The Kentucky Derby is one of the most famous horse races in North America, and for good reason. It’s named after the state of Kentucky, after all. Every year, the city of Louisville hosts a huge street party in the run-up to the derby, and all around the city there are plenty of pubs, clubs, and restaurants where people can get in the spirit of things. The air fills with the excited chatter of bettors trying to make sense of the sometimes complicated world of horse racing. You might find yourself struggling to understand your betting slip, and that’s what you’ll find we’re going to help you with here. We’ll try to demystify this whole betting thing so you can understand your ticket and what each number means. Let’s get started.
What Is A Betting Slip?
A Kentucky Derby betting slip is your ticket to the big race. It’s what you’ll use to place a wager on one of the many horse races that take place annually at Churchill Downs in Louisville. You can find a slip for just about any sport they run there, but the most popular ones are the Derby and the Preakness, the two biggest horse races in the U.S. If you’re not familiar, the Preakness is the earlier and smaller of the two races. It’s kind of like the Derby, but on a smaller scale. The Preakness is often referred to as “The Second Derby” due to its popularity and the fact that it’s the second-largest event of the year after the Derby. The name “Preakness” comes from the days when tickets for the race were given out in advance: “Pre” means “before” in Latin, and “Akness” comes from the early 19th century. So, essentially, a betting slip is like a T-shirt for grown-ups: it’s the ticket that you wear in public that proclaims your allegiance to a particular sport or team. It might not seem like a big deal, but in the world of horse racing, a betting slip can have various meanings:
Tracking Your Pace
One of the first things you’ll want to do if you find yourself struggling with your betting slip is to look up the horse’s name and jockey in the running entry. You can do this by clicking here. If you don’t know what a jockey’s name is, it’s probably best not to bet on that horse; they might be the wrong side of the bargain after all. Jockeys are the people who ride the horses in races; they usually compete on behalf of the owners of the horses, but they’re professionally trained to help the animals run faster and stay healthy. The last thing any owner wants is for their jockey to get hurt, so they usually put their trust in them. You can learn more about jockeys here. Now that you have the basics of the betting slip down, it’s time to take a look at the numbers:
Betting On The Number
When you place a wager on a horse, you’ll need to specify the amount you’re willing to wager on the outcome of the race. For the Kentucky Derby, this will be set by the person you’re betting with, and it will be represented by a number. This number can range from 0 to 100, with the majority of bets being placed around 20; this is known as a “lay” or “laydown” wager. The closer this number is to 100, the more likely you are to make a profit. Remember: this is all just an estimate, so take what you can get.
For example, let’s say you’re throwing down a $10 wager. You’ll see a horse named Lucky Debonair, and the ticket says he’s running at 7:00 p.m. According to your betting slip, you’re asking the bookmaker to give you seven chances to win $10. This is also known as a “natural” wager, as opposed to a “fixed” wager, which is when you make a wager on a horse and the bookmaker fixes the odds. In this case, since you didn’t have any previous dealings with the bookmaker, you can assume this is a fair game and that your chances of winning are equal. Finally, you might see “minus” next to the number if the bookmaker is assuming you’ll lose the bet. This is because they expect the opposite; this way, their advantage is not revealed, and they can keep the edge of the odds. In general, the closer this number is to 0, the more likely you are to lose your money. As a rule of thumb, never risk more than 5% of your total bankroll on a single wager.
These numbers can get pretty confusing, so to help you make sense of them, the bookmaker will also include an “exposed” number; this is how much they think you know about the horse. If you check this number frequently, you’ll see how much they think you understand about horse racing. If, however, this number is rarely or never exposed, then they assume you’re an idiot who doesn’t know the first thing about racing. When this number is close to 0, this is referred to as a “lay” or “laydown” wager; when it’s farther away from 0, then this is a “tried and tested” wager, and when it gets to 100, this is a “stud” or “studs” wager. Now that you understand the basics of betting and how to read a betting slip, it’s time to take a look at some of the more complex strategies.
Understanding Exotic And Overcast Weather Conditions
Sometimes, the weather in Louisville can be pretty weird. Aside from the fact that it rains a lot, sometimes out of season, it sometimes drizzles and snows, which is pretty unusual for the area. As a general rule, however, if you see a horse in the Derby dressed up in a raincoat or a snowsuit, don’t bother betting on that horse; the odds are usually a little higher than normal because of the inclement weather. If you see a horse in a drizzle, there’s also less of a chance of winning because the track is more slippery due to the rain. These kinds of conditions make the horses run slower, and since this is a lot more difficult to assess how the horse is going to perform, the bookmaker usually sets the odds a little higher than normal. Sometimes, you might even see a horse win the Derby even when it was raining heavily outside or the track was covered in mush: these are the types of strange odds you might encounter if the weather is exceptionally odd. As for the snow, well, that makes the whole track completely unreadable, so the bookmaker might not even bother setting the odds for the race.
Using Form To Guide Your Selection
Sometimes, you might see a horse that clearly has an advantage. Let’s say you see a horse that hasn’t finished in the top two in the previous three Derbies and you believe, based on his performance in the previous races, that he’s going to come in first this year. In these types of situations, you can use the form guide to help you select your horse: if you look at the table of contents on the right side of the page, you’ll see the form guide compiled by The Stable Times for the Derby and Preakness; you can click here to see the table of contents for their Preakness guide. Looking at each section of the form, you will see which horses are favored in that race, and you can probably select an advantage horse in that particular section.
Sometimes, you might see a horse that clearly has an advantage and yet doesn’t appear in the form guide. Let’s say you see a horse named Country Life that you believe has the potential to win based on his performance in the past three Derbies, but you don’t see him listed in the form guide. In this case, you can just look at the section of the form guide that covers Country Life and see whether or not he’s in there. In some instances, a horse might not even be in the form guide yet, so if you want to wager on that horse, you might have to wait until after the guide is released before you know for sure if he’ll race.