The Keeneland Select Derby

As horse racing events go, the Keeneland Select Derby meeting is somewhat unique. Rather than featuring live racing, it’s a festival celebrating two of the biggest racing events in the US calendar, the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

Held in conjunction with the Churchill Downs racetrack, for two days the Keeneland Select racetrack pays homage to the crème de la crème of three year old US racehorses and combines it with all day and evening entertainment suitable for all members of the family. If you can’t make it to Louisville, then Lexington is the next best thing.

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Keeneland Select Derby – not just a one-race wonder 

The Keeneland Select Derby is not an individual race, as its name might suggest. It’s actually an annual two-day event held at the Keeneland racetrack in early May to celebrate the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. Live access to these elite horse racing events in the US flat racing calendar is available thanks to Keeneland’s close association with TwinSpires.

Day 1: The Kentucky Oaks

Colloquially entitled ‘Lillies for the Fillies’ this race is for three year old female horses only and run over a distance of 1⅛ miles on the left-handed Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. The race is limited to 20 runners who compete for a purse of $1.25 million.

Day 2: The Kentucky Derby

The first of the three US Triple Crown events, the ‘Run for the Roses’ is a flat race for three year old thoroughbred horses of both sexes, with fillies given a 5lb weight allowance. It is also run on the left-handed dirt track at Churchill Downs, but over a distance of 1¼ miles and with a prize purse worth a staggering $3 million.

A brief guide to Keeneland Select Derby betting – being selective is the key

You will find that pari-mutuel betting works slightly differently to placing a fixed-odds bet on the average sportsbook platform. One of the main differences is that you won’t know what your payout will be until the pool closes shortly before the start of the race.

You will most likely find that the biggest pools are in the win market, as that is how the majority of bettors tend to wager on horse racing. It also means that the number of correct selections are higher, which in turn reduces your payout.

That’s why our betting tips for the Keeneland Select Derby will include alternative types of bet where the numbers are considerably reduced and the potential profit available from the pool will be higher per person. We will go through some of the more exotic pari-mutuel bets later in this article.

Why trust our betting tips? – curated by expert horse racing fans

Here at our tips are world class and that’s all down to the experts who spend their time compiling them for you. Let’s start by telling you that our horse racing team are all avid fans of horse racing and active bettors themselves, so when they curate tips you can be assured that they will also be using them.

When it comes to the Keeneland Select Derby they will be looking in great detail at the two top races that are broadcast at the Keeneland racetrack. However, the tips you’ll get are the result of months of watching and following the most likely equine contenders and reviewing their performance in the races leading up to the two big events.

Our experts use their own research and observations in combination with official racing statistics, such as you’d find on a form card. The end result for you is exclusive betting tips presented to you in an easy to read format.

Our key to success – how we analyze the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby 

When you see our betting tips for these two classic races, they are the result of months of research and analysis, not just something we dreamed up the night before or copied from another horse racing tipster.

Because our experts are such huge horse racing fans themselves, they have a real feel for the sport. In addition, the data they analyze will go above and beyond any that you can glean from a form card or a horse racing statistics website alone.

They will also make use of factors related directly to their personal observations of horses and jockeys before making their final assessments and creating your betting tips.

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Things to consider before placing a Keeneland Select Derby bet – take advantage of exotic bets 

With races like the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, you are wagering on the best of the best in terms of three year old racehorses. Odds will be short and betting to win will have very limited profit potential, so you need to implement some sort of strategy.

If you are wagering through Keeneland’s own betting platform, you will naturally be confined to the odds and bet types on offer there, as all online horse race betting sites (except for other pari-mutuel betting sites) are illegal in Kentucky. That said, when we compared odds at Keeneland with other top US online betting sites, we found them to be highly competitive.

Each of the bet types available for the Keeneland Select Derby events will have a minimum stake amount and include:

  • Win or Straight bet – a single bet on one horse to win
  • Place – select first and second any order
  • Show – horse to be placed first second or third
  • Exacta – first two horses in correct order
  • Trifecta – first three horses in correct order
  • Superfecta – first four horses in correct order
  • Double – select the winner of two different races

Those are the basic betting categories which Keeneland Select has available for all racing events, but you are likely to find an additional selection, plus some interesting side bets on offer specifically for the Keeneland Select Derby event, so watch out for those.

