Guide for Triple Crown Horse Betting in Pennsylvania
It’s less than two weeks until the Kentucky Derby, a pivotal annual event for horse racing.
The Triple Crown series, which includes the famous Kentucky Derby or “Run for the Roses,” is approaching quickly for racing fans in Pennsylvania. It’s as fast as the thundering horses racing down the homestretch at Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem.
With the Kentucky Derby betting about to begin, it’s time to delve deeper into the details of the first race. The likely favorites are Forte, who won the Breeders’ Cup two-year-old championship and the Florida Derby, and Angel of Empire, who emerged victorious in the Risen Star and Arkansas Derby. Angel of Empire is a local horse that’s expected to garner a lot of attention.
Brad Cox trains the colt, which will be ridden by the renowned jockey Flavien Prat. Pennsylvania has a significant connection to the Triple Crown, and here’s a brief overview to prepare you not just for the most well-known two minutes in sports but for the entire Triple Crown.
First Glimpse into the 2023 Kentucky Derby
PA bettors followed prep-race series during winter and the spring-long road to Kentucky Derby, where a 20 horse field was determined. Based upon the performance, While Forte and Angel of Empire are current front-runners, but several other contenders also emerged throughout other major stakes races.
Practical Move claimed the first spot at the Santa Anita Derby, and Kingsbarns won the Louisiana Derby. Despite not running often, Kingsbarns has impressive three wins in three starts. Other contenders include Tapit Trice, who won the Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass Stakes, and Two Phil’s- the winner of Jeff Ruby Steaks.
Bettors witnessed a massive upset at Wood Memorial, where 59-1 longshot Lord Miles came first. Then, Derma Sotogake conquered UAE Derby in Dubai, and Confidence Game won the Rebel Stakes, and those two rounded up the contenders.
The Basics of Triple Crown Betting
Recent history shows that in the Derby, the top leaders in the points series, like Forte and Angel of Empire in this case, typically finish in the top four. Including a long shot with the leaders in your trifecta or superfecta bet is vital. For instance, the favored Epicenter and Zandon finished second and third the previous year. So one approach is to place a 50-cent trifecta box bet that includes the two Derby points leaders and two other horses, with one having long odds. This way, you might get a decent payout.
There are numerous ways to place bets, the most obvious being a Win bet offering a reasonable price. A Place bet pays out if your horse finishes first or second, with a smaller payout. A Show bet pays for first, second, or third place.
The exacta bet pays out for the order of the top two finishers. Box this bet to cover the cost of the specific order, as a $5 exacta box with two horses would cost $10. A trifecta is the exact order of the top three finishers, while a superfecta is for the top four. Both bets are highly lucrative yet challenging to win.
Parimutuel Betting Explanation
Parimutuel in PA sports betting is a system where all wagers placed on an event are pooled together, connecting bettors online and at the racetrack and providing them with the same odds. Unlike other sports, you cannot lock in a price in advance as the odds only become official at post time.
While fixed odds betting for select horse races was introduced by New Jersey last year, it will gradually gain popularity across the industry. Currently, the odds are not made official until the start of the race.
History of Triple Crown
Since the 1860s, the Triple Crown races have been an integral part of American racing folklore, with the Belmont being the oldest, first run in 1867, even before significant sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB. As a result, these races are deeply ingrained institutions that have spanned several centuries and multiple family generations.
Before the introduction of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984, these three races comprised the entire primary horse racing season, with many horses competing in all three. As a result, the public hype surrounding any thoroughbred with a shot at winning all three races was unparalleled. Yet, throughout horse racing history, only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown, with Justify in 2018 and American Pharoah in 2015 breaking a 37-year dry spell dating back to Affirmed in 1978.
The Competition Lingo
If you want to blend in at the horse races, try using these phrases:
When “the track is fast“, it means the conditions are perfect, and early speed can give horses an advantage. If the track is good, it’s drying out from recent rain and can be heavy, which favors “closers” over speed horses.
