Attendance, handle and television ratings all higher than 2009

More than 155,800 fans braved heavy early morning rain and sporadic showers last Saturday to watch the 136th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Last year, 153,563 turned out.

Combined attendance for the Derby and Kentucky Oaks was 271,850, also exceeding last year’s 258,430.

It was the tenth time that Derby Day attendance exceeded 150,000.

The television ratings were the highest in 18 years. NBC says its coverage drew a 10.3 overnight rating and a 23 share, the best since Lil E Tee won in 1992.

The “rating” is the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned into a program. The “share” is the percentage of all TVs in use at the time. “Overnight ratings” measure the country’s largest markets.

Total wagering from all sources on the race, on-track and off, was $112.7 million, a 7.8 percent increase over the $104.6 million bet in 2009. Total wagering from all sources on the 13-race Derby Day card was $162.7 million, an increase of 4.3 percent over last year’s $156.0 million.

Super Saver’s victory gave WinStar Farm its first Kentucky Derby win. The thoroughbred colt, ridden by three-time Derby winner Calvin Borel, returned $18 on a $2 bet and completed the 1 1/4-mile distance in 2:04.45 over a sloppy track.

Churchill Downs returned $133.1 million to bettors on the day, approximately 82 percent of all bets.