Legenday sports gambler Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale says he is planning on making the biggest bet of his life at this year’s Kentucky Derby.
McIngvale, 70, has become famous in the world of sports betting thanks to his gambling massive amounts of money on events like the NCAA tournament, losing around $15 million on the Houston Astros in 2019, and taking home $3 million after betting $3.46 million on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win Super Bowl 51.
Now, with the 2021 Kentucky Derby just around the corner, Mack says he’s going for another big payday with a big risk by plunking down what is believed to be a record amount, at least $2 million – and maybe up to $4 million- to win on Essential Quality in Saturday’s Derby at Churchill Downs.
The bet is being placed in conjunction with a promotion currently underway at his Gallery Furniture stores called “Kentucky Derby Fave Wins, You Win.”
If the favorite, Essential Quality wins the race, Mattress Mack will refund 100% of the cost of buying a mattress with a price tag of at least $3,000 or the option of receiving a store credit of 150% of the price paid for the mattress.
“The favorite 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% of their money back,” said Mack, reports Thoroughbred Daily News. “We have gotten a lot of response so far and expect a lot more response over the next five days.”
Considering that Essential Quality is expected to go off at odds of around 5-2, Mack stands to make a profit of $5 million on a $2 million bet if the favorite wins – an amount that will most certainly cover all the refunds he will have to give customers.
'I'm going to Churchill Downs and bet the money right there on the track on Saturday' 👀 pic.twitter.com/iM4UjIVDyV— br_betting (@br_betting) April 26, 2021
“I’m going to wire the money into Churchill, probably on Thursday,” said McIngvale. “When it gets closer to the race I will figure out how many mattresses we have sold, add up the total, and then I’ll figure out how much to bet on the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. It’s going to be great for the other people too because it will make the other 19 horses a better value than they would be if I hadn’t made a big bet.
“I’m better off if the horse wins, by a 10-1 margin because people will tell all their friends about this and the word of mouth publicity if he wins will be off the charts. The good thing about horse racing is you can bet as much as you want to because it is pari-mutuel wagering and the Derby is a race with huge handle.”
A @ChurchillDowns partnership with Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale will welcome 300 representatives from Kentucky’s Foster Care sector as guests to the @KentuckyDerby, including Louisville's Maryhurst and Boys & Girls Haven.— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) April 27, 2021
Story: https://t.co/aYIqzHPjfu pic.twitter.com/OdStbERHWp
Mack tells the Las Vegas Review Journal that he’s hoping Essential Quality will go off at 3-1, but he isn’t nervous, whatever the odds.
McIngvale, who owns 56 thoroughbreds, tells Thoroughbred Daily News, “I’m more nervous watching one of my horses run in a $10,000 claimer. I don’t get nervous doing this. To me, it’s fun and exciting and it’s exciting for the customers.”
That is certainly one way to look at it.