Anne M. Eberhardt

Kentucky Derby Total Handle Declines 5.3%

All source handle declined on Kentucky Derby card

Total wagering from all sources on the 13-race Kentucky Derby card May 2 at Churchill Downs was $155,969,770, a decline of 5.3% from the $164,668,176 wagered a year earlier on 12 races, the track has reported.

All-sources handle on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), which includes on-track and off-track wagers, was $104,563,501, an 8.7% decrease from the $114,557,364 all-sources total in 2008.

Excluding the Derby, total wagering from all sources on the other 12 races was $51,406,269, up 2.6% from the 2008 figure of $50,110,812 on 11 races. 

A crowd of 153,563 witnessed Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird scored a stunning upset in the Derby at odds of 50-1 by 6 3/4 lengths in a field of 19.

The attendance figure marks the ninth time that Kentucky Derby Day attendance has topped 150,000.  Combined attendance for the 2009 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) was 258,430, exceeding the combined attendance of both events from one year prior.

“The Churchill Downs team would like to extend its congratulations to all those involved with Mine That Bird on his historic victory in this year’s 135th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands,” Churchill Downs Inc. chief operating officer Bill Carstanjen said in a statement. “Despite the very difficult economy, we were able to offer a strong card of racing that produced solid overall handle figures.”

On-track total card handle was $21,191,305, a 12.7% drop from the $24,275,864 wagered last year. On-track wagering on the Derby alone was $10,164,997, a 16.1% drop from the record $12,118,527 handled last year.

Churchill Downs returned $127,825,423 to bettors on the Kentucky Derby Day race card, which amounts to 82% of total wagering, the track reported. The Commonwealth of Kentucky benefited from $789,241 in revenues generated through the state’s excise tax on pari-mutuel wagering.

Race fans generated a Super Hi-5 carryover pool of $251,865 and a Pick-6 carryover pool of $781,146. Churchill Downs will resume its 2009 spring meet May 6, with post time at 12:45 p.m. EDT.