Kentucky Derby betting games for a party

Are you looking to add a little excitement to your Kentucky Derby party this year? Here's a list of some fun betting games for your Kentucky Derby Party.

Kentucky Derby Party Games for Friends and Family Gatherings

Published on May 6th, 2023 - Updated April 23, 2024

Kentucky Derby betting games for a party

Are you looking to add a little excitement to your Kentucky Derby party this year? Here's a list of some fun betting games for your Kentucky Derby Party.

Spin the bottle bet selector

Instead of the usual sweepstake make this year's version more interesting and do your bit for the environment by recycling that bottle of bourbon whisky (or bottles) you used to create the perfect Mint Julep  All participants sit in a large circle and you spin the bottle, the first person it points at gets first choice of runners; and keep on going until every runner is taken.  Cash games may be illegal so why not give a full bottle of the said bourbon to the winner!

How long will "My Old Kentucky Home" song drag on for/last?

Let's be honest it always goes on too long, but to make it more interesting line up a series of bourbon shots and grab a stop watch.  Every time to stopwatch hits 30 seconds everyone has to take a shot.  The bonus in this game is that if it goes on for four minutes you can't remember the first three minutes.

Odds or evens for the clean-up

The real measurement of how much fun your Kentucky Derby party was is how long it takes to clean up afterwards.  So this is a special game reserved just for the hosting husband and wife.  As the starting gates open for the big race the host wife calls odds or evens.  The winner is determined not by the horse that crosses the line first - but the horse that crosses the line last!  The losing partner better get ready for the big clean-up ALONE.

The show parlay

Keeping it simple makes it fun for the entire group and that’s why I always recommend the Show Parlay. Nobody in the group needs to be an expert to participate. Here is how it works: all participants (2 or more people) put up a share, whether it’s a $1, $5 or more, and the group designates an order for making a show bet in each race. More details on the show parlay here.

A game of chance with your Kentucky Derby Winner

This game is quick and simple. You just need a classic Derby hat and the names of all 20 horses. You put all the horses names in the hat and take your pick. Whichever horse you draw is your Kentucky Derby winner. If your horse wins you win the game. It's a simple game of luck, no strategy needed. 

The Kentucky Derby winner draft

While this game requires a little more skillful thinking, it can still be one of your party favorites. Similar to fantasy football you will make your contender selection based on who you think is your best bet. However, create your list wisely with your top pick all the way down to your bottom selection, especially if there are 20 players involved. The winning individual or team (which may be a good idea with 10+ players) will be the one that laid claim to the Derby winner. 

The $5 Draw

The $5 draw is simple and accessible to people without extensive racing knowledge. Write the name of each contender on a slip of paper, and party attendees can draw a name blindly out of a hat for $5. Based on a 20-horse field, the payout is $50 for first, $30 for second, and $20 for third. Learn more.

Kentucky Derby Calcutta

The Calcutta is a livelier betting option and involves more intellectual engagement. Each horse is auctioned off individually, and enthusiasts have the opportunity to bid on the horse they believe will win the Derby. The highest bidder "owns" the horse. We begin with the horse with the longest odds and work up to the morning line favorite. Learn more.

Betting on the Kentucky Derby should only be performed with legal, safe, regulated and secure online betting sites like Please make sure you are breaking no laws when taking part in any betting games on the Kentucky Derby.