Churchill Downs cites no fans, fewer horses for Derby betting decline

Churchill Downs reported that the lack of fans in attendance and fewer horses in the field were responsible for the sharp decline in betting at the 146th Kentucky Derby.

A reported $79.4 million was wagered in the parimutuel pool on this year’s Kentucky Derby on Saturday. By comparison, last year’s Derby set a record with $165.5 million in bets across all sources — a decline of 52 percent.

Wagering impacted by lack of fans, fewer horses

Per ESPN, Churchill Downs officials attributed the decline to the lack of on-site wagering — due to the coronavirus pandemic — as well as fewer horses in the race and a prohibitive favorite.

Matt Stone/Louisville Courier-Journal-USA TODAY NETWORK

Authentic edged heavy favorite Tiz the Law in the 15-horse field to give trainer Bob Baffert a record-tying sixth Kentucky Derby victory on Saturday.

Authentic, a bay son of Into Mischief, paid $18.80, $6 and $5 in becoming the first wire-to-wire Derby winner since 2002, when War Emblem won it for Baffert.

Tiz the Law, the 3-5 favorite, paid $3.40 and $3.20.

He was attempting to claim his second Triple Crown race of the year. He won the Belmont Stakes, usually the last of the three races, on June 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a rescheduling of the races.

“We are grateful to our fans and our community for their support of the 146th Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby,” Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc., said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing our loyal fans at next year’s 147th Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby on the first weekend of May.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)