.

Kentucky Derby FAQ

The 2025 edition of the Run for the Roses will take place on Saturday, May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

The field size for the race has been capped at 20 horses since 1975. The year prior to that, 23 horses faced off to decide the Kentucky Derby. Although that’s the maximum number, that doesn’t mean there will always be 20 starters. For example, there were two scratches in 2019 and one also eligible that joined the field, so the race went off with 19 horses.

For the 2024 Run for the Roses, the purse size was $5 million, a record high for the Kentucky Derby. The top five finishers were paid out when all was said and done. Here’s what the breakdown of prize money for the top five finishers looked like:

  • 1st: $3,160,000
  • 2nd: $1,000,000
  • 3rd: $500,000
  • 4th: $250,000
  • 5th: $150,000

Yes, but it has only happened three times, with the last one coming more than three decades ago. Here are the three fillies who have won the Derby, along with their winning times.

  • 1988: Winning Colors, 2:02:20
  • 1980: Genuine Risk, 2:02:00
  • 1915: Regret, 2:05:40

Races for fillies are no longer included on the Road to the Derby, thereby making it impossible for one to qualify. However, Derby weekend also hosts one of the signature events on the filly circuit in the Kentucky Oaks, which is held the Friday prior to the big race.

The Derby record at its current length of 1-1/4 miles was set more than four decades ago. In 1973, the legendary Secretariat pulled away for victory with a final time of 1:59:40. Just one other runner has broken the two-minute mark at the Derby. That was Monarchos back in 2001, with a time of 1:59:97. Northern Dancer is third on the all-time list with a time of 2 minutes flat. In the early days of the event, the race was contested over 1-1/2 miles. Spokane holds the record at that length, with a winning time of 2:35:50 in 1889.

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