A total of $79.4m was bet on the 2020 Kentucky Derby, down 52.0% from 2019’s record handle, according to Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI).
Bettors staked $126.0m on the program of racing on 5 September, down 49.8%, following the event being postponed from its traditional date in May and taking place without spectators because of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
CDI had initially planned to allow 23,000 fans to attend and a maximum of 40% occupancy of reserved seats in proposals unveiled earlier this month, before deciding in August to hold the event behind closed doors. Only essential personnel and participants were permitted to attend in person, following an increase in cases of Covid-19 in the Louisville area.
The event usually welcomes a crowd of around 150,000 and had never before been held without spectators, nor had it been held as late as September.