Kentucky Derby Logo

Even though the Kentucky Derby takes place at Churchill Downs in the United States it is still the most followed and most bet on horse race among Canadians.  The Kentucky Derby is the first race of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in the USA and it is the horse race that gets the most media attention in North America each year.  The Kentucky Derby has a storied history dating back to 1875 and even as horse racing has lost some popularity in present times the Kentucky Derby still captures the attention of the continent on the first Saturday of May each year.

The Derby, which is sometimes referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports” or “the race for the roses” is a 10 furlongs race for 3-year-old thoroughbred horses, and is held at Churchill Downs Racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky.  The race carries a purse of $3 million.

Click here for information on the upcoming Kentucky Derby race from the official website.

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Every sportsbook online that accepts Canadian bettors will take bets on the Kentucky Derby every year.  I’ve included links to our three recommended betting sites for wagering on the Kentucky Derby above.  It can sometimes be difficult to find the horse racing betting options at the various sites so I will briefly go over how to bet on the Derby at each of the sites below.

At Bet365 they include the horse race betting with the other sports in the traditional sportsbook.  Click on ‘horse racing’ on the sports betting page to bring up the various tracks that you can bet on.  You will find Churchill Downs under the ‘North America’ header.  Then you are free to find the Kentucky Derby and place your bets.  If you want to bet on the Derby earlier in the week you will also be able to place early bets in the ‘Ante-Post’ section. You can find this link at the top of the page.

At Sports Interaction they do have offer a traditional Racebook for horse race betting.  Once at the website you should click on ‘Racebook’ in the top navigation bar.  Next, click on ‘Churchill Downs’ from the left drop down menu.  This will bring up the races taking place at Churchill Downs, so select the Kentucky Derby and place your bets.

At you should select ‘Horses’ from the top navigation menu.  Next select ‘Churchill Downs’ from the ‘All Tracks’ drop down menu.  Click on the Kentucky Derby race and place your bets.  At Bodog you will also be able to place futures bets in the regular sportsbook by clicking on ‘Horses Futures & Props’ and ‘Kentucky Derby’.

History of the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875 and it has been run every year since.  It was actually the last of the three American Triple Crown races to be run, with the Belmont Stakes starting in 1867 and the Preakness Stakes being inaugurated in 1873.  That said the term Triple Crown wasn’t coined until 1930 when Gallant Fox won the three races and sportswriter Charles Hatton first used the term.  Even though the phrase wasn’t used until 1930 Sir Barton is still considered the first horse to have won the Triple Crown having won the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1919.

The distance began as 1.5 miles, which was the same distance as the Epsom Derby that the Kentucky Derby was being modelled after.  In 1896 the race was shortened to the current distance of 1.25 miles (10 furlongs).    At it’s current distance the fastest time ever run was set in 1973 when Secretariat ran the race in 1:59.40 seconds, breaking the record that had been held by Canadian race horse Northern Dancer since 1964.

There have been 13 horses to win the Triple Crown, with the most recent coming recently in 2018 when Justify pulled off the feat. American Pharoah also recently completed the Triple Crown, which ended a 36 year drought since Affirmed won the three races in 1978.  Between 1978 and 2015, 13 horses won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but none of those horses were able to finish off the trio with a win at the Belmont Stakes until American Pharaoh did so in 2015.  That shows just how difficult it is to follow up the Kentucky Derby win with another two big wins within a month.

For a more detailed history of the Kentucky Derby check out the official wiki page for the race..