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The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby, dubbed the Run for the Roses, has been called the most exciting two minutes in sports. Held each year on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, the Kentucky Derby attracts thousands of live spectators and millions of viewers on television. Celebrities like Gene Simmons, Jessica Simpson, Wes Welker, L.L. Cool Jay and others are frequently spotted in Millionaire’s Row on Derby Day.
The most basic thing you need to understand about the Kentucky Derby is that it includes the largest field in American horseracing. 20 horses run in the Derby, making picking the winner a difficult task. All of the horses must be three years old, which means they are still developing and growing. Instead of making a win bet, swing for the fences and try to hit a trifecta or superfecta!
EZ Horse Betting Fun Fact
The Kentucky Derby is most often won by horses that began their racing career at 2 years old. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby that did not race at two years old was Apollo in 1882! Begin your Kentucky Derby handicapping by eliminating all horses that did not have at least one race when they were two years old.
The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of America’s Triple Crown. It is held exactly two weeks to the day after the Kentucky Derby at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. As you might suspect, the favorite going into this race is usually the winner of that year’s Kentucky Derby, but the Pimlico track is especially prone to a racing bias that favors horses in inside post positions. If you can identify a speed horse that has the 1, 2, or 3 starting gate position, you just might have found a longshot that can pay big money at the betting window!
Held three weeks to the day following the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes is held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is the longest of the Triple Crown races at 1 ½ miles.The horses take the track to the strains of “New York, New York” and this race is particularly exciting because it sometimes features a horse that has won that year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness and is now going for the Triple Crown. Such an event happened in 2014 when California Chrome tried to complete the cycle to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. California Chrome failed in his effort due to a phenomenon that is quite common in the Belmont—a new shooter. A new shooter is a horse that did not run in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes. These horses are rested and fresh and ready to run. Always give serious betting consideration to a new shooter in the Belmont Stakes.
The Breeder’s Cup
The Breeder’s Cup is held in late October or November in the United States and rotates among various host tracks. Tracks that have hosted the Breeder’s Cup include Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, and Lone Star Park. In the near future the Breeder’s Cup will be held for the first time at Keeneland, one of the oldest and most elegant racetracks in America.
Breeder’s Cup weekend is the Super Bowl of horseracing. Over two consecutive days the best horses in the world compete in a variety of races that culminate with the Breeder’s Cup Classic, the richest horserace in America with a purse of $5 million dollars. This race features the very best horses in the world and picking a winner is difficult, but the race is often won by a longshot so look beyond the betting favorite for your selection.
The Triple Crown
Few sporting accomplishments are as daunting as winning horseracing’s Triple Crown series. Only 11 horses since 1919 have managed to complete the trifecta and win all three races that comprise the series.
A horse must win all three races of the Triple Crown in a span of five weeks at three different racetracks to secure its place in racing history. 2015 will mark the 37th year since the last horse won the Triple Crown, and some are questioning whether the feat can be repeated in today’s racing climate. Read more about the triple crown racing event here.
Other Big Races
There are several other big races on the calendar each year throughout the world including the Dubai World Cup and Melbourne Cup. Each of these races presents its own handicapping difficulties. You’ll want to be sure and check out our pages on different races and racetracks for information that can give you a betting edge when you play these races.
As we mentioned to begin, these big races often offer bigger betting pools. Additionally, many of the big races will offer special Pick 3, Pick 4, and Pick 6 pools with a guaranteed pool that can be $250,000 or more!