“Slop” is when the track is wet from heavy rain, which can be either advantageous or disadvantageous for horses depending on their preference.
“Racing luck” is a key factor in the crowded Derby race, as traffic can make or break a horse’s performance. Tactical speed is essential in getting a good position, but a speed duel can burn horses out too quickly. Also, distance is a significant talking point in the Derby, as none of the horses have gone 1 1/4 miles before.
Fractions, such as the time at quarter-mile, half-mile, six-furlongs, and 1-mile marks, are crucial to the race and can determine the winner. When a horse fades from the lead, it’s said to have “stopped like a dollar watch.”
“Wheeled him up and down” refers to taking an exacta bet with a specific horse in the first slot and the entire field in the second slot, hoping for a long shot to win and the chosen horse to place.
Kentucky Derby x’s and o’s
Here are some key differences between the Triple Crown events. First, the Kentucky Derby is a unique race as it covers a distance of 1 1/4 miles, a distance no horse has ever raced before. Therefore, it leads to many exciting finishes as all horses are required to adjust to this new distance.
In this race, the best horse may not always be the winner, as the horse with the best trip often wins. For instance, a horse starting from the inside post position may face difficulties if stuck behind fast horses in the race’s early stages.
The Kentucky Derby has been taking place since 1875, and this year marks its 149th edition. The race will be held on Saturday, May 6, at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
The Preakness Stakes Event
The Preakness Stakes, held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, is a 1 and 3/16 miles race that usually favors front-end speed. In addition, the field size is about half that of the Kentucky Derby, allowing for more tactical runs. Winning the Derby often sets up a horse for a strong showing in the Preakness, but with the risk of injury, some owners opt out of entering their horses.
Recent winners, Rombauer and Early Voting, did not run in the Derby. This is the 148th edition of the Preakness, which was first run in 1873. The race is scheduled for Saturday, May 20.
About the Belmont Stakes
The previous information regarding the Preakness highlights the challenges of achieving a Triple Crown victory. In recent years, Belmont Park created a mini-Breeders’ Cup on Belmont Day, offering multiple high-stakes races, including the Belmont Stakes. This innovative move helped the track maintain betting interest and made the Triple Crown implications a bonus rather than a necessity.
Belmont Park’s signature Saturday has become a grand celebration in its own right, with the Triple Crown pursuit serving as an additional draw but not the sole focus. This year marks the 155th edition of the race, which was first run in 1867. The race is scheduled for Saturday, June 10, at Belmont Park in New York.
How is Pennsylvania connected to the Triple Crown?
The state of Pennsylvania has a strong connection to the Triple Crown events. Two Pennsylvania-bred horses, Lil E Tee and Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby in 1992 and 2004, respectively. Smarty Jones also came close to winning the Triple Crown.
Pennsylvania residents have easy access to the Preakness in Baltimore, just an hour’s drive away. However, the upcoming Belmont Stakes on June 10 also has a special connection to Pennsylvania through Bob Levy, a Philadelphia native and Penn graduate. Levy triumphed when his horse Bet Twice, owned by him and denied Alysheba a Triple Crown sweep, won the 1987 Belmont Stakes with odds of 8-1. He also held Atlantic City Race Course in Hamilton, NJ, and Housebuster, a Racing Hall of Fame inductee, in 2013.
Which Race Can be Considered the Most Philly?
The Kentucky Derby has the closest sentiment to Philly. One of the reasons is the Pennsylvania Derby, held at Parx in September. It is often called the Kentucky Derby of the North and has become a significant event in the Triple Crown landscape.
The race features many horses that also ran in the Kentucky Derby, with its growing stature attracting a purse of $1 million, thanks in part to the presence of Parx Casino. As a result, Pennsylvania bettors can witness horses like Hot Rod Charlie and Taiba, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and Zandon, the third-place finisher in the 2022 Kentucky Derby.
Additionally, Smarty Jones, a beloved icon in Pennsylvania, is remembered by Parx through an annual $300,000 Pennsylvania Derby prep race named in his honor.