Steven Crist at the Daily Racing Form writes that the money spent on bets that included the Kentucky Derby in 2011 totaled $107.8 million. In 2012 the total bet on the Derby was $128.6 million, an increase of 19.27 percent.
Crist says there was no dramatic difference in attendance, weather, or the quality of the fields. Betting on the undercard races stayed the same from 2011 to 2012. He continues to say there really is no comparable explanation for why there was a surge in Derby betting this year. It was a wide open race and there was no superstar standing well above the rest of the field with nine horses 15-1 or less. Crist suggests that the expanded NBC television coverage could have helped, but there is no real way to determine if that were the case.
“Whatever the reason, the gains were particularly heartening to those who want to see the game succeed, because they came amid what may have been an unprecedented spate of negativity surrounding the sport and its real and perceived problems with medications and accidents,” writes Crist.
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