Derby Fever: Ultimate Kentucky Derby States Index

Time to dust off your fascinators as we’re off to the races – it’s Kentucky Derby time! Dubbed “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”, fans across America are saddling up to celebrate the embodiment of equestrian excellence, accompanied by a few Mint Juleps of course.  

In anticipation of the Kentucky Derby on May 4th, we crunched the numbers to discover the most Derby-devoted states! We conducted a nationwide survey on their race day festivities, from streaming the event to throwing back a Mint Julep or two, and everything in between. We then crafted a weighted index to crown the ultimate Kentucky Derby states. Hold onto your hats and tighten those reigns y’all, it’s about to be a wild ride!  

Key Findings:  

  • Mississippi gallops to the front as the ‘Ultimate Kentucky Derby State’, scoring 85.7 out of 100  
  • Despite having hometown advantage, Kentucky comes in 2nd place, with a score of 52.2 
  • New Mexico races into 3rd, with a score of 40.1  
  • Of the 48% of Americans planning to bet, they’re ready to pony up an average of $70.80 in race day wages 

The ultimate Kentucky Derby state goes to… 

To unveil the most Derby-devoted states, we polled 3,000 respondents on their race day agenda and plugged their answers into a weighted index. From in-person attendance to streaming plans, hosting/attending Derby parties, indulging in Mint Juleps and Southern delicacies, flaunting Derby attire, to even horse-themed games and bets – here are the states racing to the finish line!  

And they’re off! Galloping to the front of the pack is…Mississippi? With a total score of 85.7, they’ve claimed the title of the ‘Ultimate Kentucky Derby State‘ in the nation! Mississippi ranks #1 for in-person Kentucky Derby attendance, and a whopping 67% hosting or attending themed parties. They’ll be sipping an average of 2.3 Mint Juleps in style, as 100% plan to dress in their finest Derby attire. Another 100% are eager to partake in horse-themed games (e.g horseshoes, Kentucky Derby bingo) and bets – averaging $46.66 in race day wagers. Mississippi is truly embracing the Derby spirit in stride!  

Representing the home turf, Kentucky races to 2nd place, finishing strong with a score of 52.2. While only 8% plan to journey to the Derby in-person (4th highest nationwide), over half (54%) are tuning in via streaming. With 44% attending/hosting Derby-themed parties and 38% flaunting their best Derby attire, Kentucky sure knows how to celebrate in style! Despite Mint Juleps consumption averaging 0.5 per person, a cool 69% will munch in Kentucky’s best Southern dishes. 75% will be placing bets, averaging $80.58 – 14% higher than the nationwide average! Kentucky proves that the Derby spirit runs deep within its Bluegrass roots.  

Clinching the bronze trophy, New Mexico ranks 3rd in Kentucky Derby fever, with a total score of 40.1! About 10% will be hitting the tracks to attend the race in-person – marking the 2nd highest percentage nationwide – while 30% will be streaming from home. A quarter are tailoring up for parties, ready to show off their finest race day attire. A hearty 75% will be snacking on classic Derby dishes. However, the stakes may be lower in New Mexico, as only a quarter plan to partake in bets – with an average wage of $10.  

Rounding up the top 5 list, Washington races into 4th place with a score of 39.3, winning by a nose as Idaho trots into 5th place with a total score of 38.5. About 8% of Washingtonians will be flying over to Kentucky to attend the big day in-person (3rd highest nationwide), while 28.5% of Idahoans plan to stream. Approximately 42% of Washingtonians will be betting an average of $79; while 100% of our Idaho respondents will be placing an average wage of $127.50 – the highest betting average, nationwide!  

Honorable mentions 

Now that we’ve covered the ultimate Kentucky Derby states, let’s take a closer look at which states are leading the race in individual Derby factors from our index: 

Derby attendance, fashion, and horse games: Mississippi takes the lead in Kentucky Derby attendance with 14.2% of residents planning to make the journey for “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”. Not only that, but they also excel in sporting classic attire and enthusiasm for participating in horse-themed games. 

Derby streamers: New Hampshire ranks 1st for Derby streaming, with 62% of residents tuning in from home – the highest streaming percentage nationwide!  

Biggest Derby partygoers: Gearing up to the be life of the party, Wyoming takes the reigns as 100% of respondents plan to host or attend a Kentucky Derby-themed celebration.  

Mint-Julep fanatics: Raising a toast with some Mint Juleps, Idaho ranks 1st in Mint Julep consumption per person, nationwide – averaging about 3 cocktails for the race.  

Southern delicacy devotees: Idaho and Oklahoma tied for their enthusiasm for the classic Kentucky Derby dishes, with 100% of respondents from both states preparing to dig into the delicious flavors of the South on race day. 

Top Derby betting states: Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming all lead the pack in Derby race bets, with 100% of participants eager to test their luck. Idaho stands out with the highest betting wage, averaging an impressive $127.50 – 80% higher than the national average ($70.80)!  


While our index showed us which states are more than ready to celebrate the big race, what’s more important is that the spirit of the Derby brings Americans together across the nation. So, grab your Mint Juleps and raise a glass to the infamous Kentucky Derby – may the best horse win!  


In April 2024, we conducted a nationwide survey of 3,000 US residents, asking about their Kentucky Derby plans. From there, we created an index to analyze and weigh a multitude of factors. 

  1. Attending the Kentucky Derby in-person (25%) 
  1. Streaming the Kentucky Derby (10%) 
  1. Hosting/attending a Kentucky Derby party (15%) 
  1. Mint Julep consumption (5%) 
  1. Classic Kentucky Derby dish consumption (5%) 
  1. Dressing up in Kentucky Derby attire (15%) 
  1. Participating in horse-themed games (15%) 
  1. Betting on the Kentucky Derby (10%) 

Each state was then scored and ranked to discover which states are the ultimate Kentucky Derby states.

Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont were not accounted for due to an insufficient amount of data.  

The average age of respondents was 39.2 years old. The representative sample comprised of 52.4% female, 45.3% male, 2% non-binary, 0.3% transgender, and 0.1% other.  

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