Meet the man who bet $1.3 million on 2021 Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality

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.

As of 2 p.m. CT Saturday, Essential Quality’s odds were 2-1.

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

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Earlier this week, McIngvale told 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.

According to Churchill Downs, McIngvale placed a $500,000 win bet on Essential Quality on Friday and a pair of $400,000 win bets on him Saturday.

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; [email protected]; Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ.

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