Kentucky Derby and Mayweather vs. Cotto fight huge hits

May 8, 2012 3:00 AM

Just when we may have thought that horse racing was losing some luster amongst this generation of gamblers who seem to have gravitated more toward sports and poker, the Kentucky Derby proved it still has drawing power and appeals to the masses.

All accounts from Las Vegas race books are that the Derby proved to be as strong as ever.

The Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto bout on Saturday night at the MGM Grand also created great action throughout the city, and in particular, the chain the MGM books run by Jay Rood out of the Mirage race and sports book.

Mayweather’s 12-round decision turned out to be the best decision for the books. Mayweather opened as a -650 favorite and closed at -700, but it was all the Cotto action in between that led to a winning day for the MGM books.

First, though, came the Derby.

“We had 22 windows open with lines of bettors eight to 10 deep all day and it reflected in our handle at the end of the day showing an increase over last year’s Derby,” said Station Casinos director of race and sports Jason McCormick, who runs the hub operation out of the Red Rock.

Nevada race books saw an increase on the Kentucky Derby of 4.8% over last year and a 2.2% increase of action for the entire day, a great sign for the industry moving forward. Now all the books need is some Triple Crown hype to fuel the bettors’ curiosity even more.

“We’ll definitely be rooting for I’ll Have Another to win on the 19th at Pimlico,” said McCormick. “It would be a big boost to the entire industry to have a horse running for the Triple Crown at Belmont Park.”

Station Casinos books were packed and helped drive business by offering free t-shirts as has always been a staple of theirs. One of the promotions they did last week I found to be unique and commendable. It was for a very worthy cause.

Station offered a $10,000 Twin Quinella for the Kentucky Oaks with all the money received going to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation. The Twin-Q generated over $16,000 that Station properties donated to the foundation, in addition to paying $5,000 each to the two lucky winners of the Twin-Q.

Between donating the money and having all their ticket writers dressed in pink t-shirts, Stations did a great job in raising awareness.

Most of us have been affected one way another with someone we know or love that has had breast cancer. It’s a huge part of reality that we have to deal with and for a casino to come out and use this platform to raise awareness, they should be applauded, and hopefully copied by others.

Floyd Helps Books

“We had a lot of action on Cotto and dropped the price to -600 on Saturday afternoon because it was pretty one sided,” said Rood. “But as is always the case, the larger money waits for the best price on the favorite and in this case, we ran all the way up to our closing price of Mayweather at -700.”

It was a busy Saturday at every Las Vegas race and sports book with a full day of horse racing and then the Mayweather fight, but in between the two events was the UFC on Fox which also created some action.

“We wrote about 15 times as much on the boxing than we did the UFC event,” said Rood. “We don’t write nearly as much on the UFC when it’s not in town.”

As far as results on the UFC event, Rood wasn’t too happy with the outcome.

“Let’s just say I was much more pleased with the boxing results, we lost all four of the UFC bouts we booked, but it was still a good day overall.”