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Odds for 2024 Kentucky Derby & Expert Picks, Predictions

Matt McEwan

by Matt McEwan in Horse Racing News

Updated May 3, 2024 · 1:00 PM PDT

Sierra Leone running on the track
Kentucky Derby hopeful Sierra Leone gallops at Churchill Downs. Special to the Courier Journal by Pat McDonogh. April 22, 2024
  • See the latest odds to win the 2024 Kentucky Derby
  • Fierceness is the favorite to win the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, but is he a good bet?
  • See my best bets to make for the Kentucky Derby

The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place this Saturday (May 4) with post time set for 6:57pm ET at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is not only an opportunity to break out those flamboyant hats and fascinators, but also one of America’s favorite betting events.

Unlike other top betting events, such as the Super Bowl or March Madness, most of the bets placed on the Kentucky Derby will be done so by individuals who have not watched a single horse race this season – probably many who haven’t seen one since last year’s Kentucky Derby. With that in mind, let me offer my best bets for the Kentucky Derby!

Kentucky Derby Predictions, Picks & Best Bets

I have two horses that I like heading into Saturday, and neither is the favorite Fierceness.

My best bet to win the Kentucky Derby: Sierra Leone (3-1)

While Fierceness has been very up-and-down, Sierra Leone has been nothing but consistently good. (The inconsistent runs is the reason I am out on Fierceness at such a short price.) Sierra Leone enters the Derby as the points leader and has only been beaten once, which was only by a nose.

Sierra Leone is trained by Chad Brown, who does not yet have a win at the Kentucky Derby in seven starts, but he does have one place and one show. Horses trained by Brown have had success at Churchill Downs, though, notching 40 wins in 218 starts. That’s good for an 18% win rate, which is second-best among trainers with more than one start. In simpler words, Brown knows how to prep horses for Churchill Downs.

Another great sign for Sierra Leone is that per Equibase, each of the last nine Kentucky Derby winners have posted a final workout of five furlongs or longer the week prior to the Derby. Sierra Leone is one of 12 horses to get in five or more furlongs in their final workout – Fierceness only put in four furlongs.

If Fierceness is at its best on Saturday, I believe jockey John Velasquez will pick up his fourth Kentucky Derby win. But the odds are too short for a horse who only has three wins in five starts. Sierra Leone at 3-1 odds is the best bet on the board, in my opinion.

If you’re looking for a bigger payout, I also like Dornoch (20-1). This is a horse who has a few wins under its belt and has experience on not only many different tracks but also different types of weather/conditions.


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Weather Could Be a Factor at Churchill Downs

There is currently a 51% chance of rain at Churchill Downs Saturday morning, but the precipitation is expected to stop prior to post time at 6:57pm ET. That doesn’t mean the track will be dry, though. There is a decent chance these horses will be dealing with some sloppy conditions.

If that is the case, we could see some massive Kentucky Derby odds movement ahead of the race. This type of weather would only further my confidence in Sierra Leone, who has raced in muddy conditions with success more than once, and Dornoch, the only horse to beat Sierra Leone thus far, and he did so by a nose in the mud.

Kentucky Derby Odds

  • Fierceness: 5-2
  • Sierra Leone: 3-1
  • Catching Freedom: 8-1
  • Forever Young: 10-1
  • Just a Touch: 10-1
  • T O Password: 10-1
  • Dornoch: 20-1
  • Honor Marie: 20-1
  • Mystik Dan: 20-1
  • Resilience: 20-1
  • Just Steel: 20-1
  • Stronghold: 20-1
  • Track Phantom: 20-1
  • Domestic Product: 30-1
  • Catalytic: 30-1
  • Endlessly: 30-1
  • Epic Ride: 30-1
  • Mugatu: 30-1
  • Grand Mo The First: 50-1
  • Society Man: 50-1
  • West Saratoga: 50-1

Fierceness is the current favorite to win the Kentucky Derby with 5-2 odds, which is the equivalent of +250 American odds. A $5 bet on Fierceness at 5-2 odds would stand to win $12.50 and return $17.50, whereas a $10 bet would potentially profit $25 and return $35. Based off the 5-2 odds, Fierceness has a 28.6% chance to win the 2024 Kentucky Derby.

The next-best odds belong to Sierra Leone, who is listed at 3-1, which is the same as +300 American odds. A $5 bet on Sierra Leone at 3-1 odds would potentially win you $15 and return $20. Sierra Leone’s probability of winning the Derby is 25%.

The horses with the worst odds to win right now are Grand Mo The First, Society Man, and West Saratoga, who are each getting 50-1 odds. A $5 bet on any of those three horses at 50-1 odds would win you $250 and return $255. But keep in mind the payout is so big because the oddsmakers feel it’s highly unlikely any of these three horses win. Based on the odds, each only has a 2% chance to win.

If you don’t have a racebook you are already using, check out our favorite horse racing betting apps to get in on the action!

The odds above are from TwinSpires and are accurate as of Friday, May 3. 

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