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 just $79.4 million bet on the Kentucky Derby race, easily one of the lowest marks in the last two decades. That was to be expected, as there was no fans in attendance due to the Covid 19 pandemic. It also didn’t help the race was held in September instead of early May.

Prior to last year the amount of money bet on this race was growing quite drastically. Just on the race itself there was a $165.5 million, breaking the previous record set in 2018 at $149.9, which broke the previous mark of $139.2 set in 2018.

We should expect to see an increase from 2020 with fans being allowed back in Churchill Downs. However, it will not be at full capacity, so don’t expect to see any records broken in 2021.

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 on 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 in 2016. 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.

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

YearAttendanceOn-Track ProgramOn-Track RaceAll Sources ProgramAll Sources Race
2020*None*$0$0$126.0$79.4
2019150,729$48.4$30.2$250.9$165.5
2018157,813$39.2$24.6$227.5$149.9
2017158,070$32.8$20.1$209.2$139.2
2016167,227$23.5$11.3$192.6$124.7
2015170,513$23.0$12.0$194.3$137.9
2014164,906$23.4$11.9$186.6$129.2
2013151,616$21.1$11.5$184.6$130.5
2012165,307$23.7$12.3$187.0$133.1
2011164,858$23.4$11.5$165.2$112.0
2010155,804$21.5$11.1$162.7$112.7
2009153,563$21.1$10.2$156.0$104.6
2008157,770$24.2$12.1$164.7$114.6
2007156,635$24.1$12.1$168.1$118.3
2006157,536$24.5$12.1$175.1$106.2
2005156,435$22.8$10.1$155.8$103.3
2004140,054$19.2$9.5$142.8$99.3
2003148,530$20.6$9.1$140.4$88.0

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