October 21, 2021

Kentucky Derby 143 sees record all-sources handle for both race and day

Racing returns to Churchill Downs (c) Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com

The same rain and cold that plagued Kentucky Oaks Friday continued into Saturday, resulting in attendance for Kentucky Derby 143 only reaching 158,070.

However, the damp, chilly conditions couldn’t stop all-sources wagering for both the race and entire card from soaring to a new high.

All-sources wagering on Kentucky Derby 143 totaled $139.2 million, a 12 percent jump over the $124.7 million wagered last year and 1 percent increase on the previous record of $137.9 million established in 2015.

The entire Kentucky Derby Day program saw all-sources wagering reach $209.2 million, a 9 percent jump on the $192.6 million wagered on the entire 2016 card. It was an 8 percent hike on the record $194.3 million wagered in 2015.

Another record was also set when all-sources handle from April 29, opening night at Churchill, through May 6, Kentucky Derby Day, reached $285.1 million. That was a 7 percent jump from the record set in 2016. Total attendance for that time period fell 7 percent from the 2016 record to 349,455.

“Congratulations to the connections of Always Dreaming on a very impressive performance to win the 143rd Kentucky Derby,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “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.

“Thanks and congratulations to our horsemen, employees and volunteers that made this an amazing Derby and a phenomenal opening to our 2017 spring meet.”

“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,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI).

TwinSpires.com, the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup World Championships, saw a record $32.8 million in handle on Churchill Downs races for the Kentucky Derby Day program, a jump of 22 percent the prior year. TwinSpires.com’s handle on the Kentucky Derby alone was $20.1 million, up 22 percent over 2016.

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