As expected, Americans bet big on the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend.
In fact, according to a Churchill Downs press release, wagering from all sources was the highest ever recorded on both the actual Kentucky Derby race and the entire Kentucky Derby Day program.
Justify was the horse that came in two-and-a-half lengths ahead of the field in a rain-soaked 144th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve. Despite the rain, 157,813 people attended the event live at Churchill Downs Racetrack on Saturday, May 5. It marked the eighth-largest crowd in track history.
$225.7 million wagered
However, it was the money wagered on the event that provided record-breaking figures. According to Churchill Downs, wagering from all sources on the entire Kentucky Derby Day program totaled a whopping $225.7 million. This marked an eight-percent increase over 2017 totals when the previous record of $209.2 million was set.
Additionally, the race itself saw an outstanding $149.9 million wagered from all sources. This marked a further eight-percent increase over 2017 when the previous record of $139.2 million was set.
Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said once they add it all up, he expects to see the company’s earnings from the race to grow by as much as $13 million this year:
“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.”
$39.2 million bet online
Big bucks were also bet on the historic horse race online this year.
TwinSpires is the online and mobile betting platform that acts as the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. It recorded $39.2 million in handle on the Kentucky Derby Day program. That was an increase of 15 percent over 2017.
Additionally, TwinSpires’ handle on the race alone reached $24.6 million. That represents an 18 percent increase over 2017’s Kentucky Derby online betting numbers.
That much money wagered was bound to create some big winners and one such story has emerged from as far away as Austin, Texas.
Texas woman earns $1.2 million on Kentucky Derby Pick 5
According to ABC News, an Austin woman, who asked not to be identified, won $1.2 million on Derby Day. In fact, she did so betting just $18 on a series of Kentucky Derby day races.
The woman made a Pick 5 wager at the Retama Park racetrack in Salem, Texas, Saturday. She picked the winner in all five races to earn the massive win.
A Retama Park spokesperson said the woman had Justify to win. Plus, she managed to pick the winners of all four races at Churchill Downs leading up to the Kentucky Derby.
It marked the first million-dollar Pick 5 winner at Retama Park.
Justify is owned by:
- Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm, LLC
- Ah King Teo’s China Horse Club
- Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners, LLC
- Jack Wolf and partners’ Starlight Racing
The horse earned $1,432,000 for the win. An amount only slightly more than what the Pick 5 winner collected.
Justify is trained by now five-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert. The horse was a 5:2 favorite returning $7.80 for each $2 win wager.