top of page

Kentucky Derby 150: A Record-Breaking Year

Updated: Jun 17



When Churchill Downs hosted the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, it marked a monumental event in sports and American culture as the historic race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds was staged for the 150th consecutive year without interruption – a mark unmatched by any other sporting event in the United States.


Fittingly, the memorable day was a record-breaking extravaganza that will forever be cemented in history. Mystik Dan claimed the $3.1 million winner’s share of the record $5 million Kentucky Derby purse while prevailing by a nose over Sierra Leone and Japan’s Forever Young (JPN) in the closest three-horse photo finish in the history of the race, eclipsing the 1947 renewal 77 years ago. Breaking from post No. 3 in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby starting gate at odds of 18-1, Mystik Dan clocked the classic 1 ¼-mile distance in 2:03.34 over a fast track under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.



Participation in Kentucky Derby 150 was unparalleled:


  • A peak audience of 20.1 million fans (13% year-over-year growth) from 174 global territories (33% year-over-year growth) tuned in to watch the Kentucky Derby on NBC or Peacock. Additionally, a jubilant crowd of nearly 157,000 spectators attended the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

  • All-time betting handle records were set for Kentucky Derby Day at $320.5 million, including an unprecedented $210.7 million on the Kentucky Derby itself.

  • More than 20 partners activated on-site at Churchill Downs including Brown-Forman’s Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Herradura Tequila and Finlandia Vodka; Longines; Ford Motor Company; SAP; Sports Illustrated; The Unwell Network; Coca-Cola; vineyard vines; Jackson Family Wines; PopCorners; Red Bull; Q Mixers; Tractor Beverage Company; Boot Barn; US Army Golden Knights; Aviator Nation; Radley London; Brackish; Roots and Jones; Fanatics; and TwinSpires.com, with more off-site or online partnerships.

  • Social media engagements around the Kentucky Derby saw a 60% increase with more than 177 million impressions across all handles and platforms. A new partnership with Pinterest drove 43 million impressions alone with the Derby Week takeover.


Kentucky Derby Week uniquely connected a wide range of fans from bucket-list enthusiasts to adventure-seeking Gen Z with experiential moments around every turn of the track.


When Churchill Downs hosted the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, it marked a monumental event in sports and American culture as the historic race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds was staged for the 150th consecutive year without interruption – a mark unmatched by any other sporting event in the United States.


Fittingly, the memorable day was a record-breaking extravaganza that will forever be cemented in history. Mystik Dan claimed the $3.1 million winner’s share of the record $5 million Kentucky Derby purse while prevailing by a nose over Sierra Leone and Japan’s Forever Young (JPN) in the closest three-horse photo finish in the history of the race, eclipsing the 1947 renewal 77 years ago. Breaking from post No. 3 in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby starting gate at odds of 18-1, Mystik Dan clocked the classic 1 ¼-mile distance in 2:03.34 over a fast track under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.


Participation in Kentucky Derby 150 was unparalleled:


  • A peak audience of 20.1 million fans (13% year-over-year growth) from 174 global territories (33% year-over-year growth) tuned in to watch the Kentucky Derby on NBC or Peacock. Additionally, a jubilant crowd of nearly 157,000 spectators attended the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

  • All-time betting handle records were set for Kentucky Derby Day at $320.5 million, including an unprecedented $210.7 million on the Kentucky Derby itself.

  • More than 20 partners activated on-site at Churchill Downs including Brown-Forman’s Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Herradura Tequila and Finlandia Vodka; Longines; Ford Motor Company; SAP; Sports Illustrated; The Unwell Network; Coca-Cola; vineyard vines; Jackson Family Wines; PopCorners; Red Bull; Q Mixers; Tractor Beverage Company; Boot Barn; US Army Golden Knights; Aviator Nation; Radley London; Brackish; Roots and Jones; Fanatics; and TwinSpires.com, with more off-site or online partnerships.

  • Social media engagements around the Kentucky Derby saw a 60% increase with more than 177 million impressions across all handles and platforms. A new partnership with Pinterest drove 43 million impressions alone with the Derby Week takeover.


Kentucky Derby Week uniquely connected a wide range of fans from bucket-list enthusiasts to adventure-seeking Gen Z with experiential moments around every turn of the track.


Transformative Renovations and Notable Events


The transformative $200 million Paddock renovation included luxury hospitality offerings in the Woodford Reserve Paddock Club which houses an underground tunnel to the Paddock, and Sports Illustrated’s Club SI which features horse racing editorial coverage. Ford Motor Company partnered with The Tonight Show and Jimmy Fallon attending the Kentucky Derby, giving away a free Ford truck live on NBC.


The Infield served as the stage for internet sensations and UNWELL personalities, Alex Cooper and Alix Earle’s highly anticipated conversation alongside fashion maven Zanna Roberts Rassi.


In the Paddock Plaza, a number of bands and talent performed throughout the weekend. Kentucky native and five-time Grammy-winning country music icon Wynonna Judd paid homage to her home state during an emotional rendition of the National Anthem, followed by lifestyle icon Martha Stewart’s Riders Up command in the new Paddock.


More on the Kentucky Derby


The $5 million Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Inaugurated in 1875, the legendary 1 1/4-mile race for 3-year-olds is the longest continually-held major sporting event in North America and the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown series. Also known as “The Run for the Roses®” and “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports®,” the Kentucky Derby is the most attended horse race in the nation.

Next year, the Kentucky Derby will take place on May 3, 2025. For more information, please visit www.KentuckyDerby.com.


More on Churchill Downs Racetrack


Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”), the world’s most legendary racetrack, has been the home of The Kentucky Derby, the longest continually held annual sporting event in the United States since 1875. Located in Louisville, CDRT features a series of themed race days during Derby Week, including the Kentucky Oaks, and conducts Thoroughbred horse racing during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. CDRT is located on 175 acres and has a one-mile dirt track, a 7/8-mile turf track, a stabling area, and provides seating for approximately 60,000 guests. The stable area has barns sufficient to accommodate 1,400 horses and a 114-room dormitory for backstretch personnel.


CDRT also has a year-round simulcast wagering facility. www.ChurchillDowns.com.


By ML Staff. Content/Image courtesy of Kentucky Derby

 

Comments


bottom of page