In the record books, Country House will go down as the winner of the 2019 Kentucky Derby and, for those who may come across that result without context, it may seem rather innocuous. There was plenty of controversy surrounding the race, however, with Maximum Security claiming victory before a shocking decision to overturn the result and hand the title to the initial runner-up. The disqualification of Maximum Security forced a multi-million dollar swing in terms of the betting handle and, in addition to that, the 2019 Kentucky Derby set a different record in the handicapping world.
Ben Fawkes of ESPN brings word that the 2019 edition set a benchmark for overall betting handle, with a 10 percent increase from the 2018 record of $149.9 million. All told, $165.5 million was reported in overall wagering and, while that does include more than $4 million from Japan, it would be wise to consider that all kinds of off-shore betting took place that would not necessarily be included in this already substantial total.
On one hand this isn’t surprising, as sports betting has never been bigger in the United States, particularly when considering the explosion in legal wagering in states that now allow it. With that said, the conditions weren’t ideal on Derby day, with all kinds of rain, and the final story ended up centering on controversy, rather than pageantry.
Still, this is yet another step forward in the world of sports gambling and, while it may be early to project this, it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if the 2020 installment set another record with the way things seem to be trending.