Looking Back at 2019 Kentucky Derby Payouts, Profitable Strategies

Fans at Churchill Downs look in the program for a winner. (Eclipse Sportswire)

After six straight years with a winning favorite, the law of averages said someone other than the favorite would win last Saturday's Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.

Yet who could have predicted there would be a $132.40 winner who was elevated into the win spot through a controversial disqualification?

If you did, you were rewarded quite handsomely. That’s for sure.

While Country House surely had some things to like about him – he was, after all, third in the Arkansas Derby – his 65.20-1 odds put him below only the 71-1 maiden Bodexpress in the field of 19 and illustrated how he was ignored in the wagering.

Yet in a race with as much wagering value as the Kentucky Derby, there were plenty ways for handicappers to cash a ticket even if they did not give Country House much of a chance of winning or even hitting the board.

We’re talking, of course, about hitting the all button and wheeling all of the horses in the Derby.

Helping on that front was that a favorite, Bricks and Mortar, won the Grade 1 Old Forester Turf Classic Stakes, the race before the Derby, at 11-10 odds. As a result, anyone who spent $19 and wheeled Bricks and Mortar with everyone in the Kentucky Derby got back $121.40 for $1 doubles wagers, which amounts to $102.40 in profit.

Liking Limonite in the race after the Derby was even more lucrative as the 5.60-1 third choice prevailed and the $1 double paid a golden $570.90 for the same $19 in $1 bets.

The Pick 3s also skyrocketed with a 65-1 shot included. With the favored Bricks and Mortar in the middle and 7.50-1 shot Mr. Money, the third choice in the wagering, winning the first race in the sequence, the Pick 3 returned $638.80 for 50 cents. By following the toteboard a 3 x 1 x 19 ticket for $28.50 would have produced more than $600 in profit.

If you started the Pick 3 with the Kentucky Derby, the challenge was greater, but so was the reward. With third choices winning the final two races, the Pick 3 returned a heavenly $1,376.50 for a 50-cent bet.

The exacta was a huge $1,504.80 for $1 so there was a very nice prize for using Country House in a box or perhaps back-wheeling runner-up Code of Honor.

Finally, the triple was $5,737.65 for a 50-cent bet.

Sure, it was extremely hard to hit with horses at 65-1, 14.40-1, and 5.80-1, but again the all button could have come in handy.

One interesting betting strategy would have been to box two horses with the other 17 horses. In other words, as long as your two key horses finished in the money, the trifecta was yours. In a 19-horse field the cost of this ticket would have been $51 for 50 cents and $102 for $1.

Hopefully, you were able to cash on one of these wagers and bring home a bankroll big enough to fund your wagering through the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets on June 8 – and hopefully beyond!

And if you had Maximum Security, who was disqualified from first and placed 17th, there’s only one word left to say.


Next stop, Pimlico.

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