Kentucky Derby
Cryptocurrencies,  United States

When does the Kentucky Derby start and can I bet on it with crypto?

What you need to know for this Saturday’s big race

On Saturday at 6:50 p.m., 21 of the most esteemed classes of 3-year-old horses will run one and a quarter miles at Churchill Downs racetrack. In the U.S., the fun starts on NBC at 2:30 p.m. Eastern and it will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live.

Can you bet on the Kentucky Derby with crypto?

In short: kinda.

The operators of US Racing, a racing info and betting website, are bullish on the future. “Right now, while punters are limited to a handful of private international gaming companies that will accept deposits with crypto currency, players with crypto wallets can use Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash or Litecoin to make a deposit and bet on the Kentucky Derby,” said Tim Maxwell, operations director of US Racing.

Meanwhile, the bros at want to decentralize betting and plan to add a sportsbook in the future. Their website looks exactly like you’d expect a blockchain gambling site to look.



Users in some regions such as the EU can place legal bitcoin bets over at Bodog.U.S. residents are blocked on the site, but at Nitrogen Sports, they ask that you *wink* open an anonymous account and confirm that online gambling is “legal in your jurisdiction.” It looks to be a similar operation over at, who has a special page set up for the Derby on Saturday.

Again, I don’t gamble, so we won’t have our usual thrilling reviews here. You can have just as much fun by telling a friend that if your horse wins you’ll pay for the Uber home.

Nitrogen bet screen
Nitrogen bet screen

What’s the winning bet for the Kentucky Derby?

[Editor’s note: This is solely the opinion of the author and not of Modern Consensus. Gambling on horses entails significant amount of risk and, in many jurisdictions, is outright illegal. Modern Consensus takes no responsibility if readers heed the advice of a stranger on the internet.]

The man to follow on Twitter is Daily Racing Forum National Handicapper and the only guy in the Derby with a cooler name than the horses: Mike Watchmaker. The Derby is a race for 3-year-old horses, but two of them, as Watchmaker says, “were unraced as 2-year-olds.” Justify raced for the first time on February 18 and Magnum Moon didn’t race until January 13.

If you want to know how these horses run, it’s useful to watch their final workouts. These are on all different tracks and for all different lengths, so it’s hard to compare their times. The Daily Racing Form noted that Bolt D’Oro had a “perfect workout.” Magnum moon showed “good effort.” The still unbeaten Justify had a great final workout, which in Watchmaker’s breathless prose “justifiably makes Justify the Kentucky Derby favorite.”

If you keep up with cryptocurrency prices on CoinMarketCap, you may have seen what some call “the flippening” where Cardano edges out Litecoin. It’s the same in horse racing. Someone can come from behind and take that spot. The horse most likely to do that is Hofburg who was an upsetter in the Florida Derby and took second.

If I have to pick some horse I’d say Justify in front with a likely to be a repeat of Santa Anita Derby where Bolt d’Oro took second, Magnum Moon in the top and a flippening from Hofburg.


  1. Justify
  2. Bolt d’Oro
  3. Magnum Moon
  4. Hofburg

As in horse racing and investing: past performance is not a sign of future returns. This is just something that’s way more fun to talk about and we hope you enjoy it too.

Happy race day, everybody!

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Brendan Sullivan is a writer, producer, and author of the memoir Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives. Disclosure: he owns cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter.