Kentucky Derby Breaks Own Betting Record at Mattress Mack’s $1.2m Expense

  • The Derby broke its 2022 record of $180m, while Mattress Mack blew $1.2m on Angel of Empire
  • The build-up to the Derby was overshadowed by the death of four horses in five days at the track
Kentucky Derby crowd
Records collapsed at the 149th Kentucky Derby, where Mattress Mack also made headlines for his $1.2m betting loss. [Image:]

Churchill Downs and its sportsbook partners predicted an uptick in betting for the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby, and what an uptick it turned out to be. The event shattered its own records for betting, recording $180m in wagers.

broke last year’s record by a healthy $11.4m

Saturday’s overall betting total was up almost 7% on the 2022 Derby. It broke last year’s record by a healthy $11.4m, with betting charts revealing a wagering tsunami of straight pool wagers totaling $89.2m.

Helping reach that figure was the furniture store owner and high-stakes bettor Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale. Bleacher Report Betting shared a video of Mack placing a $1.2m bet on Angel of Empire:

While Mack’s bet caused Angel to become a +400 favorite, its third-place finish behind Two Phils and winner Mage must have left the Houston, Texas businessman with a face as red as his rose-print suit.

That said, losing $1.2m Saturday and over $3m on March Madness somewhat pales in contrast to the record $75m Mack pocketed on last year’s Houston Astros World Series win, a team he’s already dropped $1.9m on to repeat in 2023.

The build-up to the Derby was overshadowed by the death of four horses in just five days at the famed Churchill Downs racetrack. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr has been suspended amid an investigation into the deaths.

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