The Controversial Kentucky Derby Disqualification Caused A Huge Betting Swing In The Millions

Getty Image

The 145th Kentucky Derby ended in wildly controversial fashion, with Maximum Security suffering a disqualification that allowed Country House to become the victor. In the hours since the race ended, many opinions have been shared on the validity of what transpired, with some bringing out the pitchforks aimed toward the decision-makers, and others supporting what was certainly a difficult (and bold) final choice. However, there was a different angle on the proceedings and, as you may expect with horse racing, it stemmed with the betting market.

ESPN’s David Purdum brings word that the decision “cost bettors who backed Maximum Security to win, place or show approximately $9 million,” and that reflects only data stemming from It would be difficult (read: impossible) to gather the actual monetary impact, given all of the illegal sports betting that occurs surrounding the Kentucky Derby and other major sporting events, but even at “just” $9 million, that is a staggering change in monetary fortune.

The ESPN report also brings word that there was impact in Las Vegas, with Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook reporting a change from a “good-sized win to a good-sized loss” and the final race decision also made an impact off-shore.

While BetOnline’s official numbers are unknown, the prominent online outlet announced that all bets on Maximum Security to win would be refunded.

The full handicapping impact is hard to quantify but, considering the fact that Country House was the second-biggest long shot to ever win the Kentucky Derby, it is easy to imagine that a lot of people were very happy about the change, while others (including those on the bookmaking side) may not have been as thrilled.