Diehard Degenerate: Betting On The Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby
Credit: Robb Carr / Getty Images

Sean Green hosts the Sports Gambling Podcast and is our expert on losing money.

The Kentucky Derby is full of longstanding traditions such as drinking mint juleps, girls wearing giant hats and everyone’s favorite, running atop Porta Potties. The greatest tradition, however, happens off-course: Betting a week’s paycheck for two minutes of action on an animal that has literally no idea what the hell is going on.

The Lingo

To avoid sounding like a complete douche by asking your bookie what a “trifecta” is, here’s a quick rundown of horse gambling terminology:

  • Show = Horse gets third or better
  • Place = Horse gets second or better
  • Win = Don’t overthink this one
  • Purse = Owner’s payday for winning the race, this year $2.18 million
  • Box = Pick the horses in top two or three, no particular order
  • Exacta / Perfecta = Pick the first two horses in order
  • Trifecta = Pick the first three horses in order
  • Superfecta = Pick the first four horses in order and tell your girlfriend you need a “break” when you cash in huge

The Field

For the first time since 2008, legendary trainer Bob Baffert is not entering a horse in the Kentucky Derby. Plus, the horses this year are slower than average, which is usually good news for the long shots. Really, it all comes down to pure chance…and who can go against Rick Pitino right now? Whether it’s his Louisville Cardinals, his horse Goldcents or a dinner waitress, Pitino always gets lucky!

The Picks

Show: Will Take Charge (20/1)

Place: Oxbow (35/1)

Win: Goldcents (15/2)

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Sean Green is a standup comedian and podcast host living in LA.