LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 108,573 fans at Churchill Downs constituted the lowest total at the Kentucky Derby in 15 years, but Saturday's crowd included many serious bettors.
The patrons sent $12,330,650 through the parimutuel windows on 10 races, including $5,770,074 on the Derby itself. Both totals were records, aided by exacta wagering. The previous high on the Derby was $5,546,977 in 1983.
Nationwide betting on the Derby totaled $20,244,629. The race was shown on television at 32 tracks and handled by off-track betting systems in New York and Connecticut. Last year, the nationwide handle was almost $19 million.
The Derby handle at Hollywood Park was $760,660, plus an exacta pool of $431,742.
The off-track betting at River Downs and Darby Downs in Ohio was $1,168,800 and $678,925, respectively. At Darby Downs, the $143,589 wagered was the largest single-race betting pool in the track's 62-year history. Longacres at Renton, Wash., had a $243,798 betting handle on the Derby, a record for the track. At Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif., the handle was $512,563.