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EXCLUSIVE: Mattress Mack is about the Kentucky Derby and the future of horse racing

Posted on April 30, 2021, 5:51 am.

Last Updated: April 30, 2021, 5:51 am.

Steve Bittenbender

LOUISVILLE - The Kentucky Derby is known as a celebrity playground, so a sports betting celebrity makes sense to head to Churchill Downs on the 1st Saturday of May.

Mattress Mack
Gallery Furniture Owner Well-known bookmaker Jim McIngvale, also known as Mattress Mack, will be in Louisville on Saturday to bet millions on the favorite in the Kentucky Derby. The business owner and rider shared his thoughts on how horse racing can attract more fans. (Photo: Gallery Furniture)

Jim McIngvale is set to arrive here on Derby Day and is already plugged in with the money he plans to put on the biggest racing event. He bet on the favorite, who will most likely be the undefeated champion of Essential Quality.

Of course, McIngvale, better known to players as Mattress Mack, is more than a bookmaker. He owns the Gallery Furniture chain in Houston and owns horses. The latter is the reason McIngvale puts a big bet, it does so under the Twin Spiers.

By betting on the track, more money will go to the Kentucky rider. They will receive a 10 percent wager, compared to a smaller amount if they had chosen to bet online through an advanced deposit betting platform such as Churchill's TwinSpires, or on a different track.

"There's nothing wrong with ADW, but I think betting on Churchill Downs is a better opportunity for riders and the horse racing ecosystem to get the most money out of this big bet." McIngvale said on Friday. "The betting on Churchill Downs was obvious."

In an extensive interview, McIngvale shared his thoughts on his Derby bet (or bets), the state of horse racing and sports betting. This article focuses on his thoughts on racing. On Sunday, we will share his insights on the sports betting landscape.

Fixed odds would help with racing

Count McIngvale among supporters of introducing fixed-odds betting into US racing. That said, with so many people betting on sports, it would open the door for the sport to gain a larger audience.

Horse racing has to find a way to bet with fixed odds, he said. “Of course I would have made a different bet a week ago if I had scored 5-1 on the Essential Quality level. Fixed weird bets would be great, complemented by parimutuel as they are really two different worlds. "

Legal horse racing betting in the US, with the exception of some Las Vegas bookmakers, is held in a pari-mutuel pool. This means that everyone who bet on the winning horse will receive a share of the pot. When Mattress Mack places a bet that Churchill Downs officials believe will be the largest they have ever made, it will significantly change the chances of the race.

Attempts have been made to repair - courses in the states. There has been a pilot program in New Jersey since last year. However, this has yet to take off.

The inclusion of fixed-odds betting would require several states to change or adapt their racing rules. It would also be necessary to discuss revenue sharing with riders as the holdings of fixed odds bets are usually much less than compared to multi-mutation pools.

Youth infusion too much needed

In what possibly goes hand in hand with fixed odds betting, there is another point that McIngvale would like to address.

"I'm talking about furniture stores and churches:" If he doesn't cry, he dies " McIngvale said. “In horse racing, there are too many 70-year-old gray-haired men like me. We need more 20 - to 30 - year olds. "

Days like Friday at Churchill Downs where 41,472 went out on a picturesque day watch the Kentucky Oaks stand out in the sport. Walk behind the grandstand near the paddock and you will see young adults wearing sports dresses and jackets. You will likely see a good proportion of senior high school students also in areas enjoying Louisville's most wonderful school holidays.

This is a different scene than the one found on most of the other tracks.

For racing: a sport where races are held every 20 to 30 minutes, Mack Mattress says sports must be "fun and fast" to draw in a younger crowd.

"They like fast action," he said. “This is what we need to provide them, something they can do almost immediately, and horse racing is a great game.

"I think more stats would be better. More info would be better. In an age of analytics and technology where all baseball, basketball and football teams use analytics. I think horse racing has a huge amount of statistics that we could provide the fans. And whatever we can do to make it a faster and more exciting game for younger people, that's what we have to do. "

Returning the Mack mattress next year?

It is possible that McIngvale will return to Churchill Downs next year. Although not necessarily as a bettor.

Before he comes to Louisville for the Derby, he will be in Lexington to see some of his young 2-year-olds exercising. They are the fathers of his best horse, Runhappa.

While Runhappy was a sprint champion, it turns out that his kids do well over longer distances. On Tuesday, Runhappa's 3-year-old offspring won the maiden quarter mile race to the Kentucky Derby.

“They should be doing well in the fall ... Runhappy will be a great stud dog. I think he will sire both horses, which are very fast and can walk a mile and a quarter as well, ”said McIngvale.

Derby Tip: Bet where you see value

As for this Saturday, McIngvale said it plans to wager between $ 2 million and $ 4 million. The final amount will depend on how many mattresses his furniture company sells as part of its latest special offer. Customers who purchase specific mattress sets for $ 3,000 or more can get a mattress for free if the bet's favorite wins the Derby.

As with many Houston Astros bets, Mattress Mack uses the bet as a hedging strategy to cover its losses in the event that the favorite first breaks the barrier.

Ready to bet on the favorite? @ ChurchillDowns @KentuckyDerby 147 - I hope many @GFToday customers will win a FREE mattress @TempurPedic! ?

- @MattressMack (@MattressMack) April 28, 264935

He says that he doesn't just want to bet to win. He believes there will be opportunities to bet on the spot and show. Besides, it can enter some exotic bets such as Exactas.

"I'm not a big handicaper, but I have some great handicappers who work with me and we'll talk about it tomorrow morning," he said.

When it comes to Derby, it recommends people put their money wherever they see the overlay. Out of the 19-field horses, there will likely be some entries whose odds are higher than their projected odds of winning.

"This is the best race day of the year as you will gain the value of your bet" he said. “This is the day you should take your blinds off and put on both hands. "

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