Total wagering on the 130th Kentucky Derby and the Derby Day racing card at Churchill Downs smashed North American records for total betting on an individual event and a single day of races that had been established in the 2003 renewal of the famed "Run for the Roses."Fans who gathered at Churchill Downs and at racetracks and simulcast outlets throughout North America wagered a record $99,348,706 on the Derby, which was won over a "sloppy" track by Someday Farm's Smarty Jones. The wagering total for the Kentucky Derby itself rose nearly 13% from the 2003 total of $87,968,037. Total betting on the 12-race Kentucky Derby Day card at Churchill Downs rose by nearly 2% to $142,775,857 from the previous North American record of $140,379,426 wagered on an 11-race Derby Day program in 2003.Fans who gathered at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby ignored weather challenges that included a deluge from a mid-afternoon thunderstorm and the continuing renovation of a large section of the track's Clubhouse to post strong on-track attendance and wagering figures.
A crowd of 140,054 gathered under the track's historic Twin Spires, which was down nearly 6% from the 148,530 that attended the 2003 Derby. But the 2004 attendance total was the largest ever for a Kentucky Derby run over a wet track. This year's attendance figure easily eclipsed the 1994 total of 130,594, when nearly a half-inch of rain fell at Churchill Downs and the Derby was run over a "sloppy" surface. It also marked the ninth consecutive year that Kentucky Derby Day attendance at Churchill Downs topped 140,000.Total on-track wagering on the Kentucky Derby rose to a record $9,488,539, an increase of nearly 4% from the 2003 record of $9,135,919. The total for on-track betting on this year's 12-race Kentucky Derby Day card was $19,246,210, which reflected a drop of nearly 7% of the 2003 total of $20,639,221.Simulcast wagering on the Derby race and the Derby Day program at Churchill Downs recorded gains. Wagering on the Kentucky Derby at simulcast outlets totaled $89,860,167, an increase of nearly 14 percent from $78,832,118 wagered at simulcast outlets in 2003. Simulcast betting on the entire Derby Day card climbed to $123,529,647, a jump of more than 3% from the 2003 total of $119,740,205.
Kentucky Derby Day business also increased at Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville OTB, where 9,622 patrons wagered $1,185,507 on the Kentucky Derby. Attendance for the Kentucky Derby Day program at Trackside Louisville rose by more than 14% from the 2003 total of 8,419. The wagering total for the Derby race at the Poplar Level Road facility rose by more than 17% from last year's total of $1,009,936. Betting on Churchill Downs' entire Derby Day card totaled $1,779,009 - a gain of more than 11% from last year's total of $1,597,907.