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How much money is bet on the Kentucky Derby each year

Nine figures will be bet on the 2023 Kentucky Derby. We break down how much money has been bet in recent years on the most famous horse race in the world.

Rich Strike with Sonny Leon up (R) crosses the finish line to win ahead of Epicenter (C) and Zandon (L) during the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 07, 2022 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Horse racing is a nearly year-round sport, but the months of May and June are the biggest on the calendar. The Triple Crown of horse racing gets underway on Saturday with the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The Preakness follows on May 20, and the Belmont Stakes run on June 10.

The Kentucky Derby is the most famous of the three and will feature massive betting. A year ago, the 148th edition of the Run for the Roses saw a record betting handle of $179 million in the parimutuel pool. That was a 17% increase from 2021 and an 8% increase from a record-setting 2019, per Churchill Downs. The total handle from all legal sources was $391.8 million, which was up 25% from a year ago and up 14% from the previous record.

Rich Strike won a shocker last year, claiming victory as an 80-1 longshot. Front Office Sports reported that only $501,135 of the pool was wagered on the winner, which was the lowest of any horse in the field.

The pool of betting opportunities is growing this year. DraftKings has launched DK Horse for betting on horse racing. The service is offering deposit bonuses if you bet on the Kentucky Derby this weekend.