Run For The Roses: A WV Betting Guide To The Kentucky Derby

Written By Way Yuhl on April 18, 2019 - Last Updated on September 4, 2020
Kentucky Derby betting in West Virginia

May marks the start of horse racing’s Triple Crown with the prestigious Kentucky Derby. However, sports bettors can bet on horse racing in West Virginia all year long.

If you love horse racing, you love the Kentucky Derby. And if you love the Kentucky Derby, you’ve probably bet on the race – at least with some friends. Well, guess what? There is Kentucky Derby betting in the Mountain State.

West Virginia law makes it legal to place horse racing bets at any of the five West Virginia casinos, as well as online and on mobile betting apps.

Kentucky Derby betting in West Virginia can be found at:

You may have heard that Mardi Gras Sportsbook and Wheeling Island Sportsbook have temporarily suspended sports betting in West Virginia. Good news, though, they are still accepting bets on simulcast horse races.

How to watch the Kentucky Derby in WV

The Run for the Roses is celebrated across the country with mint juleps and fancy hats. This year’s Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, May 4.

Live coverage begins on NBCSN at 12:00 p.m. ET and moves to NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET. Post time is 6:50 p.m. ET.

The Kentucky Derby is more than just one race, though, it is a whole week. Kentucky Derby Week begins at Churchill Downs with opening night on April 27 and plenty of racing and events to follow including:

  • Dawn at the Downs
  • Derby Week Racing
  • Thurby
  • Champions Day
  • Taste of the Derby
  • Kentucky Oaks

Kentucky Derby mobile betting in WV

If the WV sportsbooks are out of your way, there are mobile betting options available for the Kentucky Derby, and other horse races. is an online and mobile app. This app makes it easy to deposit and bet on tracks around the world including the Kentucky Derby. The site has a $100 signup bonus for new users. is an online and mobile app. It has complete wagering service and live streams of horse racing and greyhound racing from tracks across the US. is the official betting site and app of the horse racing cable channel TVG. Watch the races on TVG and place bets on the TVG app. The site offers racing from tracks across the country. New players incentives include doubling the deposit up to $100 and a free chance at the Super 8 $100,000 contest. is the official wagering site of the Kentucky Derby. But it’s not just for the Kentucky Derby. TwinSpirescom offers betting at tracks across the US. The website makes it easy to make deposits and provides a $100 Sign-Up Bonus for new users. is the official betting app for the Daily Racing Form. The Daily Racing Form has a vast amount of horse racing and wagering information. It is the place to go for horse racing research. The site offers betting on track across the US. has generous new player incentives including a 300 percent deposit match after the first $50 or more deposit. is the official betting site and app of the New York Racing Association. Bettors can wager on races from more than 250 race tracks worldwide. New player incentives include a $200 signup bonus among other offers. Players can receive daily bonuses.

West Virginia’s long tradition and love of horse racing

Horse racing has a long and vibrant history in the state of West Virginia. It began legally in the modern era with the formation of the West Virginia Racing Commission in 1931 to oversee racetrack operations.

  • 1933 – Horse racing at the historic and still operating Charles Town Turf Club began.
  • 1937 – Wheeling Downs opened a thoroughbred race track. It closed in 1976.
  • 1951 – Waterford Park, known today as Mountaineer Park, opened and has the only one-mile track in West Virginia.
  • 1959 – Shenandoah Downs in Charles Town. It closed in 1975.

Horse racing did well for the next 40 years.

Then in 1987, it took the great leap forward when the West Virginia legislature passed a bill placing Video Lottery Terminals (slot machines) at Mountaineer Park.

It was followed in 1994 with the legalization of the Racetrack Video Lottery Act making it possible for video lottery machines at all West Virginia racetracks.

Although not directly tied to live horse racing, the law required that a percentage of gaming revenue be used for the live racing purse. This has been a boon for horse racing in WV resulting in close to $1.2 billion in additional prize monies from 1997 to 2016.

WV horse racing continues to grow

Before the installation of Video Lottery Terminals racing purses were in the thousands of dollars. Today, those purses are in the hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. As an example, the West Virginia Derby has a purse of $750,000, and the Charles Town Classic has a purse of $1,250,000.

West Virginia has contributed on average $20 million annually for the past 20 years toward breeding. It is directly tied to helping increase registered racing foals from 174 to as many as 671 in 2007.

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Way Yuhl

Way Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger. Way recently left his position as a Business professor at Clark University to write full-time while traveling the world. He holds an MBA in International Business and a BA in Geography. You can learn more about his travels at

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