CDI reports strong wagering, revenue growth for Derby week

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: May 5, 2019

Kentucky Derby week continues to be big business for Churchill Downs Inc.

The company reported the May 4 Kentucky Derby program at Churchill Downs generated record total pari-mutuel handle of $250.9 million, up 11% from the previous standard of $225.7 million set in 2018. Wagering on the 19-horse Derby came in at a record $165.5 million, up 10% from the previous record of $149.9 million last year.

This year marked the first time the horse that crossed the wire first was disqualified by stewards. Maximum Security, previously undefeated, was moved from first to 17th after officials ruled he interfered with multiple horses. Country House was declared the winner, and the connections of Maximum Security said they plan to appeal the decision and perhaps go further if necessary.

Derby day attendance was reported at 150,729, down 4% from 2018.

The May 3 Kentucky Oaks program produced all-sources wagering of $60.2 million, up 8% from the previous record of $55.8 million established last year. Wagering on the 14-filly Oaks jumped 10% to a record $19.4 million from $17.5 million in 2018.

The reported Oaks day crowd of 105,719 was down 7% from last year.

The five-day Derby week total handle on live product was $343 million, up 10% from the previous record of $311.2 million in 2018. The company’s TwinSpires.com advance deposit wagering platform generated $48.4 million in handle on Derby day alone, which is up 20% from last year.

CDI Chief Executive Officer Bill Carstanjen said the company expects Derby week adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to show $4.5 million to $6 million in growth from the 2018 figure.