Cold and rainy weather may have dampened the enthusiasm of 2017 Kentucky Derby attendees, but it did not to halt the enthusiasm of Kentucky Derby betting. This year’s race set an an all-time record for Derby wagering, and much of that wagering was done online.
Attendance at the United States’ premiere horse race clocked in at just 158,070, that’s down from the 167,227 people that attended last year’s Derby. (In all fairness, the 2016 Derby was the second-most attended Derby of all time.)
At the betting ticket window, both at Churchill Downs and online, it was an entirely different story.
Horse racing enthusiasts and amateurs alike enthusiastically wagered to the tune of $209 million. That represents a 12 percent jump in Derby wagering over 2016. According to InsiderLouisville.com, that’s also just 1 percent over the previous record, which was set in 2015.
Over at Twinspires.com, online wagering was up 22 percent over last year with 32.8 million wagered on the day. The marquee race accounted for $32.8 million of that number.
Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated crowed about the Derby’s success in the media and gave credit to a series of upgrades at the Churchill Downs facilities saying:
We were excited to introduce our latest round of renovations and our investments in the facility continue to pay off as we strive to improve the guest experience every year…A heartfelt thanks from all of us at Churchill Downs to all of the fans of the Kentucky Derby around the world who once again made this an amazing spectacle rain or shine.
Twinspires, it should be noted, offers legal Kentucky Derby betting for Americans.
Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming paid out $11.40 for each $2 win wager.