How to Pick and Bet on a Kentucky Derby Winner

If dad ever met the professors, he would have punched them in the nose.

Bet on the horse that everyone else is betting on. It is a driving force for web sites like Google. I can tell you what horses make the biggest mess. The last one I remember winning was Sunday Silence in 1989.

It was written by two statistics professors and not the easiest book to read. I stick to it today.

Bet on the horse to show, not to win or place. I would bet $10 and win.

I usually win enough money to pay for lunch. Slow and steady works in the financial markets and works at the track too. You can write to Don at or read his award winning, syndicated column at

It drove him absolutely crazy.

As the son of a professional gambler, people often ask me for betting advice.

For whatever reason, my system has failed me at Kentucky Derbies.

The book bases the ability to pick horses on an economic theory known as the wisdom of crowds.

I stuck to my system. .

Dad liked the excitement of big odds and big payoffs.

I picked the horse because of an alumni connection to a man I had never met. It was a stupid reason for picking a horse but produced one of my few winners.

I came to the conclusion that by living in Kentucky, I needed to know how to bet on horses. (My mother was a sucker for horses with funny names.) I just follow the odds. He would bet $100 on a horse and lose.

If a horse moves from 10 to 1 to 2 to 1, it is probably a good horse to bet on.

The professors frown on exactas, daily doubles or any bet that exhibits large risk.

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is the founder of McNay Settlement Group in Richmond, Kentucky.

When your sitting back

In your rose pink Cadillac

Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day

– The Rolling Stones

When I go to the track, I don’t look at the racing form, jockeys, past history or pick horses with funny names.

The professors said that betting to show will produce a winner 52% of the time.

Like in the investment world, the winner at race track is the person with a conservative style and discipline. Betting to show fits with my overall philosophy about investing. His owner, Arthur Hancock III, had graduated from Vanderbilt and I had received a Masters Degree from Vandy the year before. I can sum up the advice in two statements.

Betting to show is a practice that I follow religiously.

My father, a professional gambler, absolutely HATED my betting system. Just like the lottery, big odds draw a lot of excitement and attention.

Just like the lottery, you don’t see many people winning them.

Although there are people more qualified to give Derby tips, like many financial commentators, I won’t let lack of expertise stop me.

The wisdom of crowds concept is really popular now.

Thus the best advice may be to forget all the high powered systems and experts and give it your best guess.

The idea is that the marketplace will move with the crowd towards the best outcome. That is better than any other kind of bet.

Although I started going to race tracks before I was able to walk, I don’t know much about the horse industry. Quandi.

Dad was superstitious and started to believe that my system was jinxing him. He knew everything about the horse’s past performance, their breeding and who was riding them. I didn’t pick Sunday Silence because of my system.

The professors hate jackpots like the Pick-6.

Most of my equine knowledge was gleamed when I worked on the clean-up crew at the Kentucky Horse Park. I go the track a few times a year and bet small amounts. He and I would go to Keeneland every session and we never picked the same horse.

This Blogger’s Books and Other Items from…

I found a book called Racetrack Betting: The Professors’ Guide to Strategies by Peter Asch and Richard E.

He is the author of Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You When The Lottery

Categories: horses bet, horses betting

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