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Fri 03/05/2024 - 01:47 EDT

Kentucky Derby 2024: Honor Marie is the best bet

The 2024 Kentucky Derby is coming up on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is the most iconic American horse race and also one of the most important betting horse races of the year. The field of 20 is bigger than any other American race, and the spoils of this 1 ¼-mile race are rich: a $5 million purse, an iconic blanket of roses, and a place in horse racing history.

Given the huge field, the payouts on Kentucky Derby betting are always massive. Read on to find out the best horses to bet, as well as the best places to bet Kentucky Derby horses online!

2024 Kentucky Derby Betting Online

Before you pick a single horse, it is time to choose the best place to bet the Kentucky Derby online! Betting online is the best way to play: not only can you play from anywhere with an internet connection, but online racebooks also offer fixed odds on major races, meaning you can lock in the best Kentucky Derby odds simply by placing a bet.

There are many options for betting the Kentucky Derby online, but our online racebook reviews are here to help you make the fastest and best decision. Every racebook we recommend offers market-leading odds, great user interfaces, and trusted payouts. Each racebook also offers deposit bonuses, sign-up bonuses, and horse racing rebates that help you build your bankroll faster than ever!

RankBonusReviewLink to site

Kentucky Derby Horses

This is the official field for the 2024 Kentucky Derby including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines.:

  1. Dornoch (Danny Gargan/Luis Saez) - 20/1
  2. Sierra Leone (Chad Brown/Tyler Gaffalione) - 3/1
  3. Mystik Dan (Kenny McPeek/Brian Hernandez, Jr.) - 20/1
  4. Catching Freedom (Brad Cox/Flavien Prat) - 8/1
  5. Catalytic (Saffie Joseph, Jr./Jose Ortiz) - 30/1
  6. Just Steel (D. Wayne Lukas/Keith Asmussen) - 20/1
  7. Honor Marie (Whit Beckman/Ben Curtis) - 20/1
  8. Just a Touch (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux) - 10/1
  9. Encino (Brad Cox/Axel Concepcion) - 20/1
  10. T O Password (Daisuke Takayanagi/Kazushi Kimura) - 30/1
  11. Forever Young (Yoshito Yahagi/Ryusei Sakei) - 10/1
  12. Track Phantom (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario) - 20-1
  13. West Saratoga (Larry Demeritte/Jesus Castanon) - 50/1
  14. Endlessly (Michael McCarthy/Umberto Rispoli) - 30/1
  15. Domestic Product (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz) - 30/1
  16. Grand Mo the First (Victor Barboza, Jr./Emisael Jaramillo) - 50/1
  17. Fierceness (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez) - 5/2
  18. Stronghold (Phil D'Amato/Antonio Fresu) - 20/1
  19. Resilience (Bill Mott/Junior Alvarado) - 20/1
  20. Society Man (Danny Gargan/Frankie Dettori) - 50/1
  21. Epic Ride (John Ennis/Adam Beschizza) - ALSO ELIGIBLE
  22. Mugatu (Jeff Engler/Joe Talamo) - ALSO ELIGIBLE

Epic Ride and Mugatu will only draw in, in that order of priority, if horses scratch from the main field before 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, when Kentucky Derby betting begins.

Remember that the morning line is only the track’s estimate of odds on each horse. They can be helpful in evaluating which horses are expected to take money, but they are not guaranteed prices -- on track, odds are not final until the race starts.

Your best bet is to play the Kentucky Derby online, since online sportsbooks offer fixed-odds wagering on the biggest races, like the Kentucky Derby. That means, by betting online, you can lock in your price the moment you bet!

These are the Kentucky Derby betting odds at the best online sportsbooks:

Sierra Leone+400+330+250
Forever Young+850+1000+550
Just a Touch+1100+1200+1400
Honor Marie+1600+2000+2000

Kentucky Derby Handicapping

Now that you know where to bet the race, it’s time to meet the horses and start handicapping the Kentucky Derby! From solid favorites to live long shots, these are the horses to focus on when choosing your bets.

