Kentucky Derby Betting Intensifies With Race Day Closing In

Kentucky Derby preparation comes barreling down the homestretch. New Jersey horse bettors have multiple betting options, and interests, for the May 7, $3 million signature jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Here’s a Garden State primer for the final week leading to the derby, which has a 6:57 p.m. post time at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Kentucky Derby Betting In NJ

Start on your phone, home computer, or favored wagering device. All the nationwide betting action on most days is accessible at 4NJBETS, powered by TVG. This outlet grants betting access to nearly all the country’s races and is the most convenient betting method for those who don’t want to travel.

For those who do, Monmouth Park in Oceanport (off Garden State Parkway exit 105) offers a potpourri of options.

On the opening day of its live meet (2 p.m.), the track can take derby wagers throughout the day and right up until post time.

Gamblers can wager on live thoroughbred racing, bet with tellers or on kiosks, and even combine racing with other sports they like to gamble on at the Caesars Sportsbook on site.

Sportsbook operating hours:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-12 a.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m.-1 a.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 a.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m.-12 a.m.

Make your sports bets on site at the Caesars Sportsbook at Monmouth Park, or online by downloading the Caesars NJ mobile sports app.

A Score At The Shore?

Gamblers who want to blend an Atlantic City twist into the derby can visit the Borgata Race and Sportsbook. There are about 100 seats. Borgata has the option of opening an adjoining room, which it sometimes does, if betting demand makes that practical.

As for the main room, several seats have their own small television and there are some self-service terminals, along with tellers.

A bank of larger television screens adorns the front wall. The largest one in the middle is exceptional and the room provides a sportsbook experience.

One of the positives is that the atmosphere is electric. However, the room can’t handle the demand comfortably.

Derby day brings a rush of casino and horse-racing customers into the same space. It will seem like wall-to-wall people. It won’t be easy to place bets.

The risk of being shutout is real. Fellow gamblers will get pushy, and impatient.

For gamblers who can withstand that, the room has a beautiful view. It fits a player who may want to weave some derby bets into a daylong casino visit.

Smaller simulcast options throughout the state also give gamblers the chance to be out with the people. But they suffer the same problem. Derby day places a heavy demand on the betting space.

No wonder mobile betting surged in the horse-racing world.

Preparing For The 2022 Kentucky Derby

The gamble and go method

Some players may have a scheduling conflict for 6:57 p.m. They can make early-afternoon wagers at the books and then leave. This ensures they have a bet, although they may want to add to the collection as odds change later.

Watch the Kentucky Oaks

This takes place one day earlier. It gives bettors a semblance of how track conditions are playing regarding speed, closers, stalkers, or a bias on the inside or outside of the track.

Derby betting potpourri

Twenty horses are scheduled to compete in the Run for the Roses. They were selected from a 48-race qualifying circuit that began last September and ended in April.

Horses obtained Kentucky Derby qualifying points based on the financial value and perceived marquee of the race.

That’s why the 100-point qualifiers produced the horses pegged to be favorites at the derby.

Major players:

Epicenter finished as the points leader. He won the Louisiana Derby and was moving strongly in the 1 3/16-mile race. Because no horse has gone the 1 1/4-mile derby distance, this one is the closest to it. Epicenter only has to stretch out 1/16 of mile to reach the 1 1/4-mile mark.

Zandon rallied to capture the Blue Grass Stakes, toppling Smile Happy down the lane. He will be given a lot of respect off of that effort.

White Abarrio prevailed in the Florida Derby, rallying past Simplification down the lane. He also won the Holy Bull and is the best horse coming out of the Florida circuit.

Taiba could be the darling of the horse-racing world with a derby triumph. He is trying to do what no one has (win the derby in just his third race). Taiba surprised the horse-racing establishment with a definitive victory in the Santa Anita Derby in only his second outing.

Mo Donegal will get some play based on his Wood Memorial triumph at Aqueduct Race Track in New York.

Cyberknife claimed the Arkansas Derby, and is on the improvement line.

Crown Pride captured the UAE Derby in Dubai. It is the only other 13/16-mile prep next to the Louisiana Derby.

Handicapping Variables For The Kentucky Derby

In recent years, the derby winner has broken near the front of the pack, galloped to stay in touch with the field, and finally prevailed down the stretch.

Deep closers have not been doing well since the derby made all its qualifying events distance races. That eliminates the presence of sprinters, who engage others in a speed duel and set the stage for horses to win from way off the pace.

Keep an eye on Monday’s draw for the post positions. As the field grew to 20, the extreme inside and outside posts are considered a significant disadvantage.

Whomever breaks from Post 1 faces the prospect of running into the inner rail a few strides out of the gate. The horse will have to break very quickly and get ahead of his rivals to avoid getting shuffled back.

A jockey can also take the horse back to avoid being squeezed, but that means yielding precious tactical position. Nonetheless, that’s the strategy employed for the last winner from the rail, Ferdinand. He took back and had to pass the entire field in order to triumph in 1986.

After the starting gate was implemented in 1930, the No. 5 post has the most winners, with 10. The No. 10 post is next, with nine, while the No. 8 and No. 7 posts claim eight victories apiece.

On the flip side, the longest drought among winners is the 14 post. No horse has won from there since Carry Back in 1961.

Only one post position in the entire field has never produced a winner. That’s No. 17.


AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.