How to Pick and Bet on a Kentucky Derby Winner

Bet on the horse that everyone else is betting on. Quandi.

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

I usually win enough money to pay for lunch.

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

This Blogger’s Books and Other Items from…

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

The professors hate jackpots like the Pick-6.

My father, a professional gambler, absolutely HATED my betting system. It was a stupid reason for picking a horse but produced one of my few winners.

When your sitting back

In your rose pink Cadillac

Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day

– The Rolling Stones

Dad liked the excitement of big odds and big payoffs. He knew everything about the horse’s past performance, their breeding and who was riding them. That is better than any other kind of bet.

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

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

I came to the conclusion that by living in Kentucky, I needed to know how to bet on horses.

Although I started going to race tracks before I was able to walk, I don’t know much about the horse industry. I didn’t pick Sunday Silence because of my system.

It was written by two statistics professors and not the easiest book to read. You can write to Don at or read his award winning, syndicated column at Just like the lottery, big odds draw a lot of excitement and attention.

Like in the investment world, the winner at race track is the person with a conservative style and discipline.

I stuck to my system.

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

I picked the horse because of an alumni connection to a man I had never met. I go the track a few times a year and bet small amounts. If dad ever met the professors, he would have punched them in the nose.

The professors said that betting to show will produce a winner 52% of the time. It is a driving force for web sites like Google.

Just like the lottery, you don’t see many people winning them. Betting to show fits with my overall philosophy about investing. I can sum up the advice in two statements.

Betting to show is a practice that I follow religiously. I can tell you what horses make the biggest mess. I would bet $10 and win.

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

Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is the founder of McNay Settlement Group in Richmond, Kentucky. Slow and steady works in the financial markets and works at the track too.

The wisdom of crowds concept is really popular now.

He is the author of Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You When The Lottery. (My mother was a sucker for horses with funny names.) I just follow the odds.

The idea is that the marketplace will move with the crowd towards the best outcome. He and I would go to Keeneland every session and we never picked the same horse.

Dad was superstitious and started to believe that my system was jinxing him. He would bet $100 on a horse and lose.

Most of my equine knowledge was gleamed when I worked on the clean-up crew at the Kentucky Horse Park.

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

It drove him absolutely crazy.

Bet on the horse to show, not to win or place. I stick to it today.

Thus the best advice may be to forget all the high powered systems and experts and give it your best guess. . The last one I remember winning was Sunday Silence in 1989. His owner, Arthur Hancock III, had graduated from Vanderbilt and I had received a Masters Degree from Vandy the year before

Leave a Reply