Because of the pandemic, the handle on the 2020 Kentucky Derby dropped significantly from the previous year. Handle on America’s signature horse race fell 49.8% from 2019. Churchill Downs didn’t run the race until September 5, four months after Derby’s traditional race day on the first Saturday in May.
PayPerHead agents are hopeful the 2021 Triple Crown results in a racebook revenue bounce back. The 2019 Kentucky Derby set a record handle of $165.5 million. 2019’s handle was 10% higher than 2018’s $149.9 million, which had been the previous record.
This year’s race lost star power after winter book favorite Life Is Good became injured. But Essential Quality is undefeated, owned by Godolphin, and trained by Brad Cox, who has ranked in the top ten in wins and earnings in the past four years.
The 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner won’t be the only undefeated horse in the race. Rock Your World, who won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, has victories over grass and dirt. Known Agenda, the Florida Derby winner, and Hot Rod Charlie, who won the Louisiana Derby, will also enter.
Although three races comprise the Triple Crown, for agents, the Kentucky Derby is the most important. Per Nate Johnson, PayPerHead’s product development manager, the Derby attracts more betting action than any other thoroughbred event.