May 7, 2024 3 min read


Kentucky Derby Smashes Expectations with Record-Setting Handle

The exciting event united horseracing fans, treating them to a one-of-a-kind spectacle that sets a new standard for future installments

The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve proved to be a historic and record-breaking event as nearly 157,000 horseracing fans gathered at Churchill Downs Racetrack to witness Mystik Dan claim the coveted Garland of Roses. The newly renovated track enhanced the viewer experience and significantly contributed to the record-setting betting handle.

Wagering from all sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program reached a staggering $320.5 million, surpassing last year’s record of $288.7 million. The centerpiece Kentucky Derby race set a new record with $210.7 million in all-sources handle, surpassing the previous high of $188.7 million set in 2023. Meanwhile, the all-sources handle rose to a new high of $446.6 million.

TwinSpires, the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, also experienced a record-breaking handle, with $92.1 million in wagering on Churchill Downs races for the Kentucky Derby Day program, compared to last year’s $75.5 million. TwinSpires’ handle on the centerpiece Kentucky Derby race reached a new high of $60.9 million, surpassing last year’s $48.9 million.

Japan remained one of the most significant foreign contributors to the Derby, with two Japanese starters, Forever Young and T O Password, finishing third and fifth, respectively. Wagers from Japanese fans set a new record of $10.1 million, surpassing 2022’s previous $8.3 million high and setting the stage for increased interest from foreign audiences.

Refinements and Innovations Will Bolster Future Installments

Churchill Downs completed its $200 million renovation just in time for the Kentucky Derby’s 150th edition, introducing an all-new paddock featuring two luxury reserved seating areas. These additions enhanced viewer engagement and added to the event’s activities as fans could watch the horses as they were saddled, bolstering race day excitement.

Bill Carstanjen, Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) CEO, expressed pride in the milestone 150th Run for the Roses and the success of the new paddock. He announced expectations of a new record for Kentucky Derby Week adjusted EBITDA, with projected growth of $26 to $28 million over the prior record set last year.

The Kentucky Derby is a testament to the enduring spirit of sportsmanship, unity, and the power of tradition.

Bill Carstanjen, CDI CEO

This newest success validates the company’s decision to reinvest in the historic racetrack, paving the way for ongoing improvements to keep up with industry trends. As Churchill Downs reflects on 150 years of tradition, Carstanjen reaffirmed the company’s commitment to innovating new experiences for Derby fans, preserving the legacy of the iconic event for future generations.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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