Your Indiana Guide To The 2024 Kentucky Derby

Posted on April 30, 2024

With the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby just days away, the excitement level is at a full gallop for Indiana horse racing fans.

They are undoubtingly checking and rechecking odds for the pinnacle horse racing event, the first of the Triple Crown.

Thousands of Hoosiers will travel to Churchill Downs in Louisville, just over Indiana’s southern border, for this year’s race. Other fans will attend watch parties and events at venues across Indiana on Saturday.

PlayIndiana has everything you’ll need for this year’s Run for the Roses … except for the mint julip and wide-brimmed hat.

How Indiana residents can bet on the Derby

The state was a little late to the party when it comes to legal horse betting in Indiana. Pari-mutuel betting was not legalized until 1993 in the Hoosier State. The first racetrack in Indiana opened about a year later.

Fans can now place wagers at one of the two racetracks in the state, at off-track betting sites, and online at sites like FanDuel Racing Indiana.

The first horse racetrack in the state is Horseshoe Indianapolis, which is a racino that houses 2,000 slot machines, table games, and a poker room. The second is commonly known as Hoosier Park, but it was recently renamed to Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino.

There are three off-track betting venues in the state: Clarksville, Indianapolis, and New Haven. Each is essentially a mini sportsbook dedicated exclusively to horse racing, with large TVs to watch the events as well as bar and food options.

Online, FanDuel Racing Indiana is the largest mobile horse racing operator in the state, with no shortage of options. The app is the most accessible way to wager on the Derby.

What Derby events and promotions are available in Indiana?

The Kentucky Derby race lasts just two minutes, but events surrounding the sport’s crown jewel stretch well beyond that. It’s an all-day affair, as fans plan their pastel and floral outfits for months in advance. Hours before the horses are put into the gates, many will be drinking the official derby drink, the mint julep, at a participating venue in the state.

There will be an official Kentucky Derby viewing party hosted by Woodford Reserve and Do317 at Tinker House Events in Indianapolis. On top of watching the event with other Indiana horse racing fans, there will be mint juleps available, a hat-making station, cigar lounge and giveaways.

If you want to head to a racetrack instead of a viewing party, there are two great options.

Horseshoe Indianapolis is having its own Derby Day. There will be live racing before and after the Derby, a $3,000 Derby Megabet feature, a $600 Derby Hat Contest and food trucks available. There will also be Winner’s Circle promotions and giveaways. Space is limited, so make sure to make a reservation ahead of time by visiting the Horseshoe Indianapolis website.

Harrah’s Hoosier Park will also have its own Kentucky Derby events, including live racing. There will also be a hat contest, with registration beginning at 2:30 p.m. and the contest beginning at 3:30 p.m. There will also be Punchboard Drawings. Entries can be found at a trackside promotions kiosk between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. There will be five winners drawn after each of the six races at Hoosier Park. Lastly, there will be five $100 MegaBets available to win.

Online sportsbooks offer specials for first-timers

There are a few mobile betting promotions for first-time bettors in Indiana. FanDuel Racing Indiana is offering a no-sweat bet offer up to $500. This means if you lose your first bet, you will receive the same amount in site credit.

DraftKings, which uses the mobile racing app DK Horse, offers new users a 100% deposit match up to $250. The minimum deposit for this is $25. A bettor can max the offer by depositing $500.

TwinSpires, which is the official Derby betting partner, also has a welcome bonus for new users. Players can earn up to $200 in bonus credits if they register and wager $800 within their first 30 days.

A quick guide on how to bet on the Kentucky Derby

Sports betting can be a bit overwhelming to those who are just diving into the industry, but there is one style of horse racing wager that anyone can do.

The basic bet is picking a horse to win. Derby odds this year span from 5-2 (Fierceness) for the favorite to 50-1 for the biggest underdogs (West Saratoga, Grand Mo the First and Society Man). Having 5-2 odds means Fierceness has +250 odds to win the race. If someone wagered $100 on Fierceness at +250 odds, they would net $250 in winnings.

There are three basic wager types  that can be placed:

  • Win bet
  • Place bet
  • Show bet

A win bet is simply betting on which horse will win the race. A place bet is wagering which horses come in first and second and has worse odds but a better payout. A show bet is accurately wagering on which horses take home the top three slots. That last option would lead to the biggest payout, but it also has by far the worst odds of cashing in.

There are several other types of wagers, but these three are the most popular way to bet on the premier horse racing event in the US.

Kentucky Derby lineup and odds

Post PositionHorseTrainerJockeyMorning Line Odds
1DornochDanny GarganLuis Saez20-1
2Sierra LeoneChad BrownTyler Gaffalione3-1
3Mystik DanKenny McPeekBrian Hernandez Jr.20-1
4Catching FreedomBrad CoxFlavien Prat8-1
5CatalyticSaffie Joseph Jr.Jose Ortiz30-1
6Just SteelWayne LukasKeith Asmussen20-1
7Honor MarieWhit BeckmanBen Curtis20-1
8Just A TouchBrad CoxFlorent Geroux10-1
9EncinoBrad CoxAxel Concepcion20-1
10T O PasswordDaisuke TakayanagiKazushi Kimura30-1
11Forever YoungYoshito YahagiRyusei Sakai10-1
12Track PhantomSteve AsmussenJoel Rosario20-1
13West SaratogaLarry DemeritteJesus Castanon50-1
14EndlesslyMichael McCarthyUmberto Rispoli30-1
15Domestic ProductChad BrownIrad Ortiz Jr.30-1
16Grand Mo The FirstVictor Barboza Jr.Emisael Jaramillo50-1
17FiercenessTodd PletcherJohn Velazquez5-2
18StrongholdPhil D'AmatoAntonio Fresu20-1
19ResilienceBill MottJunior Alvarado20-1
20Society ManDanny GarganFrankie Dettori50-1
Epic Ride (Alternate)
Mugatu (Alternate)
Photo by AP Photo / Charlie Riedel
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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver who covers the Nuggets as a beat writer. He regularly contributes to PlayIndiana on issues surrounding the online gambling market. His byline can be seen at ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and others.

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