Churchill Downs and its sportsbook partners predicted an uptick in betting for the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby, and what an uptick it turned out to be. The event shattered its own records for betting, recording $180m in wagers.
broke last year’s record by a healthy $11.4m
Saturday’s overall betting total was up almost 7% on the 2022 Derby. It broke last year’s record by a healthy $11.4m, with betting charts revealing a wagering tsunami of straight pool wagers totaling $89.2m.
Helping reach that figure was the furniture store owner and high-stakes bettor Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale. Bleacher Report Betting shared a video of Mack placing a $1.2m bet on Angel of Empire:
While Mack’s bet caused Angel to become a +400 favorite, its third-place finish behind Two Phils and winner Mage must have left the Houston, Texas businessman with a face as red as his rose-print suit.
The build-up to the Derby was overshadowed by the death of four horses in just five days at the famed Churchill Downs racetrack. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr has been suspended amid an investigation into the deaths.