"Mattress Mack" is betting big on Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality

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TwinSpires Staff

April 30th, 2021

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale – the furniture store entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Thoroughbred owner best known for campaigning champion Runhappy – is betting big on Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Essential Quality.

McIngvale will wager anywhere from $2 million to $4 million on the unbeaten colt at Churchill Downs, all because of a current promotion at his Gallery Furniture stores.

According to the terms of his "Kentucky Derby Fave Wins, You Win" offer, customers who buy certain brand-name mattresses worth at least $3,000 will get their entire purchase price refunded if Essential Quality wins the Derby. Or customers can choose an in-store credit worth 150% of their qualifying purchase.

McIngvale wants to wager on Essential Qualify himself to pay for the anticipated costs of the promotion. That’s why the precise amount of his massive bet is to be determined, depending upon the final purchase calculations.

By pushing literally millions of dollars on the favorite into the parimutuel pool, McIngvale will shorten Essential Quality’s odds. The price on his rivals will accordingly rise, so bettors opposing the favorite will find more value at hand. Watch the pools once the Mattress Mack money is down.

Known for his splashy promotions, McIngvale won a similar $3.46 million bet on the 2021 Super Bowl when backing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McIngvale has promoted Runhappy, now a stallion at Claiborne Farm, with frequent race sponsorships in his name. The 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champion was recently the title sponsor of the Santa Anita Derby (G1). McIngvale’s other notable runners include Wimbledon, the 2004 Louisiana Derby (G2) winner.

Also generous in giving back to the community, McIngvale has opened his Houston-area stores for those in need of shelter during hurricanes as well as the power grid failure this past winter. Now he’s teaming up with Churchill Downs Racetrack to host 300 Derby Day guests involved in foster care.