Highest All-Sources Wagering on Kentucky Derby Day program and Kentucky Derby race 157,813 Endure Wettest Kentucky Derby
Fans braved a steady all-day rain and the wettest Kentucky Derby ever as Justify captured the 144th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve over a sloppy track. Attendance of 157,813, was the eighth highest attendance figure in track history.
Wagering from all-sources was the highest all-time on both the Kentucky Derby Day program and on the Kentucky Derby race.
Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $225.7 million, an 8% increase over the 2017 total and previous record of $209.2 million. Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race increased 8% to $149.9 million from the previous record of $139.2 million set last year.
TRACK PRESIDENT COMMENTARY
“Congratulations to the connections of Justify on a very impressive performance to win the 144th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve,” 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. A special thanks to the Louisville Metro Police Department for their efforts to deliver our new transportation improvement plan. Thanks and congratulations to our horsemen, employees and volunteers that made this an amazing Derby and a phenomenal opening to our 2018 Spring Meet.”
“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,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”). “We expect the Kentucky Derby Week Adjusted EBITDA to reflect another record with $11.0-to-$13.0 million of growth over last year.” The Adjusted EBITDA range includes approximately $2.5 million of favorability related to the adoption of the new revenue accounting standard ASC 606.
TwinSpires, the country’s leading online and mobile betting platform and the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, recorded $39.2 million in handle on Churchill Downs races for the Kentucky Derby Day program, an increase of 15% over the prior year. TwinSpires’ handle on the Kentucky Derby alone race was $24.6 million, up 18% over 2017.
All-sources handle for Opening Night, Saturday, April 28, through Derby Day, Saturday, May 5, rose to a new record of $311.2 million, up 9% from the previous record of $285.1 million set last year. Attendance for those five days was 375,346, up 7% over 2017.
Justify, owned by Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm, LLC, Ah King Teo’s China Horse Club, Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners, LLC, and Jack Wolf and partners’ Starlight Racing, and bred in Kentucky by John Gunther, cruised to win by two and a half lengths as the 5-2 favorite, returning $7.80 for each $2 win wager. Justify earned $1,432,000 for the victory, increasing his lifetime earnings to $2,098,000. The winner covered 1 ¼ miles over a sloppy track in 2:04.20 to remain undefeated with his fourth win in four career starts. Trainer Bob Baffert won the Kentucky Derby for the fifth time. His prior victories were with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, and American Pharoah in 2015. Jockey Mike Smith won the Kentucky Derby for the second time, winning previously on Giacomo in 2005. Justify is by Scat Daddy out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic. Good Magic finished second and Audible finished third.