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Mattress Mack to make biggest Kentucky Derby wager ever to offset furniture promotion

The biggest bet ever will arrive before Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. We break down what it means for the odds.

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A general view at the start during the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Jim Owens-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Mattress Mack has started his wagering. On Friday, he placed a $500,000 bet on Essential Quality. He’ll definitely be placing more wagers.

The man known as Mattress Mack is back for more action, this time for the annual “Run for the Roses.”

Houston-based furniture magnate Jim McIngvale is running a promotion around Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality. If the Derby favorite — currently Essential Quality — wins the Derby, Gallery Furniture will provide a full money-back guarantee to anyone who buys a mattress set of $3,000 or more at any of their stores. You can choose to receive either a 100% refund on your mattress purchase total or 150% of your mattress purchase total back in Gallery Furniture in-store credit.

McIngvale regularly runs these promotions around major sporting events and then places large wagers as a hedge against the kind of payout such a promotion would cost his company. He told The Action Network that he’ll likely have to bet at least $2 million on Essential Quality to provide necessary insurance against the liability. Sports betting columnist Todd Dewey is reporting Mack’s eventual bet could end up at $3 million or $4 million and would be the biggest bet in Derby history.

The Kentucky Derby draw will be held on Tuesday, but we’re likely already seeing some odds movement. On Sunday afternoon, Circa Sports listed Essential Quality at +290, followed by Known Agenda and Rock Your World at +500. The Mack news hit on Saturday, so the movement is already likely baked into those prices. That being said, we’ll see more movement this week elsewhere in the odds, particularly after the draw is announced.