HomeKentucky Sports Betting NewsPhoto-Finish 2024 Kentucky Derby Pulls in Record Betting Numbers

Photo-Finish 2024 Kentucky Derby Pulls in Record Betting Numbers

Sports betting has been a smashing success in every state that’s legalized it since the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018. The country’s newest vice and fast growing industry has been so profitable, in fact, that its impact has started to branch out well beyond just online sports gambling. The introduction of sports betting has completely transformed sports, sports broadcasting, and gaming, both online and in-person.

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Those were all expected ripple effects from the legalization of sports betting, though. A less expected one was the revival of horse race betting with the arrival of sports betting. It’d be logical to assume that sports betting would leach off the established clientele of horse racing, but the 150th Kentucky Derby has proven the opposite: sports betting has brought many new patrons to horse racing.

2024 Derby Week Shatters Several Betting Records

This year’s Derby Week saw multiple betting records broken in Kentucky. Wagers on the Kentucky Derby alone crossed $210.7 million, smashing the previous record set last year at $188.7 million. On the final day of the week, Saturday, May 4, Kentucky sportsbooks handled over $320 million across the 14 total races, up over 11 percent from 2023’s $288 million. In 2023, Derby Week saw a total of $412 million handled. This year, operators reached over $446 million.

From these numbers, it’s clear that Kentucky horse betting has been growing lately, and sports betting is the primary reason why. FanDuel reported that over 700,000 of their users placed wagers on the Kentucky Derby this year. A spokesperson for the company estimated that around 200,000 patrons accessed their horse racing app for the first time, using their FanDuel shared wallet to become horseplayers for the first time.

DraftKings Director of Race and Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello spoke of his elation with the results from the Derby as well:

“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.”

Mystik Dan the Dark Horse

For the numerous bettors that probably spectated their first-ever Kentucky Derby after placing their first wager on a horse race, they chose a great race to jump on the bandwagon for. In the highly anticipated 2024 Kentucky Derby, the victory belonged to a dark horse named “Mystik Dan,” defying the odds as he opened at 20-1 before supporters bet him down to 18-1.

The triumph of Mystik Dan, ridden by jockey Brian J. Hernandez Jr., stunned both spectators and bettors alike. As the race unfolded, Mystik Dan showcased remarkable determination and endurance, holding on in the final stretch to claim victory by a nose in a photo finish that left fans on the edge of their seats.

It took several minutes to conclude, but the final result had Mystik Dan edging out Sierra Leone — who opened at 3-1 odds — and Forever Young. Despite facing stiff competition and navigating a crowded field, Hernandez firmly guided his horse through the convoy, seizing the lead mere centimeters ahead of the finish line.