The Kentucky Derby is a little more than a week away, and historical horse racing (HHR) provides Virginia residents for a perfect opportunity to gear up for the big event.
The Kentucky Derby takes place on May 6 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s not only the first race of the Triple Crown, but one of the sport’s most storied events.
There’s plenty of buzz surrounding the Kentucky Derby in Virginia. But until then, residents can warm up with HHRs.
HHRs aren’t traditional horse race betting, but it’s still betting and wagering that has to do with horses. Electronic ones, at least.
Here’s what to know about HHRs in Virginia ahead of the Kentucky Derby.
What is historical horse racing?
Technically, HHRs are not connected to horse racing in the literal sense. Bettors wager on the outcome of thousands of past horse races (hence the name). But information surround the details of the race — such as specific horse names, jockeys and location — remain secret.
HHRs are essentially betting on horse racing but in the form of slot machine play. There’s no skill involved. There are, however, small tidbits of information, such as win percentages for jockey and trainers and horse post position.
Where can I use HHRs in Virginia?
Historical horse racing is available for Virginians in six locations:
- Colonial Downs
And those six spots are incredibly popular. In February (the most recent Historical Horse Racing Commission report), HHRs combined for a handle of $338,115,798.92. Looking at the first two months of 2023 combined, Virginians wagered $689,726.162.80.
The 2022 total handle surpassed $4 billion. Specifically, HHR bets came out to $4,042,351,553.40.
Historical horse racing isn’t just a Virginia favorite
HHRs remain popular outside of Virginia.
Churchill Downs, one of the biggest names in the horse racing industry, owns about 60% of the machines in Kentucky. In fiscal year 2022, Kentucky residents wagered a record $6.8 billion on HHRs.
HHRs are currently also available in Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Wyoming.
Can you bet on the Kentucky Derby with HHRs?
No, you cannot bet on the Kentucky Derby via HHR.
Technically, there’s a minuscule chance that one of the randomized undisclosed events you’re betting on could be a Kentucky Derby race. But you’d never know.
In terms of betting on this year’s race, Virginians have plenty of options. Colonial Downs, the only in-state track with live racing, offers wagers on simulcast races. Four other locations do, too:
- Breakers Sports Grille in Henrico
- Buckets Bar and Grill in Chesapeake
- Ponies and Pints in Richmond
- The Windmill OTB Sports Grill in Collinsville
If you’re looking to bet on the Kentucky Derby online, fret not. Virginia offers both TVG and DK Horse as ways to wager.
Similarly, FanDuel just purchased TVG, which is one of the longstanding online betting/streaming options in the horse racing industry. It’s worth noting that FanDuel Racing is also available in state, too.
Bettors also have the Twinspires horse betting app in Virginia they can use as well.
Different horse racing bets available in Virginia
While it’s still a little early to look at Kentucky Derby odds, you can always plan on how you’ll wager.
Virginia allows its bettors a number of different ways to bet on the Kentucky Derby and other major horse racing events.
Virginians can place a win bet. To cash in, you must pick the correct horse to finish first. Pretty simple.
Residents can also wager a place bet. It’s a straight bet on which horse will finish second, but it also pays for those that win. Show bets are for those who want to pick a specific horse to finish in third place or better.
Additionally, Virginians can place a win/place/show bet. To win this one, you’d bet on a single horse to place within the top three. If the horse comes in first you get paid for all three bets.
Other bets are available as well:
- Exacta: Betting on two horses — one to win and one to place second in a specific order (or pay extra to “box” them and they can finish in either order).
- Trifecta: Placing a bet on three horses to win, place second and show, but in the winning order (can also be boxed).
- Superfecta: Predict the top four finishers.
- Daily double, Pick 3 or Pick 4: These bets involve picking the winner of consecutive races. You have to win every race for the ticket to pay.