It was a record-breaking 138th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby as a crowd of 165,307, the largest in history, gathered on a beautiful day at Churchill Downs to watch Reddam Racing LLC's California-based I'll Have Another rally to defeat favored Bodemeister and win the roses that go to the winner of America's greatest race.
The on-track attendance erased the previous record of 164,858 that was established just last year. The record attendance prior to 2011 was the crowd of 163,628 who gathered for the 100th running of the Kentucky Derby in 1974. The attendance mark set the tone for a Kentucky Derby Day that concluded with record totals for wagering for both the Kentucky Derby race and the entire 13-race card race card.
Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby race card was a record, totaling $187 million, an increase of 13.2 percent from the 2011 total of $165.2 million. The previous record for all-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby race card totaled $175.1 million and was established in 2006.
All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby race was also record-setting, up 18.8 percent from $112.0 million to $133.1 million. The previous record for all-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby race was $118.4 million established in 2006.
On-track wagering on the Derby rose 7.1 percent from $11.5 million to $12.3 million, breaking the previous record of $12.1 million, which was established in 2008. On-track wagering on the Derby program increased 1.3 percent to $23.7 million.
Churchill Downs returned $153.3 million to bettors, which amounts to 82 percent of total wagering on the Derby Day race card. Additionally, purses earned from the Derby Day race card approximated $8.3 million that will be paid out during the remainder of the 2012 racing meets.
Finally, pari-mutuel taxes in the amount of almost $1 million were generated from the Derby Day race card, which will be paid to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Additionally, approximately $1.3 million of handle from separate pools on the Derby Race has already been reported; additional separate pool handle will be reported in the next few weeks. Total separate pool handle on the Derby Day race card during 2011 totaled $0.7 million.
"This Kentucky Derby Day was remarkable from start to finish, and the wagering and attendance records and the tremendous renewal of the great race won by I'll Have Another made it a day we'll likely be talking about for years to come," said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack.
"We deeply appreciate the support of our on-track fans; those across North America who watched and wagered online through TwinSpires.com and other advance deposit wagering outlets and those who watched the NBC Sports television coverage of the Kentucky Derby and Derby Day races throughout the United States and the world. After this year's marvelous renewals of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, it appears that these great events are, after 138 years, just hitting their stride."
The victorious I'll Have Another won for the third time in as many races in 2012 as he passed the front-running Bodemeister in deep stretch to win the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/2 lengths. The winner covered the 1 1/4-mile distance over a fast track in 2:01 4/5 and improved his career record to 4-1-0 in six races. The Derby's first-place prize of $1,459,600 increased I'll Have Another's career earnings to $2,093,600.
The victorious owner, trainer and jockey each won the Kentucky Derby for the first time. Owner J. Paul Reddam had previously started four horses in the Derby as a sole owner or in partnership. Trainer Doug O'Neill had previously started two horses in the race. Jockey Mario Gutierrez, a 25-year-old from Mexico, became the 42nd jockey to win the Kentucky Derby with his first mount.