The Kentucky Derby is not just a horse race, it’s a part of Americana. It is America’s longest running sports event, this year marking the 144th race. Horse racing fans are flocking to Kentucky to watch the races including the Oaks and Derby. Whether you attend in person or watch LIVE from home, you are likely going to be cheering for one horse to win. Perhaps even place a few bucks on it? Make it interesting?

Betting on the Derby is big business. Last year’s on-track wagering was $32.8 million breaking the previous record by more than $9 million. There is plenty of information available online to guide your choice from the Daily Racing Form to analysis by horse racing professionals like The Paulick Report or Bloodhorse.

With its storied history, the Derby itself generates interesting statistics that might help you choose a winner.


  • 109 Kentucky Derby winners were born in the state of Kentucky

  • 57 favorites have won, most recently Always Dreaming in 2017

  • 55 bays have won the Derby, the most of any color

  • 19 Kentucky Derby winners have had names starting with the letter “s”

  • 8 horses bred by Calumet Farm have won, the most of any breeder

  • 10 horses have won from post position 5, the most of any other post, most recently Always Dreaming in 2017

  • 1 horse has won from post position 18, Gato Del Sol in 1982

  • 1 horse has won from post position 19, I’ll Have Another in 2012

  • 0 horses have won from post position 17

If data consumption isn’t your thing, you might go with your gut.  A recent survey of 1000 British betters showed that half bet on the horse’s name – a witty horse name attracted 30% of bets while a name that ‘sounds like a winner’ received 16% of wagers.

Name isn’t getting it for you – what about a lucky number? Lucky 7 was the most popular number for the Brits, chosen 25% of the time. The attractiveness of the jockey drew 20% of bets while another 20% just let their kids choose the winner, p.s. the kids were right 82% of the time!

So, which horse will you be cheering to win this year’s Kentucky Derby? Still not sure? As last resort you might consider consulting a Magic 8 Ball or just toss a coin. In the end, however, how you pick a favorite really doesn’t matter. The Kentucky Derby is eye candy for horse lovers. It is steeped with tradition, epitomizes the social graces of the south and is hands down “the greatest 2 minutes in sports”. Choose a horse to cheer, any horse, they’re all magnificent, fix yourself a mint julip and enjoy the sport of kings.

how to pick the Kentucky Derby winner

Feature Photo Courtesy: Charles Bertram

Tell Us How You Choose the Derby Winner

WARHorses is conducting our own Pick the Derby Winner Survey – we want to know your choice to win the Derby and how you decide. Our survey is only 2 questions and will take about a minute to complete. We will share the results on Tuesday. Will you choose this year’s winner?

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