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The Kentucky Derby is a special event that happens each year at Churchill Downs. Even those that aren’t horse racing fanatics fill inclined to not only watch but wager on this big event.

I found myself wondering just how much money was being wagered. What I found was staggering, considering we’re talking about something that lasts a mere 2 minutes.

How Much was Wagered on the Kentucky Derby & Attendance This Year

Last year there was a whopping $233.03 million bet on the Kentucky Derby program, the second biggest total of all-time and a massive increase from 2020’s $126 million, held back mostly due to COVID-19. As you might have guessed, it was also the second biggest handle for the main event Kentucky Derby race coming it at $155.4 million, second only to the $165.5 million taken in for the 2019 race.

It’s also important to keep in mind the numbers below don’t reflect the entire picture. The amounts are only for the money taken at North American racetracks.

It does not include figures from sportsbooks online or Las Vegas. It’s been reported that Vegas sportsbooks take in about an average of $33 million per month. There average take home in May is roughly $11 million more at $44 million. As for the online books, they were estimated to take in $26.8 million on the entire program, with around $16.6 million on the main event.

If you are considering wagering on this historic event this year or in the future, be sure to check out our Derby guide.

Where available, we’ve provided a breakdown of what is actually being bet on. Many sources give an estimate of an overall amount that includes all Churchill Downs races for the week leading up to the actual Derby, which doesn’t give a true picture of how much is being bet on the race itself or how much money is being wagered the day of the race. Last year, that week-long number came it at around $314.6 million.

Betting Breakdown

  • On-Track Program: Bets taken on all races at Churchill Downs on the day of the Kentucky Derby.
  • On-Track Race: Bets taken on the actual Kentucky Derby race at Churchill downs.
  • All Sources Program: All bets taken at North American racebooks (Simulcast) on all Churchill Downs races on the day of the Kentucky Derby.
  • All Sources Race: All bets taken at North American racebooks (Simulcast) on the actual Kentucky Derby.

Churchill Downs Betting History – How Much Money Gets Bet on the Race (Millions)

YearAttendanceOn-Track ProgramOn-Track RaceAll Sources ProgramAll Sources Race

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