05/06/2012 8:40AM

Churchill Downs: All-sources Kentucky Derby handle sets record at $133.1 million

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Barbara D. Livingston
I'll Have Another (left) runs past Bodemeister to win the 2012 Kentucky Derby in front of a record crowd of 165,307.

All-sources wagering on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby established a new record and was a significant increase over betting on the race last year, according to figures released by Churchill Downs late Saturday.

The preliminary all-sources handle figure for the Derby, as reported by Churchill, was $133.1 million, an 18.8 percent increase over last year’s handle and a 12.4 percent increase over the previous high mark. This year’s Derby had 20 horses, compared to 19 last year, but more significantly, this year’s field did not include a standout that focused bettors’ attention on one or two horses.

All-sources handle for the entire 13-race card also established a record at $187 million, up 13.2 percent from last year’s total of $165.2 million. The all-sources handle figure dwarfs any other single-day wagering number for a racing card, including the Saturday Breeders’ Cup card at Churchill last November, in which handle was $97.6 million.

The spike in the figures stands out against a brief decline in Derby wagering figures that accompanied a much larger drop in betting figures on Thoroughbred racing nationwide. Handle on Thoroughbred races has declined markedly over the past three years, and Derby figures have seesawed between marginal declines and insignificant upticks for five years.

Ontrack, attendance was 165,307, as reported by Churchill, a record. The previous record was reported last year, at 164,858. Churchill does not announce attendance figures except on Derby Day and the day preceding the Derby.

Betting ontrack for the Derby was $12.3 million, according to Churchill, a rise of 7.1 percent. That figure also was a record, breaking the previous mark of $12.1 million, set in 2008. Total wagering ontrack for the 13-race card was $23.7 million, an increase of 1.3 percent, Churchill said.