Churchill Downs Incorporated reported that 51,838 fans were on hand to witness Medina Spirit’s victory in the 147th running of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Ky.
Wagering from all-sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program totaled $233.0 million, up 85% compared to the 2020 Kentucky Derby Day program held without spectators last Sept. 5. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby race was $155.4 million, up 96% from last year’s Derby race.
The Derby day wagering totals for the 14-race card were the second-highest ever, behind $250.9 million bet in 2019.
All-sources handle for Opening Night, Saturday, April 24, through Derby Day, Saturday, May 1, was recorded at $314.6 million.
TwinSpires, the official wagering partner of the Kentucky Derby, recorded preliminary record handle of $62.7 million on Churchill Downs races for the Kentucky Derby Day program, an increase of 66% over the prior year. TwinSpires recorded preliminary record handle on the Kentucky Derby race alone of $40.8 million, up 75% over 2020.
Medina Spirit, owned by Zedan Racing Stables, and bred in Florida by Gail Rice, led from the start, held off a spirited rally from Mandaloun and prevailed in a thrilling finish by a half length. Trainer Bob Baffert secured his seventh Kentucky Derby win eclipsing the record previously shared with Ben Jones. Jockey John Velazquez recorded his fourth Kentucky Derby victory and capped a successful weekend by winning both the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.
“Today it was incredibly gratifying to welcome our fans back to Churchill Downs for the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “We will continue to invest in this iconic event as we create unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in the coming years for our guests.”
Churchill Downs introduced two new charity efforts this year. A naturalization ceremony was hosted in the Winner’s Circle of Churchill Downs as U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Kentucky Benjamin Beaton administered the Oath of Allegiance to five new citizens representing five different countries on the day of America’s Greatest Race. CDI hosted nearly 300 representatives from Kentucky’s Foster Care sector as guests in the first-ever Kentucky Derby Foster Family Initiative partnership with Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and in cooperation with Louisville nonprofits Maryhurst and Boys & Girls Haven.
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