KyDerby150: Photo Finish, Record Handle

May 5, 2024

The field for the 150th Derby on their way to history. (Jenny Doyle/Past The Wire)

Mystik Dan Wins the Historic Photo Finish in the 150th Running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve 

New All-Time Handle Record Set for the Kentucky Derby Race, Kentucky Derby Day Program, and Kentucky Derby Week Races 

Churchill Downs Media

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN) (the “Company”, “CDI”) announced today that a jubilant crowd of nearly 157,000 Derby fans gathered at Churchill Downs Racetrack (“Churchill Downs”) to celebrate and witness Mystik Dan claim the Garland of Roses at the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve at 18-1 odds under mostly cloudy skies. Wagering from all sources was the highest all-time on the Kentucky Derby race, the Kentucky Derby Day program, and Kentucky Derby Week races. 

Mystik Dan, owned by 4 G Racing, LLC (Brent Gasaway), Lance Gasaway, Daniel Hamby, III, and Valley View Farm, LLC (Scott Hamby), trained by Kenneth McPeek, bred in Kentucky by Lance Gasaway, Daniel Hamby, and 4 G Racing, LLC, and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., rallied from off the pace to win by a nose in a photo finish. Mystik Dan covered the mile and a quarter in 2:03.34 over a fast track. This marks an extraordinary weekend of racing for trainer Kenneth McPeek and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. who scored victories in both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby. 

Wagering from all sources on the Kentucky Derby Day program set a new record of $320.5 million, beating last year’s record of $288.7 million. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Derby race was a new record of $210.7 million, beating the previous record of $188.7 million set in 2023. All-sources handle for Derby Week rose to a new record of $446.6 million, beating last year’s record of $412.0 million. 

First three-horse photo finish since Jet Pilot, Phalanx and Faultless in 1947.

TwinSpires, the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, handled a new record of $92.1 million in wagering on Churchill Downs races for the Kentucky Derby Day program, compared to last year’s record of $75.5, including all settled future wagers and affiliate wagering. TwinSpires’ handle on the Kentucky Derby race was a new record of $60.9 million, beating last year’s record of $48.9 million, including all settled future wagers and affiliate wagering. 

The Kentucky Derby race continued to attract global attention with two starters from Japan with Forever Young finishing third and T O Password finishing fifth. Forever Young was the winner of the UAE Derby in Dubai and T O Password qualified through the Japan Road to the Derby. All-sources wagering from Japan on the Kentucky Derby race was a new record of $10.1 million, beating the previous record of $8.3 million in 2022. 

New Churchill Downs Paddock. (Churchill Downs image)

CDI debuted the all-new Paddock with two new luxury reserved seating areas – The Woodford Reserve Paddock Club and Sports Illustrated’s Club SI. These luxury reserved seating areas offer customers an opportunity to view horses as they are saddled in the paddock and experience the thrill of the races from the rail of the racetrack. 

“The Kentucky Derby is a testament to the enduring spirit of sportsmanship, unity and the power of tradition. We were honored to debut our transformational new Paddock as we celebrated this milestone 150th Run for the Roses. The new Paddock has fundamentally enhanced the experience of all of our guests as they pass through our front gates and is a stepping stone to the next chapter of this time-honored event,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “We expect the Kentucky Derby Week Adjusted EBITDA to reflect a new record with $26 to $28 million of growth over the prior record set last year. As we reflect on 150 years of our storied past, we remain committed to innovating new experiences for Derby fans.” 

@PastTheWire wow. I am thankful you took the time to provide such detail about an all time great horse and the tragedy of that final race.

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