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148th Kentucky Oaks Sets New Record For Betting Handle

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • The 148th running of the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs Racetrack set a new record for betting handle.
  • The race traditionally takes place on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby for three year old fillies.
  • D. Wayne Lukas’ Secret Oath was the Kentucky Oaks winner followed by Nest and Desert Dawn.

The 148th Longines Kentucky Oaks was run at Churchill Downs on Friday under the sort of cloudy skies that race fans have come to expect this time of year. Fortunately, the rain stayed away and track conditions remained good throughout the race card. Secret Oath, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, took the victory and the traditional wreath of lilies. Jockey Luis Saez won his first Kentucky Oaks while trainer Lukas was victorious for the fifth time in North America’s premier Grade 1 race for three year old fillies. Lukas–at age 86–tied Woody Stephens for most Kentucky Oaks wins by a trainer.

There were other records at the race, one of the most significant achieved off the track. The 148th Kentucky Oaks saw a record betting handle for the full card at Churchill Downs as well as the main event race. All sources betting on the full Kentucky Oaks day race card totaled $74.6 million USD, up 37% compared to 2021 and up 24% compared to the previous record in 2019. All sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race was $24.3 million up 40% compared to 2021 and up 25% from the previous record in 2019. The race crowd wasn’t quite a record, though a very sizable 100,188 spectators attended the proceedings despite the threat of inclement weather. The near sellout crowd was the first not subject to social distancing and other requirements since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Churchill Downs President Mike Anderson was clearly in a ebullient mood as he honored everyone that made the day a success:

“Today we celebrate Secret Oath and her connections. The 148th Kentucky Oaks will be remembered as a triumphant return to a full-capacity crowd. We thank the fans, sponsors, horsemen, horseplayers and all participants who contributed to today’s record-breaking success.”

The day also celebrated survivors of breast and ovarian cancer. Churchill Downs, Inc. has long used the Kentucky Oaks as a platform to raise money for women’s health causes as they outlined in their press release:

CDI continued the tradition of using Kentucky Oaks as a platform to raise money for women’s health initiatives, and welcomed breast and ovarian cancer survivors who had waited to walk in the Survivors Parade presented by Kroger. The 148 survivors were joined by charitable partners and volunteers from Norton Healthcare and Kentucky Cancer Program’s Horses and Hope, to take an in-person walk on Churchill Downs’ newly-installed Turf Course.

Secret Oath went off at 4-1 odds with jockey Luis Saez aboard and paid $10.80 to win, $5.60 to place and $4.60 to show. Two lengths back was 2-1 race favorite Nest, paying $4.20 to place and $3.20 to show. 50-1 longshot Desert Dawn finished third, one half length back of Nest. Desert Dawn rewarded show bettors with a $15.40 payday. The 1-4 Exacta paid $39.40, the 1-4-9 50 cent Trifecta paid $308.40 and the 1-4-9-7 $1 Superfecta paid $3,238.40.

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