On any given year the Kentucky Derby draws gamblers out of the woodwork as casual punters try their luck at wagering while partying at Derby celebrations across the country. This year, however, those once-a-year bettors took their wagering to new heights as Churchill Downs reported record wagering on the 144-year-old event.

According to published reports, the handle on this year’s Kentucky Derby hit $225.7 million (USD). That’s up 8 percent over last year’s race day total.

For the day, wagering was also up 8 percent over 2017. Churchill Downs’ satellite Twin Spires reported wagers totaling $39.2 million for all the day’s events. That a leap of more than 15 percent over last year’s total.

Online bettors drover a huge leap in wagering on the Kentucky Derby’s marquee event. Wagers on the big race were up 18 percent over last with players dropping a cool $24.6 million over the course of the day.

All that cash is expected to add $11-$13 million of additional revenue to TwinSpires’ bottom line.

As rain fell on the hallowed track at Churchill Downs, rain also fell on a few sports books and race tracks that were visited by a few very lucky, or very smart, punters.

At the Wynn Las Vegas, one very sharp player cashed in for $150,000 on a $200 futures wager on the day’s winner, Justify. According to a report in the Las Vegas Review Journal, an unnamed sharp called bookmakers early in the week looking to wager on Justify at 250-1. Because Justify had not raced as a two-year-old, the bookmaker made a very generous offer of 300-1. While that cost the casino a few bucks, it netted the mystery bettor a cool $150,000 on a $250 wager.

As Kentucky Derby parties become more popular across the United States, casino affiliates can count on Derby Day as a good day for converting new players.

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