Most sports bettors would agree that the Kentucky Derby is the single biggest horse race of the season. The famous “Run for the Roses” signals the start of the spring’s Triple Crown racing season and it also sets the stage for some of the biggest races in the annual Breeders’ Cup in early November.
Leading up to the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs is an extended series of prep races that actually begin a year in advance when the top thoroughbreds in the nation are still juveniles. The prep schedule starts up early in January and it really begins to pick up steam with some major graded stakes events in March and April that will determine the final 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby.
The best thing about betting on any of these major stakes events or even the daily card at your favorite track is that it can all be done through the same online sportsbook that you are currently using to place all of your sports bets. Also known as a Racebook, just about every one of the top offshore sportsbooks operating online can offer fast and easy access to every single race track in North America and some have extended their racebook offerings to include race tracks all across the world.
Betting on horses at your favorite sportsbook brings the excitement of the Kentucky Derby Trail right into the palm of your hand. Even if horse racing is not a big part of your overall online betting activity, why not try your luck on some of the bigger races coming down the pike between now and Derby Day. By getting an early handle on the top contenders to win at Churchill, you will actually increase your chances to cash in a few winning tickets that day.
The prep schedule for the Derby is centered around a couple of major tracks that each offer a series of races starting early in the year leading up to a featured Grade 1 stakes race as the highlight of their spring racing card for three-year olds.
For example, Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans gets things started with the Grade 2 Risen Star in late February. This race follows the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes and it sets the stage for the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in late March.
Famed Santa Anita Park out in California starts things out with the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in early January before moving onto the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes the following month. The Grade 2 San Vincente Stakes is next on the list later in February and things really start to heat up out west with the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes in mid-March. Completing the trifecta of major graded events on the prep race schedule at this track is the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in early April with a total prize purse of $1 million.
Another track in the mix is Oaklawn Park with a series of graded stakes races for three-year olds leading up to the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby in mid-April, which is also a $1 million dollar event. The top race on the Kentucky Derby Trail at Gulfstream Park is the Grade 1 Florida Derby. There a number of other big money stakes races on this list including the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March and the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in April.
Not only are the Kentucky Derby prep races great betting events for horse bettors, the entire race card on the day these races go off is loaded with some great betting action at each of these top-rated tracks.
Do yourself a favor and check out the racebook section of your favorite online sportsbook and you will probably find some bonus offers or incentives to help sweeten the pot.