Meet the man who bet $2.4 million on 2021 Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality

Jason Frakes, Louisville Courier Journal
·1 min read

Essential Quality was destined to be the post-time favorite for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, but if you’re wondering why his odds are so low it has to do with a Houston businessman with a lot of money.

Jim McIngvale – also known as “Mattress Mack” – had already bet $1.3 million to win on Essential Quality as of 2 p.m. CT Saturday and was expected to place even more money on the Brad Cox trainee and Blue Grass Stakes winner before Saturday evening’s race. NBC later reported his betting was up to $2.4 million.

At race time, Essential Quality’s odds were 3-1.

McIngvale, 70, and his wife, Linda, founded Gallery Furniture in 1981.

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Earlier this week, McIngvale told Bloodhorse.com he would bet between $2 million and $4 million on Essential Quality as insurance to cover a promotion his stores offer that calls for those buying a mattress valued at $3,000 or higher to receive their purchase for free if the Derby favorite wins.

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky Derby: Man bets $2.4M on favorite Essential Quality