Handicapping Tips For The Kentucky Derby 2024

On May 7 at Churchill Downs, 20 of the best thoroughbred racehorses in North America will battle for one of the most prestigious prizes in the sport when the 2024 Kentucky Derby takes place.

It will not only be owners, trainers and jockeys willing their horses on to victory, but many spectators and bettors wagering on the race. If you are planning to place bets on the 2024 Kentucky Derby, there are a few handicapping tips that need to be considered.


The most important handicapping tip when deciding which horses to back in the 2024 Kentucky Derby is their form. The clearest way to discover a horse’s form is by researching its recent results, which can be viewed on most horse racing websites and databases.

Ideally, the horses would have raced within the past 30 days. This not only provides a strong indication of race form but generally race fitness, too. If they haven’t raced that recently, research the horse’s recent workout stats, as well as how well they have performed after having similar length breaks.

When looking at the form guide, go beyond recent race finishes and delve a bit deeper to examine the quality of the field from those races, and check the conditions, surface, and race distance. If all of these align with the Kentucky Derby conditions, surface, and distance then it will give a good idea of how a horse might fare at Churchill Downs.



Once you have whittled the field down to a smaller shortlist based on form, it’s time to evaluate a horse’s ability. Now, when dealing specifically with the Kentucky Derby, all horses in the race will possess a high ability score or ranking.

There are numerous databases and charts that detail the ability of the horses racing in the Kentucky Derby. It is a good idea to wait until the prep races have been run in case this affects a horse’s ability score.


As mentioned regarding a horse’s form, the conditions of the track surface can make a big difference to the outcome of the race. The conditions can vary based on the weather before and during the race, and some horses race better on certain surfaces more than others.

The track conditions will fall under four categories: firm (a dry, firm surface), good (slightly softer than firm), yielding (a track with more give and bounce after recent rain), and soft (a surface with a large amount of moisture). On very rare occasions, a track might be labelled as heavy (the wettest possible racing conditions).

Prior to making your picks for the 2024 Kentucky Derby, check what the conditions are at Churchill Downs and view the horses form again to see how well they have performed in those conditions.



A great trainer and a great jockey combination may not make a bad horse win a race, while an excellent horse can still win under a less experienced jockey. When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, all the horses are accomplished and the jockeys and trainers vastly experienced, so this is a chance to look at the recent performances of the connections.

Like any sport, jockeys and trainers can experience good and bad form, where confidence is either high or low. Whether that might affect a horse’s preparations, the pre-race strategy, or the jockey’s mid-race decision making, how well the connections have performed in recent races can make a difference at the Kentucky Derby.


The least important of the handicapping tips for the Kentucky Derby, but breeding can be used when still undecided after horses have survived the first four steps of this handicapping guide.

For the less experienced horse racing bettor, it can be tempting to back a horse simply because its parents were superstar champions, but it doesn’t necessarily translate to a winning racehorse.


Once you have gone through these steps (particularly the first four) you should have a good idea of which horses look like solid bets for the 2024 Kentucky Derby. You can learn more accurately about it if you check the official sportsbook for the Derby:

It is advised to wait until the day of the race to make your wagers as any number of variables could influence a horse’s chances of victory.

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