The 146th Kentucky Derby took place over the weekend, with Authentic earning the first-place finish. This year’s Derby was quite different due to the coronavirus pandemic, with few spectators and way less betting than normal. The operator of the event, Churchill Downs, reported only $79.4 million was wagered this year. This is much less than the $165.5 million from last year’s race.

Lack of On-Site Wagering

The decline in sports betting during the Derby is attributed to several factors. Officials of Churchill Downs feel that the lack of on-site betting played a large role. There were also fewer horses in the race. Tiz the Law was the odds-on favorite at 4-5 but was unable to defeat Authentic who had 8 to 1 odds to win. The field only included 15 horses, which was the smallest since the late 1990s.

CEO of Churchill Downs Inc., Bill Carstanjen, commented on the racing event, stating that the company is grateful for the support of the fans as well as the community during the Derby. Churchill downs are now looking forward to next year when fans will be able to attend the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.

Low Numbers

Along with on-site betting decline, the sportsbooks in Nevada did not take part in the pari-mutuel pool they usually host for the Derby due to an ongoing data fee dispute with the race operator. Sportsbooks did offer wagering on the event, just not within the pari-mutuel pool.

In total, $126 million was wagered in the pari-mutuel pool on the Derby day program. This was the smallest amount bet on the program since the early 2000s.