Churchill Downs, FanDuel Set Kentucky Derby Betting Records

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Kentucky Derby betting hit record levels for Churchill Downs as horseplayers bet more than ever on the race, the Derby Day card, and the entire week of races.

According to a press release, Kentucky Derby betting reached $210.7 million, surpassing last year’s $188.7 million record. Saturday saw $320.5 million in overall handle across 14 races, up from $288.7 million bet last year on Kentucky Derby Day.

Derby Week featured live racing Wednesday through Saturday, with handle hitting $446.6 million. It beat last year’s record of $412 million.

Kentucky Derby betting apps tout results

TwinSpires, the Kentucky Derby betting platform owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), handled $60.9 million on the race. It was $12 million more than last year’s record of $48.9 million.

FanDuel also had its most significant day of horse betting. According to a spokesperson, the FanDuel Group had more than 700,000 customers bet on the Derby. That total was up from 500,000 last year.

They estimate more than 200,000 people accessed the horse betting app for the first time with the shared wallet through the FanDuel Sportsbook. FanDuel did not provide a specific handle figure for the race.

DraftKings has ‘outstanding’ week, too

DraftKings and its DK Horse app were also pleased with its Kentucky Derby betting results.

“We had an outstanding week of horse racing and wagering leading into the 150th Kentucky Derby, which did not disappoint,” Johnny Avello, DraftKings director of race and sportsbook operations, said. “We were thrilled with the engagement we saw on Saturday with horse racing fans downloading and using the DK Horse app, which topped off the awesome weekend.”

Kentucky Derby betting made easy

Leading into the week, FanDuel and DraftKings worked to make sure Kentucky Derby betting was as easy as possible for customers.

With record-high users, the apps needed to be available without disruption.

“Peak bets were at Super Bowl levels, and the (FanDuel Racing app) performed without interruption,” a FanDuel spokesperson said.

Not all apps were flawless

At least one horse racing app experienced downtime on Kentucky Derby Day.

XpressBet, which 1/ST Racing owns, posted Saturday on Twitter at 1:35 p.m. ET it was aware of technical issues preventing customers from betting.

“Xpressbet encountered a small technical issue on Saturday, which created intermittent service for some customers,” 1/ST President Aidan Butler told LSR via email Tuesday evening. “It affected these customers on races 6 and 7. The issue was quickly resolved.”

The tweet was later deleted. 1/ST also owns the Preakness Stakes.

XpressBet experiences technical issues during Kentucky Derby betting.

Other popular betting opportunities have experienced hiccups in recent years. The Caesars-backed William Hill app crashed right before kickoff on Super Bowl Sunday in 2023.

Kentucky Derby betting draws international appeal

Japanese horseplayers staked $10.1 million on the Kentucky Derby. The previous record was set in 2022 when wagering from Japan totaled $8.3 million.

The country’s horse racing industry has grown in popularity in recent years. Japanese horses have traveled to the US to compete in prestigious races like the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup.

This year’s Kentucky Derby featured two Japanese horses. Forever Young and T O Password finished third and fifth, respectively.

Derby draws additional eyeballs

Nearly 157,000 fans were at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.

On TV, 20.1 million people watched the race on NBC. It was the most-watched Kentucky Derby since 1989.

For perspective, the Super Bowl averaged 123.7 million viewers in February.

Before the race, CDI and NBC announced the continuation of their broadcast partnership through 2032.