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Kentucky Derby punter ‘Mattress Mack’ loses ‘biggest racing bet EVER’ after putting $2.3MILLION on Essential Quality


A KENTUCKY DERBY punter lost the ‘biggest racing bet EVER’ after seeing $2.3MILLION go down the drain on pre-race favourite Essential Quality.

Social media was flooded with photos of the multi-millionaire gambler placing his mega-money bets at Churchill Downs before the big race.

'Mattress' Mack was seen putting a wad of cash on the favourite


‘Mattress’ Mack was seen putting a wad of cash on the favourite
The first of the multi-millionaire's bets was confirmed as half a million bucks


The first of the multi-millionaire’s bets was confirmed as half a million bucks
McIngvale has pledged to stake what is thought to be the biggest bet in US horseracing history


McIngvale has pledged to stake what is thought to be the biggest bet in US horseracing historyCredit: Getty

He kept backing the horse up to a massive $1.8m – with another video showing him putting $2m on.

The grand total – as confirmed by the bettor on TV – was an eye-watering $2.3m – just under £1.7m.

The man behind the huge gamble was 70-year-old American mattress salesman Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale.


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He had pledged to stake up to $4m (around £2.9m) on the Godolphin-owned horse – who human rights lawyers tried to bar from running.

After slamming down half a million, McIngvale, who says he has wired the full $4m amount to racecourse bookies, confirmed the bet was genuine.

He told Horse Racing Nation: “The bet was placed at Churchill Downs.

“Someone did it for me. It’s very important to me that all the bets are placed at Churchill Downs, which helps the Kentucky Thoroughbred racing fund and Kentucky horsemen.”

According to that website, McIngvale’s mega influx of cash saw Essential Quality’s odds plummet.

They said the horse went from 5-1 to 3-5 – in other words, odds-on to win.

The other effect of that was to lengthen the odds of the other horses, at least temporarily, with the Godolphin-owned runner drifting back out before the off.

Rock Your World had been 5-1 but went to 7-1 after the businessman’s bet went in.

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McIngvale, 70, from Houston, Texas, has his mobile phone number on his company’s website.

He said he has been inundated with calls from punters all over desperate to pass on their tipping advice.

He said: “My number is posted on the GalleryFurniture.com website, so I’m getting calls and advice from all around the world.

“I’m just trying to keep track of who’s right and who’s wrong.”

And maybe he should have listened, after Essential Quality could manage fourth behind winner Medina Spirit, runner-up Mandaloun and third-placed Hot Rod Charlie.

McIngvale staked the bet after launching the ‘Kentucky Derby fav wins, you win’ initiative.

Any customer who bough a mattress for £2100 or more in his store would get their money back had the favourite obliged on Saturday.

The plucky businessman, who expected to flog 2000 mattresses and wants to cover losses, said before the race: “The favourite has won the Derby six out of the last seven times and if that happens this year the people who bought the mattresses will get 100 per cent of their money back.”


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A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
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  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
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