The Kentucky Derby is upon us, May 6th to be exact. And that means it's time to put some of that hard earned money on the line, and bet on some horses. If you're going to the race, congrats. That's a hot ticket! If not, gather your friends, throw a party, meet at the bar, whatever. It's a guaranteed-to-be-fun day! Bet some money, have a reason to day drink (think Mint Juleps and Whiskey Sours), and throw on some fancy digs (ribbon belts, yes!). Because this is what you do on derby day. Shouldn't be a problem embracing that now, should it?
But it's horse racing, and if you're going to truly embrace it, you have to get some money on the line. If at the race, traditional betting will be your thing. If watching from afar, there are plenty of websites that will invitingly take your cash (yes you can legally bet on horse racing through the internet in the United States). These sites also provide a lot of non-traditional reasons to get your bucks on the table. For now though, lets keep it traditional. Although, we highly recommend you have some side bets going with your friends-- just to keep things interesting.
When it comes to betting, there are three pretty basic bets you can make:
1) Overall Winner ("Win" wager): Self explanatory
2) First or Second Place ("Place" wager): You're betting that your horse places either 1st or 2nd
3) Top Three ("Show" wager): You're betting that your horse finishes in the top three
Need a little more stimulation than that? Try the following:
The Exacta: You pick first and second place. In order!
The Trifecta: You pick first, second, and third place. In order! Or you can "box" your trifecta, at which point you pick the top 3 finishers, but they don't have to be in order.
But keep it simple. Learn the ropes, and focus your attention on the Long Island Ice Tees. Then kick back and enjoy watching the race.
Tips for picking a winning horse: 1) Bet on a horse that already has experience winning on the biggest stages. A horse that is coming off a few recent wins, and that is on a quest to keep the streak alive. 2) Don't bet on a horse that is fast out of the gate. They have a tendency to tire. Many winning horses come from behind to win. 3) Lots of folks bet on the jockey and trainers. Forget this. Most are overrated. You're better off betting on the lesser known teams.
Our best advice is to just have fun with it. Do a little research, keep an eye on what's happening in the hours/days leading up to the race, look the part, talk some smack, and get yourself ready to have a heckuva a good time participating in the most exciting 2 minutes in sports.