04/28/2010 12:00AM

Derby to be bet in Hong Kong


Bettors in Hong Kong will be able to wager on the Kentucky Derby and three races on the Derby undercard for the first time this year, according to William Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's executive director of racing.

Hong Kong is 12 hours ahead of Kentucky, so the Derby simulcast will go to post at 6:24 a.m. in Hong Kong on the first Sunday in May. The first post for the first race from Churchill that will be available to Hong Kong bettors will go off at 3 a.m. local time.

Nader, a former executive with the New York Racing Association, said he was hopeful that Hong Kong bettors would wager approximately $4 million total on the four races. He said that Hong Kong bettors typically bet about $8 million on a similar slate of foreign races at "more favorable time slots."

"People here are completely unfamiliar with American racing, and we rely heavily on Churchill to provide the necessary information, particularly past video of probable runners in all four races, to help our customers get comfortable," Nader said in an e-mail.

Per capita, Hong Kong leads the racing world in horse race betting. Its government had limited foreign simulcasts to 10 races a year as recently as two years ago in order to protect betting on the local racing product, but the government has recently begun to relax those restrictions to allow the importation of more races.

Last year, Hong Kong offered four races on the Saturday Breeders' Cup card, compared with one Breeders' Cup race in each of the past two years. Handle on the four races was $2.9 million.