SUMMARY OF WAGERING, ATTENDANCE, AND TV RATING METRICS FOR THE 2019 TRIPLE CROWN RACES

The 2019 Triple Crown races did about as expected on key performance metrics when it is taken into account that the Kentucky Derby winner, Country House, did not contest the Preakness or the Belmont, nor did the disqualified Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security. Betting was robust for a year in which three different horses won the Triple Crown races.

Kentucky Derby

Handle: An all-time record of $250.9 million was bet on the Kentucky Derby card (an increase of 11% over 2018) and $165.5 million was wagered on the Kentucky Derby itself (plus 10% compared to 2018).

TV Ratings: The Derby had a 9.4 rating and 16.34 million viewers for the entire telecast, an 11% increase in ratings and a 10% increase in viewers over 2018. The race segment of the telecast attracted 18.0 million viewers and the post-race segment had 18.5 million viewers, owing to the drama over Maximum Security’s disqualification. By contrast, the final round of the 2019 Masters golf tournament, won by Tiger Woods, had 18.3 million viewers (however, the final round play was moved to earlier in the day to avoid rain).

Attendance: 150,729, down 4% from 2018.

Preakness Stakes

Handle: An all-time record of $97.5 million was wagered on the entire Preakness card (up 2.7% over the previous record), of which $54.5 million was bet on the Preakness Stakes.

TV Ratings: Compared to 51 NBC-aired Triple Crown telecasts, the 2019 Preakness recorded the second-lowest rating, with a rating of 3.4 and 5.41 million viewers. Nonetheless, the Preakness topped the final round of the PGA Championship, which had a rating of 3.3 and a TV audience of 5 million.

Attendance: 131,256, down 2.4% from 2018.

Belmont Stakes

Handle: Betting set a Belmont record for a non-Triple Crown year with all-sources handle for the 13-race card of $102.2 million. $53.2 million was wagered on the Belmont Stakes. In 2018, handle for the Belmont card was $138 million with the Triple Crown on the line.

TV Ratings: The rating of 3.6 was the best for an NBC sports event on Saturday, though there was not much competition in this regard with no finals games played in the NBA and NHL. In 2018, the Triple Crown telecast of Justify’s win drew a rating of 8.1.

Attendance: Paid attendance was 56,217, down from the 90,000 fans in 2018 (Belmont Park management now caps attendance at 90,000).

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