Most Bookies Delighted with Kentucky Derby Result

The Kentucky Derby took place on Saturday May 7 and produced a shock winner. Rich Strike was the 80/1 winner of the first leg of America’s Triple Crown. There was more good news for bookmakers with a record $179 million bet on the pari-mutuel pool.

That was 17 per cent higher than the figure recorded in 2021. It beat the previous record (set in 2019) by 8 per cent. When you take so much in bets, the hope of any bookmaker is an unlikely winner. That’s just what they got and only $501,135 of the amount wagered on the win pool went on the total outsider, Rich Strike. Every other horse in the field had more cash bet on them.

Rich Strike wasn’t even in the race until two days before it took place. The final furlong saw the outsider charging on the rail and overtaking Epicenter and Zandon to win the race. Bookmakers would have been a lot less happy if that hadn’t happened as the second and third were the top two in the market.

Rich Strike went off at 80/1 on the course but had been backed down from 99/1. The odds being offered in Nevada were considerably higher. Sportsbooks there were offering 300/1 on Rich Strike winning the Kentucky Derby in March. After the participation of the horse was confirmed last week, the odds were still 200/1.

It wasn’t good news for every bookie. The Las Vegas sportsbook Circa saw a lot of late bets placed on Rich Strike. Most were in the $25 to $50 range but Circa ended up making a small loss on the Kentucky Derby.

One of their risk supervisors Paul Zilm said: “people love the longest shots on the board.” He added: “Long-shot bettors got their wish.” SuperBook did better though with “maybe 10” bets on the winner.

The high odds were expected because Rich Strike hadn’t got the best of records. He finished last oten on debut last August. Not many people were suggesting a future Kentucky Derby win was on the way. Rich Strike did win next time out but in a maiden claiming stakes.

There were no more wins in his next five races. Rich Strike finished behind Epicenter and Tiz the Bomb who finished ninth on Saturday.

One punter who wasn’t on Rich Strike was Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ MvIngvale. He’s known for his massive bets and lost $2.6 million on the Kentucky Derby. $1.5 million of that was placed on Epicenter who finished second at odds of 41/10. It was good news for customers at his furniture store in Houston. Anyone spending at least $3,000 there got their money back as the Kentucky Derby favourite lost.

Now the attention turns to the second leg of the Triple Crown. That’s the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21. Epicenter is the 5/2 favourite at William Hill with Rich Strike at 7/1. Zandon can be backed at 9/2 with Coral. The distance for the Preakness Stakes is half a furlong shorter than for the Kentucky Derby, so Rich Strike will need to make his run a bit earlier at Pimlico.