On-track and simulcast wagering records for Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs tumbled on Friday as a crowd of 108,065, the second largest in the history of the event, saw 47-1 shot Lemons Forever score the biggest upset in the history of the track's premier race for 3-year-old fillies.
The on-track attendance for the 11-race Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) program at Churchill Downs was second only to the 111,243 that gathered in 2005. Last year's renewal of the Oaks was the first since the completion of the track's sweeping $121 million renovation.
Wagering on the Oaks, both on-track and simulcast, soared past records established in the 2005 renewal of the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.
Total wagering on the Oaks race and its field of 14 fillies soared to $9,890,141, a 43% increase over the 2005 figure of $6,895,193. There were only seven fillies in last year's Oaks. On-track betting on the Oaks totaled $2,816,104, an increase of 25% from the $2,251,942 wagered on the race in 2005.
A record total of $33,076,351 was wagered on the 11-race Oaks Day racing card at Churchill Downs, an increase of 6% from last year's total of $31,159,328. The previous record of $31,570,827 for total Oaks Day wagering was established in 2004.
The on-track attendance and wagering figures do not include totals from Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville off-track betting center. A total of 7,257 patrons, a small increase from 2005, wagered $515,609 on Oaks Day at the facility. The Trackside Louisville total was an increase of nearly 3% from the 2005 total of $501,351.
The victory by Lemons Forever was the biggest surprise in the history of the Kentucky Oaks, which, like the Kentucky Derby (g. I), has been renewed without interruption since 1875. The previous record longshot was Lemco, who went off at odds of 40-1 when she won the Kentucky Oaks in 1903.