Triple Crown betting is available all year leading up to the final race of the three-race series. The Triple Crown consists of the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, the Preakness Stakes two weeks later, and the Belmont Stakes three weeks after that.
The odds for whether or not there will be a Triple Crown winner in 2021 aren't yet available. The odds are subject to change, so keep checking back with us. The odds were last updated on November 20, 2020:
|Will there be a Triple Crown in 2021?|
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:
The Triple Crown was revamped in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Belmont Stakes taking place June 20, the Kentucky Derby on September 5, and the Preakness Stakes on October 3.
Read on to find out more about the Triple Crown races, the odds of winning the Triple Crown, and betting tips for the Triple Crown.
Triple Crown Lineup
The greatest event in horse racing is the Triple Crown. The three races each began in the 1800s and have evolved into one of the most difficult feats in all of the sports.
The series starts with the Kentucky Derby, a 1 1/4-mile race for three-year-olds worth $3 million, which takes place on the first Saturday in May. It is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, underneath the famed Twin Spires. The winner gets a garland of roses draped over their back and their name enshrined in racing lore.
Two weeks later is the Preakness Stakes, run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, over 1 3/16 miles. The $1.5 million race is often a battle between horses that just raced in Kentucky and those that skipped the Run for the Roses and are racing fresh off the bench.
Three weeks later the Triple Crown concludes with the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The race is run around the 1 1/2-mile oval at Belmont Park and is the most grueling of the Triple Crown races.
Betting the Kentucky Derby
If you can't make it to the racetrack to watch one of the Triple Crown races live, then heading to an online racebook such as Bovada is the next best way to bet on the Triple Crown. Take time to compare the different types of promotions that racebooks offer before signing up, as some have deposit bonuses and wagering rebates that help raise the odds of winning. Other sites offer cashback options.
Nearly $150 million is wagered on the Kentucky Derby every year. Betting on the Kentucky Derby is tricky because the race usually has 20 horses in the starting gate, with big payouts and longshot winners a regular occurrence. The average Kentucky Derby superfecta in the last decade has been nearly $40,000, ranging from $542 in 2016 to over $550,000 in 2009
Longshots winners in the Kentucky Derby include Country House at 65-1 in 2019, Animal Kingdom at 20 – 1 in 2011, and both Mine That Bird and Giacomo at 50 – 1 in 2009 and 2005. 52 of 145 Kentucky Derbies have been won by the favorite. Not a single favorite won the race from 1979 until 2000, then 10 favorites scored from 2001 until 2019. Before the current Road to the Kentucky Derby points system was created by Churchill Downs in 2012, longshots won often, but since the change, there has only been one winner that wasn't the post time wagering favorite.
Betting the Preakness Stakes
Favorites have won about half of all Preakness Stakes since the race began, making them tough to bet against on race day. Betting on the Preakness Stakes can be complicated because the Kentucky Derby winner usually goes favored even if they were a longshot in Kentucky. When the Kentucky Derby winner is injured or doesn’t make the race, the Preakness favorite is often the horse that finished best in the Kentucky Derby aside from the winner.
The biggest Preakness upset of all time was Master Derby in 1975 at 23 – 1, which is quite low compared to the odds of some Kentucky Derby winners.
Handicapping the Preakness Stakes is especially difficult because a lot of handicappers don't pay regular attention to Pimlico Race Course, where the Preakness is held. It only runs for a few weeks per year, and opens just days before the race. It is often rainy, which can change the favorites leading into the race.
Triple Crown Odds
The odds for the Triple Crown depend on if a horse is going to try to sweep the historic races or not. The horse that has a shot at the Triple Crown is always favored in the Belmont Stakes. A horse going for the Triple Crown rarely wins - 23 horses have won the Derby and Preakness, but not the Belmont, while only 13 horses have completed the Triple.
Da' Tara was 38-1 when he defeated Triple Crown prospect Big Brown in the 2008 Belmont Stakes. Birdstone was 36-1 over Smarty Jones in 2004. 2-1 Empire Maker was appropriately backed when defeating even-money choice Funny Cide in 2003. Most shockingly, Sarava was 70-1 when he defeated War Emblem in his bid for the Triple Crown. Even Charismatic, who was 33-1 when he won the Kentucky Derby and 8-1 when he won the Preakness, went favored in the Belmont but finished third behind 29-1 shot Lemon Drop Kid.
Betting the Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes is a race often won by a longshot. None of the horses in the race have ever gone over 1 1/2 miles before, and most never will again. Betting on the Belmont Stakes needs to be done with attention to pedigree and how a horse has handled the 1 1/4 mile distance of the Kentucky Derby if they took that route to the race.
Sarava is the biggest longshot winner in Belmont Stakes history, scoring at 70-1 in 2002. Sherluck was 65-1 in 1961, and Temperence Hill was 53-1 in 1980. Da' Tara was 38-1 when upsetting Big Brown in his 2008 Triple Crown bid; Birdstone was 36-1 in 2004 over Smarty Jones. More recently there have been a string of longshots, with Lemon Drop Kid winning at 29-1 in 1999, Ruler on Ice 24-1 in 2011, Commendable 18-1 in 2000, and Creator 15-1 in 2016.
Favorites are hard to come by; even Tonalist in 2014 was 9-1 coming off a win in Belmont Park's biggest Belmont Stakes prep race, the Peter Pan Stakes.
He was facing Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome, who finished fourth. Tapwrit was 5-1 in a strange field in 2017, where the Kentucky Derby winner (Always Dreaming) and Preakness Stakes winner (Cloud Computing) both missed the race. Summer Bird was 11-1 in 2009 while Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird finished third as the favorite, and Drosselmeyer was 13-1 in 2010 after losing his Belmont Stakes prep race over the track in the Dwyer Stakes.
Triple Crown Winners
There have been 13 Triple Crown winners to date: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018). Trainer Bob Baffert won the last two Triple Crowns, and trainer James Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons accomplished the double in 1930 and 1935. Calumet Farm won it twice with Whirlaway and Citation; the farm is still in operation today.
The event was not even called the Triple Crown until Gallant Fox accomplished the feat in 1930. He went on to sire the next Triple Crown winner in Omaha, a feat that has not been duplicated since. Sir Barton was acknowledged as the first Triple Crown winner more than a decade after he had pulled off the feat. There was no Triple Crown winner between 1948 and 1973, with many racing authorities believing it was no longer a feat that could be accomplished. American Pharoah winning in 2015 was after 37 years, the longest drought in racing history. Justify won it just three years later.
No filly has won the Triple Crown or even gotten close. The two most recent female Kentucky Derby winners, Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988) failed to win the Preakness. Both Winning Colors and Genuine Risk ran in all three races but did not win the Belmont Stakes, either, although Genuine Risk finished second behind Temperence Hill. No gelding has won the Triple Crown either, with Funny Cide being closest in 2013.
The narrowest Triple Crown loss came with Real Quiet in 1998. The colt won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before losing the Belmont Stakes by a nose to Victory Galliop. He angled out in the lane, bumping Victory Gallop right before the wire, and the stewards noted that they would have had to make the difficult decision to disqualify Real Quiet even if he had won the race.
The Triple Crown is one of the most difficult feats in all of sports to win but continues to be the most sought after prize in horse racing.