Kentucky Derby Best Bet

The best bet in the Kentucky Derby is Honor Marie. Second in the Louisiana Derby (G2), he showed good improvement in that race from his previous effort and should step up another level in his third start off the lay. After all, it was the third start of his juvenile campaign when he found his best -- in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. A strong local work leading into the Run for the Roses suggests he is finding his Churchill form again.

Honor Marie To win the Kentucky Derby

The pace setup is also perfect for Honor Marie. With speedy Dornoch on the rail, Track Phantom adding blinkers, and Fierceness pressing outside, the pace will be hot for him to close into. And, being by Honor Code out of Dame Marie -- a classy Smart Strike half to a Group 1 winner at 1 ¾ miles -- the mile and a quarter of the Kentucky Derby should be just his style.

Deserving Kentucky Derby Market Leaders

Among the top of the market, Sierra Leone and Catching Freedom look like they could be the goods, while Fierceness and Forever Young are the horses to bet against.

Sierra Leone and Catching Freedom both get a strong pace setup for their closing styles. Sierra Leone drew a bit of a thorny inside post, but it should affect him less than most since he can settle back, and his towering run in the Blue Grass (G1) was impressive. Catching Freedom finished well in the Louisiana Derby (G2), and his jockey Flavien Prat is as consistent as it gets in the Run for the Roses.

Sierra Leone To win the Kentucky Derby

Fierceness, the likely favorite, is brilliant at his best but tends to flop when something doesn’t go exactly right. In a 20-horse field, even from an advantageous outside draw (like he got in the Holy Bull -- where he failed as a heavy favorite), things are ripe to go wrong, making him an underlay. Forever Young is undefeated and talented, but at a relatively short price the poor record of the UAE Derby (G2) raises class questions that make him a bad bet.

Kentucky Derby Longshots

For building out your exotic wagers, make sure to use Encino and Just Steel.

Encino sort of backed his way into the Derby with wins in minor preps, the John Battaglia Memorial on Tapeta and the Lexington (G3), his dirt debut. But, there’s nothing minor about Encino’s improving form, his pace versatility, or his deeply classic dirt pedigree. A nice middle draw in the Kentucky Derby should give him the best possible chance to take another step forward.

Though Just Steel has only won twice in 11 starts, he has been a consistent presence on the board down the Oaklawn spur of the Derby trail: he finished second in three of their four points preps, including the Arkansas Derby (G1). He drew well, he should get a jump on the closers, and he has enough stamina in his pedigree to keep on for yet another piece of the purse.

Free Kentucky Derby Expert Picks

With the major players in focus, these are your free Kentucky Derby expert plays for the 2024 Kentucky Derby:

  • $20 win/place/show: #7 Honor Marie
  • $1 Exacta Key: #7 Honor Marie with #2 Sierra Leone, #4 Catching Freedom
  • $1 Trifecta Key: #7 Honor Marie with #2 Sierra Leone, #4 Catching Freedom, #6 Just Steel, #9 Encino
  • $1 Superfecta Key: #7 Honor Marie with #2 Sierra Leone, #4 Catching Freedom, #6 Just Steel, #9 Encino
Honor Marie To win the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Undercard Picks

The Kentucky Derby isn’t the only action going on May 4 at Churchill Downs. There are eight other major stakes races that feature top horses and great betting opportunities. Make sure to focus on these horses if you are betting individual races or building out your multi-race exotics:

  • $175,000 Knicks Go Overnight Stakes: #8 Strava, #6 Best Actor
  • $500,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2): #14 Cogburn, #8 Mischief Magic
  • $750,000 Derby City Distaff (G1): #9 Red Carpet Ready, #10 Vahva, #7 Alva Starr
  • $500,000 Distaff Turf Mile (G2): #7 Evvie Jets, #3 Chili Flag
  • $500,000 Pat Day Mile (G2): #9 Frosty Indulgence, #12 Nash, #5 Seize the Grey
  • $500,000 American Turf (G2): #4 Formidable Man, #5 Legend of Time, #14 Agate Road
  • $750,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (G1): #6 Zozos
  • $1 million Turf Classic (G1): #8 Never Surprised, #5 Program Trading, #4 Far Bridge