Derby Day Rain Doesn’t Dampen Record Wagering and Handle
The 144th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday set new records for total wagers. Despite a record rainfall of more than 3 inches on Derby Day, more than 157,000 fans showed up at Churchill Downs and were part of the record day and wagering.
Inside the Kentucky Derby numbers
Here’s a look at handle from race day, according to Churchill Downs:
Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $225.7 million, an 8% increase over the 2017 total and previous record of $209.2 million. Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race increased 8% to $149.9 million from the previous record of $139.2 million set last year.
So nearly $150 million was wagered on the 2018 Kentucky Derby alone, and the fans in attendance that got drenched still wagered more on Derby Day than last year. The on-track handle of $23 million for the day was up from last year’s $21.9 million and was the eighth-highest in history.
“We are deeply grateful to all of the fans of the Kentucky Derby around the world who once again made this an amazing and memorable experience,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “We expect the Kentucky Derby Week Adjusted EBITDA to
reflect another record with $11.0-to-$13.0 million of growth over last year.”
Churchill’s TwinSpires.com advance-deposit wagering service posted gains over last year despite being unable to accept bets for about 20 minutes before the Derby. The $39.2 million bet through TwinSpires.com on Churchill races was up 15% from last year, and the $24.6 million bet on the Derby itself both online at Twinspires.com and on its mobile app was up 18% over last year.
Churchill Downs also showcased new suites and other improvements this year, including transportation to assist fans entering and leaving the track. That helped increase attendance for the week to 375,346, an increase of 7% from last year.
The $311.2 million all-sources handle for the six-day Derby Week was a record, up 9% from the prior record of $285.1 million last year.
An eventful week and Derby Day climaxed with Justify winning the 2018 Kentucky Derby.