Kentucky Derby Winners

In 2015, American Pharoah ended the Triple Crown drought and became the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. American’s Pharoah’s final Kentucky Derby odds were 5-2. His Triple Crown win followed a series of heartbreaking near misses, with California Chrome in 2014 winning the Derby and Preakness but fell short in the Belmont Stakes.

Nyquist, the champion two-year-old in 2015, kept his undefeated streak intact and won the Kentucky Derby in 2016 only to falter in the Preakness. I’ll Have Another won the Derby and Preakness before being scratched out of the Belmont Stakes one day before his Triple Crown bid. Popular runners such as Silver Charm and Real Quiet won the first two legs then missed by inches in the final race.

Three years after American Pharoah, Justify won the Triple Crown in 2018. Both horses were trained by Bob Baffert. While American Pharoah went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Justify was retired as the only Triple Crown winner to have a completely unbeaten career. Justify’s Kentucky Derby odds were 3-1.

Another Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew, won the series in 1977 but then was defeated afterward. American Pharoah is the only horse to win both the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic.


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Only two winning horses have ever broken the two-minute mark at the Kentucky Derby. The legendary Secretariat still holds the record, completing 1 1/4 mile in 1:59:40 during the 1973 edition. In 2001, Monarchos came close to besting the record, becoming the second-fastest horse at the Derby with a time of 1:59:97.

Only three fillies have ever won the Derby, with the most recent being Winning Colors in 1988. Genuine Risk preceded her in 1980, while Regret won in 1915. The most recent filly to try the Run for the Roses was Eight Belles in 2008; she finished second.

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Kentucky Derby Final Odds

Donerail in 1913 is the highest-priced winner in Derby history at 91-1. It wasn’t until Country House was put up at 65-1 in the 2019 Derby after the disqualification of Maximum Security that anyone else got close, though Rich Strike came even closer in 2022 when he won at 80-1 odds, running down favored Epicenter on the square!

In 2005, Giacomo won the race at 50-1. Mine That Bird followed four years later with another 50-1 upset. These races were attributed to there being too much precocious speed in the race, they faded and paved the way for deep closers to upset. Since the Kentucky Derby points rules were put into place in 2012, there has not been a big upset like this save for Maximum Security’s disqualification and Country House’s promotion.

Trainer Bob Baffert has won six times, tying Ben Jones’s all-time record. The most a jockey has won is five, accomplished by both Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack. In 2010, Calvin Borel won three out of four Kentucky Derbies, following victories on Street Sense in 2007, Mine That Bird in 2009, and Super Saver in 2010.

Some of the game’s biggest trainers have only won the race once, such as Shug McGaughey in 2013 with Orb, and Bill Mott with Country House in 2019. Todd Pletcher, who trains likely Kentucky Derby favorites Forte and Tapit Trice, has won it twice.

The most expensive Kentucky Derby winner was Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. The son of Mr. Prospector commanded a price of $4 million as a yearling in 1998 and won six races before being syndicated for over $60 million. In comparison, California Chrome came from a dam that cost $8,000 and a stallion that cost $2,000 and went on to earn back $14.7 million on the track.

Final entries and the post position draw for the 2024 Kentucky Derby will take place on Monday, April 28.  The 2024 Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, May 4 at Churchill Downs. Post time is approximately 6:30 Eastern time.

Best Kentucky Derby Bets 2024

As the race draws closer and post positions and past performances are finalized, we will have even more expert picks for the race. But, with futures markets already open, you may want to bet now at your favorite online sportsbook to try to lock in a price better than you will get in pari-mutuel pools!

So, here are the best early contenders for the Kentucky Derby. As the race gets closer, we will show you even more information about the Kentucky Derby best bets, because an informed bettor is a good bettor!

Kentucky Derby favorites

Sierra Leone leads most Kentucky Derby betting markets. He has won both starts of his sophomore year impressively, including a strong, sustained run in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. He is a late runner, meaning the more early pace the better for him. But, the Chad Brown trainee can start a move early enough to give himself a chance even if the pace does not collapse.

Fierceness, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner in 2023, is close behind Sierra Leone in most future wager markets, though they are co-favorites in some books. He has not been as consistent, but the best of Fierceness is simply stunning. He showed that by winning the Florida Derby by 13 1/2 lengths, and if this Todd Pletcher trainee can get a good start he should be in contention from gate to wire.

Of course, favorites do not always win the Kentucky Derby, meaning that bettors always need to think carefully about their handicapping and consider mid-priced horses and even long shots in their strategies for exotic wagers like exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets, as well as straight win bets, place bets, and show bets.

Mid-priced contenders

The Louisiana Derby (G2) is becoming more important every single year, and Catching Freedom can continue that pattern in 2024. He rallied smartly from the rear to win his final prep, despite the fact that the pacesetter did stick around to finish in the superfecta. He represents another live contender for Brad Cox, not yet a Kentucky Derby winner but still a proven big-race trainer,

Even though Dornoch was beaten by Sierra Leone in the Blue Grass, trainer Danny Gargan made it clear that the Blue Grass was intended as a learning experience, since he already had enough points to make it into the field. It is clear that Dornoch’s best style is still on or very close to the lead. But, especially if Fierceness comes away poorly or even just draws badly, this full brother to 2023 Derby winner Mage can get a good trip and carry his stamina to a good finish.

Kentucky Derby longshot

Among longer shots in the field, do not ignore trainer William Walden’s first-ever Derby horse: Honor Marie. Though he began the year with a fifth-place run in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds, he improved to finish second in the Louisiana Derby next out. He should be even fitter and stronger third off the lay, and his victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last fall shows he can bring his best to Churchill Downs.


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