New Records Set at 148th Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Racers on Left and a Sportsbook on Right
The 148th running of the Kentucky Derby is not one that racing fans will soon forget. Rich Strike, the largest underdog in the race, emerged victorious in the 2022 Run for the Roses. At roughly 80-1 odds, Rich Strike is one of the biggest underdogs to ever win the Kentucky Derby.

Sportsbooks across the US have experienced a record-setting year so far in 2022. The trend continued last weekend at the Kentucky Derby. According to reports, Churchill Downs collected a record horseracing betting handle at the event. The Kentucky Oaks also broke betting records on Friday.

For the first time since 2019, the Kentucky Derby was run without any coronavirus attendance restrictions. The crowd at the Derby returned to its pre-pandemic size. Fans of the Kentucky Derby also took advantage of Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires online racebook to place bets. Churchill Downs also reported promising betting revenue from other countries, such as Japan.

Rich Strike Wins the 2022 Kentucky Derby

A total of 20 horses competed in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. The field consisted of top contenders from horse racing circuits across the country. Many of the favorites in the Derby made compelling cases for horse racing bettors. In the end, none of the horses in the top-10 betting odds won the blanket of roses.

A late scratch on Friday opened up the door for Rich Strike to enter. The late entry was given 80-1 odds to win the storied race. After a slow start, Rich Strike was able to pull ahead in the last leg of the Derby. In the end, Rich Strike won by less than one full length.

Rich Strike will go down in history as one of the largest underdogs to ever win the Kentucky Derby. The winning colt was trained by Eric Reed and his jockey for the race was Sonny Leon. Saturday’s win was the first Derby win for both Reed and Leon.

Kentucky Derby Breaks Sports Betting Record

The 148th Kentucky Derby will also be remembered as one of the most wagered on events in recent memory. According to Churchill Downs, a total of $273.8 million was bet on Saturday’s races. The total betting handle increased by 9% over the previous record set in 2019.

A large majority of Saturday’s betting handle was wagered on the Kentucky Derby itself. Churchill Downs reported that $179 million, almost two-thirds of the handle, was bet on the Derby. That broke the 2019 record for the most money bet on the Derby. The other 13 races on Saturdays contributed to the remaining betting handle.

Online betting on the Kentucky Derby card also reached new heights. According to Churchill Downs, online wagering accounted for $67.4 million of the betting handle. That is an 8% increase from the previous record. The Derby itself accounted for $44 million of the online betting handle, breaking last year’s record by 8%.

Record-Breaking Weekend at Churchill Downs

A new record betting handle was not the only good news to come out of the weekend. Attendance at the 2022 Kentucky Derby reached 147,294, the highest it has been since 2019. Last year, pandemic restrictions limited the crowd to less than 52,000 spectators.

The success at Churchill Downs was not just limited to the Kentucky Derby card, either. On Friday, the track hosted the Kentucky Oaks, a race for three-year-old fillies. At the event, Churchill Downs collected a total betting handle of $74.6 million. That broke the record set in 2019 by a whopping 24%. The Oaks itself generated a record betting handle of $24.3 million, which was 25% higher than the previous record.

In total, Churchill Downs collected a betting handle of $391.8 million over the two horseracing cards. The total handle is a new record, breaking the previous mark by 14%. Churchill Downs reported that $8.3 million of the Kentucky Derby betting handle came from Japan. Crown Pride, the only horse in the race from Japan, finished 13th in the Derby.


The 2022 Kentucky Derby was a recording-breaking event in more ways than one. Rich Strike will be talked about for years to come after winning as an 80-1 underdog. Sports bettors also wagered on the Derby in record amounts. Churchill Downs collected a record betting handle for Saturday’s racing card.

Attendance at the event was also up. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the total number of Derby spectators topped 100,000. The Kentucky Oaks, which was hosted on Friday, also join in on the record-breaking fun. Wagering on the Oaks was 25% higher than the previous record.