KENTUCKY DERBY 2018 FACTS AND THOUGHTS

Despite the rainiest Kentucky Derby ever and the TwinSpires betting site malfunctioning for 20 minutes in the hour before the race, all-sources wagering on the Derby itself and the Derby-day card broke all records.  Betting on both the Derby ($149.9 million) and Derby-day card ($225.7 million) rose 8% over the previous record set in 2017.

The $311.2 million bet during the six-day Derby week was also a record, up 9% from 2017.  The Kentucky Oaks card on Friday saw a record-breaking 14% increase in betting handle over 2017 and handle on the Kentucky Oaks race soared 18%.

The Derby telecast had an overnight rating of 9.1% (down by 13% from 2017) with a 21 share (down 8.7% from 2017).  The race portion of the telecast had a rating of 10.9 and a 25 share.  (A show’s rating is the percentage of all possible TV households or viewers in the country and its share is the percentage of households or viewers actually watching TV at the time.)  The explanation for the ratings declines was competition from the NBA playoff telecast between Boston and Philadelphia.  The Derby telecast had the best Saturday television rating since a Winter Olympics telecast on February 17, 2018.

Hedge-fund founder Sol Kumin had a weekend for the ages.  He had an ownership interest in Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl on Friday and ownership interests in Kentucky Derby winner Justify and third-place finisher Audible on Saturday.  It has been nearly a century since an individual owned both the Oaks and Derby winners in the same year.

Eddie Olczyk Jr.—a former National Hockey League player and coach and currently an NBC commentator on the Kentucky Derby telecast–advised viewers to “box 5, 6, and 7”—Audible, Good Magic, and Justify.  That suggestion was worth $69.60 on a $2 exacta box and $282.80 on a $2 trifecta box.  Eddie reportedly has a clean bill of health after battling Stage 3 colon cancer and said that the Kentucky Derby is “the best medicine I’ve had in a long time.”  Wishing that Eddie has many more years covering the “Run for the Roses.”

When the NBC telecast showed the rows and rows of private jets parked at Louisville International Airport, it demonstrated with a single picture what a huge attraction the Kentucky Derby remains after 144 years.

Copyright © 2018 Horse Racing Business

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