05/03/2013 6:28PM

Churchill Downs: Handle on Kentucky Oaks, Friday card sets records

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Barbara D. Livingston
Princess of Sylmar (left) wins the Kentucky Oaks over Beholder. Handle on this year's Kentucky Oaks was up 21 percent from 2012.

Betting on the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday was a record $14,241,311, up 21.3 percent compared to betting on the race last year, according to the chart for the race.

Betting on the Oaks was up $2.5 million over last year’s handle total of $11,739,560, despite the fact that this year’s edition had only 10 fillies in the field and last year’s had 14. The staggering increase in betting also contributed to a record handle total for an entire Oaks Day card, with $45.5 million being bet this year on the 12-race card, according to an analysis of the charts, compared to $39.9 million last year, a jump of 14.5 percent.

Betting on the Oaks has climbed steadily over the past decade as Churchill has focused more of its energy on promoting the race, along with the other race days leading up to the Saturday Derby.

Attendance on Friday, according to Churchill, was 113,280, up 1.1 percent compared to reported attendance last year. This year was the second-highest of all time, behind the 2010 number of 116,046.

[DRF LIVE AT THE KENTUCKY DERBY: News updates, photos, videos]

Temperatures were mild in Kentucky on Friday, and the skies were mostly cloudy for much of the card.

The 2012 Oaks was won by Princess of Sylmar, a 38-1 shot. The favorite was Dreaming of Julia, who finished fourth after being troubled at the start. Dreaming of Julia was 3-2 off a blowout victory at Gulfstream Park in her last start.

The win-place-show pools for the Oaks this year totaled $4.7 million, $1 million higher than betting in the same pools last year, even with four fewer horses.

Handle on the $250,000-guaranteed pick six was $503,880. The winning sequence paid $116,022, which means there will be no carryover going into the Derby card. The pick six on Derby Day is guaranteed at $1 million, a $500,000 increase over the pick-six guarantee last year.

W.G. More than 1 year ago
You have to wonder how much this will go up if NBC winds up insisting on both the Derby and Oaks going to prime time (likely with the Oaks on Friday on NBC from 10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM ET and a 10:40 PM ET post for the Oaks and the Derby from 7:00-10:00 PM ET Saturday on NBC with a 9:30 PM ET post for the Derby). I suspect for the first Derby under the lights, we will see 150,000+ for the Oaks and 200,000+ for the Derby and tons of new handle from the Asia-Pacific region (where it would be early in the programs in Japan on Saturday morning for the Oaks and the same on Sunday morning for the Derby as for instance programs at Tokyo Race Course normally start at 10:05 AM local time as I understand it). The only reason in my view we have not already seen the first nighttime Kentucky Derby has been the concerns of Churchill Downs and NBC that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would have a blockbuster pay-per-view boxing match that night (which almost happened last year with Manny Pacquiao, which if it had would have shattered all known records for ANY pay-per-view event as 20-25 million people were expected to view that fight).
Lise McLain More than 1 year ago
Hi! Wow! New records has been established. Great! Lise from Maine