Separated by about 12 hours in time, and 12958km in distance, both Churchill Downs racecourse in Louisville and Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong had significant reasons to celebrate the weekend.
At Churchill Downs, albeit without any fans, a thrilling Kentucky Derby was captured by Authentic, while at Sha Tin, racing resumed in Hong Kong where Joao Moreira kicked off with a flying treble to throw down the gauntlet to arch-rival Zac Purton.
That’s where the similarities ended.
The Kentucky Derby meeting, like the Melbourne Cup in Australia – a sure-fire big betting day – saw gambling turnover plummet by half.
The 49.8% drop for “all-sources wagering”, according to bloodhorse.com, amounted to $126 million vs $252 million for last year’s race meeting, and was the lowest figure since 2002.
The main race itself dropped 52%, and followed similarly lack-lustre turnover for Kentucky Oaks Day, 24-hours earlier.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, scmp.com reports that punters smashed the season’s opening day turnover record by spending HK$1.376 billion on the meeting for an almost 7% increase over the previous record.