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Kentucky Derby

150th Kentucky Derby Prize Increased to $5 Million

Published on January 15, 2024
Written by Silvia

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150th Kentucky Derby Prize Increased to $5 Million
  • Churchill Downs Gears Up for 150th Kentucky Derby
  • Prize Money Boosted to $5 Million, Up from $3 Million
  • 2024 Event Poised to Be the Most Lucrative in Derby History

The 150th Kentucky Derby, hosted at Churchill Downs, is set to make history as the wealthiest iteration of the iconic race, with the prize fund being raised to a remarkable $5 million from the former $3 million. This significant increase was announced this Wednesday.

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Kentucky Derby Nearing Breeders’ Cup as America’s Richest Race

This enhancement positions the Derby as a close contender to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for the title of the most lucrative race in the US. Additionally, the spring racing season at Churchill Downs will see a 25% increase in prize money for stakes races, totaling an impressive $5.1 million. This marks a notable rise from the previous year’s prize funds.

Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc, highlighted these record purse increases as a testament to the flourishing state of horse racing in Kentucky. The company’s investment exceeding $1 billion in both live and historical horse racing within Kentucky over the past five years has greatly bolstered not just the Kentucky Derby week but also the year-round racing schedule. Carstanjen commended the state legislature for its supportive and collaborative role, which underscores its dedication to fostering the growth of Kentucky’s flagship horse racing industry.

With a confirmed prize pool of $5 million for this year’s 150th Kentucky Derby, the victor will not only receive the esteemed gold trophy but also a lucrative $3.1 million in earnings. Furthermore, there are opportunities for earning millions more as a breeding stallion post-retirement. The prize distribution also includes $1 million for the second place, $500,000 for third, $250,000 for fourth, and $150,000 for fifth.

The purse for the Kentucky Derby has varied over the years, with prize amounts of $3 million from 2019-2023, $2 million from 2005-2018, and $1 million from 1996-2004.

Mike Anderson, president of Churchill Downs, expressed his satisfaction with the consistent growth of the racing quality and the overall horse racing and breeding industry in Kentucky. The Kentucky Oaks, the nation’s premier race for three-year-old fillies, continues to maintain its status with a purse of $1.5 million, an increase from $1.25 million since 2019, $1 million from 2011-2018, and $500,000 from 1996-2010.

In an effort to draw more international competition, four races during the Kentucky Derby week on the Churchill Downs turf course will provide entry and travel incentives for horses. This includes opportunities to compete in some of Europe’s most prestigious races, such as those at Royal Ascot. Notably, the Churchill Downs turf course faced challenges in 2022-23, leading to a temporary suspension in November during the fall meet.

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She has a background in journalism and a love of sports.
She has deepened her expertise in gaming and focused on online sports betting. Silvia supports Hellas Verona, likes to deal with news and updates about online betting, and manages the website content. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, playing padel, traveling, and meditating by the sea. Editorial Promise