If you are an ardent online sports betting fan in New Jersey, the Kentucky Derby just became more exciting.
DraftKings Sportsbook patrons can engage in a free-to-play pool for Saturday’s Run for the Roses. There’s a guaranteed $146,000 payout, a fitting tie-in to the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. And the Kentucky Derby pool prizes are significant.
Prize pools are not new to DraftKings, though. Far from it.
In fact, DraftKings allows its customers to create private pools or opt into public pools such as the horse racing pool for the Derby or the 2020 presidential election pool. To find the pools section on DraftKings, log in or create an account and tap or click on the “Pools” tab.
Most pools are free to play, just like this one.
How the DraftKings Derby pool works
For the Kentucky Derby pool, there are eight questions. Scores will be tabulated based on how many correct answers you give. And the payouts are handsome, especially considering there is no risk. After all, it’s free to play.
- First: $14,600
- Second: $5,000
- Third: $2,500
- Fourth and fifth: $1,000
- Sixth-15th: $500
- 16th-30th: $250
- 31st-530th: $100
More than 5,000 players will receive $5.
Of course, you must enter the contest before the start of Saturday’s race. And there’s only one entry per person.
Questions in the Kentucky Derby pool
The questions are fun and intriguing.
This pool starts by asking contestants to name the winner of the race. Questions two and three are in regard to the second- and third-place finishers. You also have the option to select another horse from the ones placed up.
One question surrounds the winning time of the race, over or under 2:03.
The last three Derbys have been higher than that time. But this year’s heavy Derby favorite Tiz the Law won the Travers, a similar-distance race, in 2:00.95 last month.
Here’s a look at some of the other questions included on the DraftKings Kentucky Derby pool:
- Will the saddle cloth of the winning horse be odd or even? Tiz the Law is number 17.
- Will the winning post position be from 1-10 or 11-18? Four of the better-known horses — NY Traffic, Honor A.P., Tiz the Law and Authentic — occupy the 15-18 posts.
- Who will finish higher, Authentic or Honor A.P.? This is a great prop, because they have each beaten one another this year.
- Who finishes higher, King Guillermo or Thousand Words?
Horse betting and NJ sportsbooks: a waiting game
The prop questions and the number of confirmed contestants — more than 29,000 and rising late Thursday — indicate DraftKings’ forthcoming involvement in the “Sport of Kings.”
Johnny Avello, the sportsbook director for DraftKings, told PlayNJ recently that he expects DraftKings to make horse betting a prominent part of book operations once the industry irons out the ramifications of fixed-odds betting.
Fixed odds enable a patron to lock in guaranteed odds of a race at a designated point in advance, rather than bet with the current rules, which is post time. The industry awaits a flood of new wagers from high-level players once everything materializes.
Avello, a lifelong horse racing fan, sees an additional synergy between DraftKings and the Sport of Kings. He indicated that DraftKings could branch out and offer a niche market for what he believes would entice horse racing bettors: head-to-head props, one horse vs. another.
The props, unlike other horse racing wagers, provide returns of close to even money on most bets. Horse racing has lost many fans because of its high takeout percentages — from 25% to 30% — on many exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers. But sports betting leaders see a lucrative new market for horse racing bets that would be closer to the odds patrons see on other sports.
The props aspect unfurled in this DraftKings Derby pool reveals the potential future for NJ online sportsbooks — and perhaps much of the entire sports betting industry — in horse racing.