Run For The Roses - Your 2024 Kentucky Derby Preview

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
The 2024 Kentucky Derby is Saturday, with post time at 6:57 p.m.


  • A 20-horse field is expected to enter the starting game Saturday for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
  • Post time is 6:57 p.m. ET with the race broadcast on both NBC and Peacock.
  • Mage won the 2023 Kentucky Derby and went on to finish third in the Preakness. The last Triple Crown winner was Justify in 2018.

Mix up the mint juleps, put on a big fancy hat and get in the spirit for the 2024 Kentucky Derby.

There is nothing in American sports like the Kentucky Derby and the start of the Triple Crown series the next six weeks. It’s called the greatest two minutes in sports. The Derby is celebrating its 150th running, making it the longest continuously run sporting event on American soil.

It’s a banner day at Michigan Sportsbooks, but only a select few carry the best odds.  FanDuel Sportsbook and  TwinSpires will have all the odds for the Derby right up to post time, and you know they’ll change just before the race starts.

Who Are the Front Runners?

You never know what you’ll get at a Kentucky Derby, but the two horses with the most money on them entering the weekend are Blue Grass Stakes champion Sierra Leone and Florida Derby champ Fierceness.

Sierra Leone had 5-2 odds early in the week and is trained by Chad Brown and will be rode by Tyler Gafflione. Brown is 0-7 in Derby runs, but has a prize her in a Sierra Leone who sold as a colt for $2.3 million, the most of any horse in the field. He won the Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans in February and the Blue Grass Stakes at nearby Kenneland by 1.5 lengths.

Fierceness is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is no stranger to the Derby. Fierceness is his 64th horse to run. Pletcher horses won in both 2010 and 2017. Fierceness checks in at 3-1 odds. He drew the 16th post position though, which makes it hard for a horse to come around.

What About the Dark Horses?

There are two more horses with good odds who check the contender category.

Catching Freedom had 8-1 odds early in the week. He won the Louisiana Derby and is 3-0-1 in four starts. He’s been lightly raced. His post position is four.

Renowned trainer D. Wayne Lukas is bringing Just Steel to the Derby. His Dad was Justify, the last Triple Crown winner. Lukas has won four Kentucky Derby’s I the past, but the last one was in 1999. It’s jockey Keith Asmussen’s first ride in the Derby. He has just two wins in 11 starts, but the pedigree is there.

Fun With the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is an American sports institution with a signature cocktail (mint julep) fashion style (big hats) and phrase (“Down the stretch they come!”).

It’s also become more of a worldwide race. A pair of Japanese-trained horses are in the field: T O Password (30-1) and Forever Young (10-1), but no Asian-trained horse has won the Derby yet.

You can wow your friends at your Derby party with some quick trivia, like the longest long shot ever to win the Derby was Rich Strike in 2022, the most wins out of a post position is No. 5 which has produced 10 winners and the most wins every by a jockey is five.

Last year, the Derby saw $188.7 million in bets placed, the most in history, although that total will likely be surpassed this year.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.