Top 5 reasons for betting with Keeneland Select – no reason to go elsewhere 

#1 All round good operator

Online sports betting is currently illegal in Kentucky, the only exceptions being for horse racing, but then only for pari-mutuel (pool) betting. All other types of online betting remain illegal in the Blue Grass state. As far as Keeneland Select goes, it is definitely a worthy contender and deserves our vote of confidence on many levels, not just as the host of the Keeneland Select Derby event.

#2 Tasty welcome bonus

Keeneland has a fantastic welcome bonus for new sign ups, which if you were to time directly ahead of Derby day could prove a nice boost for your betting bankroll. You’ll find there’s also plenty to keep you engaged with Keeneland long after the Derby event.

#3 Highly competitive odds

Our odds comparison revealed that the odds posted at Keeneland are on a par with those available from top US sportsbooks. Due to the pari-mutuel style of betting, there are slightly less betting markets, but more than enough for the Keeneland Select Derby event to keep the majority of bettors entertained. 

#4 Faultless betting platform

As well as an easy-to-use betting platform and app, customer support at Keeneland is absolutely top class, with a number of different ways to get in touch with the team. The betting platform is legal in 30 different US states, so fans of horse racing betting in the US have a fair chance of being able to get involved.

#5 Top class live streaming

Naturally, attending the Keeneland Select Derby is the ideal scenario, or you’ll be missing out on all of the fun that goes with the event; not to mention watching two huge horse racing events on one of 1000 TVs at the racetrack. But, if you can’t attend in person, you’ll be pleased to know that live streaming and replays of previous races are just two of Keeneland’s specialties.

Useful Keeneland Select Derby betting tip vocabulary – some racing terminology explained

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to horse racing, learning to read form and wagering. If you are a beginner to this sport, you are likely to find certain racing terminology in our horse racing betting tips a little confusing.

Below are some of the most common recurring words or phrases that you are likely to come across:

  • Filly – a female horse under the age of four years
  • Colt – an uncastrated male horse under the age of four
  • Gelding – a castrated male horse any age
  • Weight – the specified amount of weight the horse must carry in a race, which includes jockey, saddle and any supplementary lead weights needed
  • Distance – the length of the race in miles and/or furlongs (eight furlongs = 1 mile)
  • Surface – whether the race is run on turf or dirt (sand)
  • Right-handed/left-handed – the direction of the race, clockwise or anti-clockwise
  • Going – the condition of the track surface e.g. good, heavy etc.
  • Purse – the total amount of prize money for a race
  • Blinkers – eye coverings that prevent the horse looking to the side
  • Colors or silks – the color of the jacket and cap worn by the jockey
  • Nose, head, length – measures of distance between the winner and/or placed horses
  • Outsider – a horse that is not expected to win
  • Takeout – the commission deducted from the betting pool before bets are settled

Conclusion – good news all round

The Keeneland Select Derby event gives you the best of both worlds. Watching and wagering on two of the biggest annual racing events in the US and enjoying two fantastic family days out at a very nominal cost.

Keeneland’s pari-mutuel style of wagering allows you to bet on these two classic US horse races legally, either at the racetrack or online via its own betting site in many different states. Make sure you read our exclusive horse racing betting tips for this unique event and you’ll have even more chances to make a profit from your wagers.

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Keeneland Select Derby FAQ – 350 words

❓ What is the Keeneland Select Derby?

The Keeneland Select Derby is a unique annual event centered on two of the classic US horse races. You can find out all about the event, the races, how to bet on them and where to find the best betting tips by checking in at

🏇 Is it legal to bet at the Keeneland Select Derby?

Pari-mutuel or pool betting is permitted for this event. Keeneland Select is legally able to offer this type of betting in 30 US states. To find out which states are included, how this type of betting works and to get some expertly curated wagering tips, be sure to check out our Keeneland Select Derby coverage at

🏆 Is there a good selection of odds and bet types for the Keeneland Select Derby

As the event features coverage of two of the biggest annual racing events held in the US, you are sure to find competitive odds and some unique betting markets. Betting is all done on a pari-mutuel basis at Keeneland Select, so check in at to see how they compare to other standard US sportsbooks.

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