Kentucky Derby 141 is in the books with a record attendance of 170,513 and a record handle of $194.3 million.
I'm always reading what the folks on Twitter are saying, and one of the big pre-Derby concerns was the boxing match in Vegas that was happening after the Derby. There was a lot of chatter going on that there was going to be a lot of money bet on this fight (I don't remember the figures I saw) and that this was going to have a negative impact on the Derby handle. It didn't.
Churchill put out a great card yesterday, with very competitive undercard races and an average field size of 10.23, up slightly from last year's 9.92. Last year, the average win price was $10.98 and the median win price was $8.80. This year, the average was $15.54 (up 41.5%) and the median was $10 (up 13.6%.) It was a more competitive, interesting card.
Racing doesn't need to worry about UFC or College basketball. It needs to worry about putting out a strong product. Kentucky Derby 141 was a great betting card. Good betting races will do more for racing than a food truck ever will.
Now let's talk about the race itself. I thought American Pharoah was very impressive. I'm expecting this year's Triple Crown to be similar to last year's, with Pharoah winning the Preakness and coming up short in the Belmont. I can't fault him at all on yesterday's performance, he didn't save any ground, he stalked the other class horse and the other class horse's biggest rival, and went by them both pretty easily. I'm not going to speculate on how good this year's three year old crop is, but I do think we'll have a fun division up until the Travers and the PA Derby.
Materiality surprised me. I've always liked him and still do, but I expected a clunker yesterday. Instead, he raced a huge one. I don't know how much that took out of him, he is still pretty inexperienced, after all, but that was impressive. I hope they give him some down time, because I think he's a potential superstar, and I'd hate to see him worn out to quickly.
I liked Danzig Moon and Frosted and I was happy with the way both of them raced. Danzig Moon really got bounced around in the first 1/4 mile, made an (arguably) premature move with a 1/2 mile left, made up a lot of ground and flattened out. It was a solid race. I highly doubt any of the connections are disappointed with the effort. Assuming they go the Plate route with him, we may have an interesting Queen's Plate on hand this year. Danzig Moon, Ami's Flatter, Conquest Curlinate. I'm looking forward to it.
This was probably one of my favourite Kentucky Derbies on recent memory. It was just a very exciting race that was a ton of fun to handicap, and thrilling to watch unfold. I enjoyed it, and I'm sure you all did too.