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Triple Crown Betting Guide – Where To Bet, Odds & Winners 2023

Author: American Gambler Staff | Last Updated: September 28, 2023 | Fact Checked By: Josh Collacchi

The Triple Crown is a standard fixture in horse racing that dates back over 100 years to 1919. However, it wasn't until December 1950 that it became officially known as the Triple Crown. Today, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes collectively make up the Triple Crown horse races, but each race is unique in terms of track, distance, and format. 

The Triple Crown races span more than 35 days and over time, the gap between the three races has been altered. From 1969 until the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the schedule, length, and order remained constant. 

Where to Bet on the Triple Crown

How To Bet On The Triple Crown

Horses usually participate in one race monthly at a nearby or local racecourse. However, the Triple Crown holds special importance as horses compete in three races across five weeks, covering varying distances and locations in the eastern US. 

Winning the Triple Crown requires conquering all three challenging races, which also adds a challenge to Triple Crown betting. Many factors change a horse's ability from one race to another, and bettors have to follow all the details as closely as possible.

The betting lines in Triple Crown odds are displayed a little differently than in other sports. On most sportsbooks, bettors could see “1/1” or “4/1” (or other combinations). 1/1 means the bettor can wager $1 to win $1. 4/1 means $1 will net $4 if the bet wins.   

After getting a handle on the basics of Triple Crown odds, bettors have to understand the various markets available to them for their Triple Crown bets. 

To Win

One of the most common bets is choosing which horse and jockey will win.

To Place

To place in horse racing means to come in second. With this bet, bettors can wager who they think will finish the race in first or second place. 

To Show

Following winning and placing, a horse “shows” if it finishes in third place. If a bettor wagers a horse to show, he or she is betting it will finish in first, second, or third place.

Exacta

An exacta bet selects two specific horses to finish in first and second place, respectively.  

Quinella

This is like the exacta; however, the two selections can finish in either position.

Trifecta

The trifecta bet has three selections to win, place and show, and all three must finish in that order.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are also available in Triple Crown betting, but these vary between sportsbooks. These could include an over/under bet for the winner's finishing time, if a horse will stop running and more. 

The Triple Crown Races

Although certain features of the Triple Crown races have changed over the years, their locations haven't. There are three standard fixtures that are indelible components of the event.

Kentucky Derby

Every year, the Triple Crown commences its journey with the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve in May. Since its inception in 1875, the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY, has been recognized as America's preeminent equestrian event. Renowned as the inaugural race of the Triple Crown series, the event is contested on a dirt track spanning 1 1/4 miles. In total, 20 horses contend for glory in the Derby.

Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes is the ‘second jewel in the Triple Crown' and is conducted every third Saturday of May, two weeks following the Kentucky Derby. It originated in 1873 and has been hosted at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland. The competition borrows its name from a colt that earned the first victory at the track in 1870, known as the Dinner Party Stakes.

The Preakness Stakes, covering a distance of 1 3/16 miles, is the shortest track of the Triple Crown. Only up to 14 horses can participate.

Triple crown betting guide - where to bet, odds & winners 2023

Belmont Stakes

The final event of the Triple Crown series is the Belmont Stakes. It dates back to 1867, which makes it the oldest of the three events. August Belmont, a financier, sports enthusiast and diplomat, is the namesake for this race. 

Since its inception, this competition has been held at various distances and tracks. Nevertheless, since 1905, Belmont Park, close to New York City, has been hosting this event. The track has been set at 1.5 miles since 1926, earning it the title of the lengthiest track in the championship.

The Belmont Stakes, referred to as the Test of the Champion by the horse racing community, occurs in early June, three weeks after the conclusion of the Preakness Stakes. Although many people are most familiar with the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes only allows the most elite horses and jockeys to compete for the title.

Triple Crown Betting Strategy

The Kentucky Derby is preceded by 35 races, encompassing nearly all the major events for 3-year-old horses. Accumulating points across these races is essential to securing a coveted Kentucky Derby spot. 

This is an informative style guide for bettors, providing some insight into how the horses may run. However, it's also important to look at other factors, such as past performances on a particular track, the status of the jockey (recent injuries or other health issues), the weather and more. 

Past Performances

The future cannot be predicted based on past performance alone. However, analyzing a horse's past performance can give valuable information about its strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, informed choices can be made. 

Jockey Capabilities

A competent jockey is essential in adapting to unexpected situations and planning strategies for success. Additionally, a trainer's expertise ensures the horse is in top condition for race day.

Health Condition

The performance of a horse greatly depends on its condition. Hence, while making a choice, this is crucial information to factor in. 

Racing Conditions

Variables like weather and track conditions have an impact on race outcomes. It is wise to consider these factors and assess performance in comparable circumstances. A horse that lacks endurance will struggle to perform well on a lengthy course.

Betting Value

While selecting a winning horse is important, it's also essential to factor in its likelihood of success as a winning bet. Usually, the top pick generates little profit, particularly as betting interest grows closer to the event.

Alternatively, a horse with high payout potential, but one that you have little faith in winning, is not a viable option either. An effective approach to adopt is refraining from betting solely on one horse. Rather, mitigating risk by dividing your wagers between two horses is more prudent. 

It's highly probable that even if you have only one winning selection, you can still emerge victorious in the overall outcome.

Position

The post position holds vital importance for Triple Crown bettors. The initial gates, numbered 1-5, do not receive much significance as they are closer to the inside rail.

Bet Responsibly

Place your wager within a limit that you are at ease to lose. It's understandable to wish for the recovery of your funds after an unfortunate outcome. However, resist the urge to recoup your losses by increasing your betting amount.

Past Triple Crown Winners and Betting History

Since the inception of the Triple Crown in 1919, there haven't been many horses that have become Triple Crown winners. Plenty have won multiple events, but only 13 have taken all three in a year. Sir Barney did it the first year of the event. It would take another 11 years before Gallant Fox followed suit, but only five for Omaha to hit the trifecta. 

This sporadic pattern continued until Citation won in 1948. It would then take another 25 years before the next big winner. However, the wait was worth it, as the horse to win the title in 1973 was Secretariat.

Secretariat was a favorite among bettors owing to its impressive skills, and it created history by setting records that remain unbeaten even today. However, the favorite doesn't always win. 

In the 2022 Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike had odds of 80-1 to win but surprised everyone with the victory. Four years earlier, Justify went into the Kentucky Derby at 3-1 in the Triple Crown odds, but came out on top. 

American Gambler Staff