Churchill Sets Handle Records for Derby Day
In addition to record attendance, Churchill Downs reported record all-sources wagering of $187 million for its 13-race Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) program May 5.
Pari-mutuel handle on the card was up 13.2% from the previous high of $165.2 million in 2011. This year’s reported attendance of 165,307 broke the previous record of 163,628, also established last year.
The Kentucky Derby, which featured a full 20-horse field, generated $133.1 million in pari-mutuel handle, up a strong 18.8% from $112 million in 2011. The previous all-sources wagering record on the Derby was $118.4 million in 2006.
Mostly sunny conditions and a temperature in the low 80s in Louisville, Ky., aided attendance and ontrack handle, which totaled $23.7 million for 13 races, up 1.3% from 2011. The Derby generated more than half of that amount--$12.3 million, up 7.1% from last year.
Churchill officials said $1.3 million in separate-pool handle on the Derby has been reported thus far, with final figures to be reported in the next few weeks. In 2011 separate-pool handle on the race was $700,000.
Track officials said the 13-race card May 5 produced purse revenue of $8.3 million that will be used for the spring and fall meets this year. Kentucky government will get about $1 million in pari-mutuel taxes from the Derby program.
“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,” Churchill president Kevin Flanery said after the Derby. “We deeply appreciate the support of our ontrack 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 (gr. I), it appears that these great events are, after 138 years, just hitting their stride.”
Derby and Oaks days are the major pari-mutuel revenue driver for Churchill owner Churchill Downs Inc., which owns three other racetracks—two with slot machines—and a standalone casino in Mississippi.
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