Led By Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs Had $41.2M In Live May Bets

Written By Matthew Bain on June 14, 2023
Churchill Downs May handle Kentucky Derby, from playkentucky.com

Spearheaded by the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs reported north of $41.2 million in horse betting handle in May.

That’s according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, which released May handle and revenue totals for live horse race betting, simulcast wagering and historical horse racing gaming on Wednesday.

Churchill Downs featured 18 race dates, headlined by the Kentucky Derby and its affiliated races to start May. An average of $2,290,314 was wagered each day for an exact 18-day total of $41,225,657. Of course, this number is just the total amount of bets placed at the Kentucky horse racing track itself. From all sources — including mobile apps — there was a record $288.7 million bet on the 2023 Kentucky Derby.

One other Kentucky racetrack had race dates in May. Oak Grove Racing & Gaming had $76,922 in handle over nine days.

Churchill Downs and Oak Grove are the only venues with live racing in June, as well. Churchill Downs has races every day except Mondays and Tuesdays. However, for the time being, those races will take place at Ellis Park while Churchill Downs undergoes changes following 12 horse deaths surrounding the Kentucky Derby. Oak Grove has live racing Sunday-Tuesday each week.

Keeneland takes in highest simulcast handle

Kentucky horse betting simulcast facilities reported $11 million in simulcast handle in May. Keeneland led all venues with $4.5 million in handle, followed by Kentucky Downs at $1.7 million and Churchill Downs at $1.4 million.

Ellis Park and Turfway Park also topped $1 million in handle, with Ellis Park reporting $1.3 million and Turfway Park just shy of $1.4 million.

Derby City Gaming leads HHR gaming handle

As for HHR gaming, the KHRC reported Kentucky’s nine HHR venues took in $744.7 million in May handle.

Churchill Downs’ Derby City Gaming took in the most money at $190.5 million. Kentucky Downs’ The Mint in Franklin was a close second at $149.9 million. Oak Grove Racing & Gaming, at $146.2 million, rounded out the top three for May.

Derby City Gaming also came away with the top May revenue, with $17.2 million. In total, Kentucky’s nine HHR gaming parlors combined for $66.9 million in revenue.

Photo by AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
Matthew Bain Avatar
Written by
Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as a Content Manager for PlayKentucky and other Catena Media sites in 2022. He covered the launch of Massachusetts sports betting and the Prop 26 vs. Prop 27 battle in California. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register's recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet's high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he's somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story.

View all posts by Matthew Bain