Black Caviar was the darling of the racing world, from Melbourne to London and all points in between. She trended on Twitter and prompted thousands of Australians to make the trip all the way to Royal Ascot to see her attempt at a history-making 22nd victory without defeat in last Saturday's Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes. There was a sellout crowd of 80,000 at Royal Ascot, and thousands more stood in Melbourne's Federation Square to watch live video of the race, obvlivous to the cold winter temperatures.
But there's another, even more tangible way to measure the popularity of Black Caviar: how much the punters bet.
According to Betfair, the equivalent of about $20 million was wagered on Black Caviar in exchange betting despite her overwhelmingly short odds. Of the 13,202,092 British pounds traded in the Diamond Jubilee's win pool, 12,605,730 – or 95% of the total – was centered on Black Caviar.
In so doing, she became the most traded horse in Betfair's 12-year history.
Betfair's starting price of 1.27 on Black Caviar (paying 1.27 for every 1 pound wagered, or roughly 2-to-7 odds) compared favorably to the industry starting price that was the equivalent of 1-to-6 with England's established (and legal) on-track and off-course bookmakers. Those who backed Black Caviar on Betfair's exchange during the in-race betting of the Diamond Jubilee got a price that drifted as high as 1.98 (nearly even money) when it appeared she was in trouble.
Trading on Moonlight Dancer, whose late rally came up just short at the wire after Black Caviar's jockey Luke Nolen relaxed his hands prematurely, fell to a low price of 2.10 (11-to-10 odds).
By comparison, in-race wagering on Frankel in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes earlier in the week dropped to a price of about 1.01 in the final furlong as he drew off to his impressive daylight victory.
How does the roughly $20 million wagered on Black Caviar compare with pari-mutuel betting on America's most popular horse race, the Kentucky Derby? In this year's Derby, a total of $56.6 million was handled nationwide in the win, place, and show pools on the 20 starters.
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