150th Kentucky Derby Sets Historic Milestone with Increased Prize Money of $5 Million

Thu Jan 11 2024
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LOUISVILLE: The 150th edition of the Kentucky Derby in May will feature an elevated purse of $5 million, marking a $2 million increase as announced by Churchill Downs on Wednesday.

The renowned 1 1/4-mile race, set for May 4, will see the winner claim a substantial $3.1 million, with the runner-up securing $1 million, the third-place finisher earning $500,000, the fourth-place contender receiving $250,000, and the fifth-place participant taking home $150,000.

This hike in the Derby purse contrasts with its previous standing at $3 million since 2019, $2 million from 2005-18, and $1 million from 1996-2004. A comparison reveals that the Breeders’ Cup Classic purse is currently set at $6 million, with a lucrative $3.12 million awarded to the winner.

Additionally, there’s positive news for the Kentucky Oaks, a race for 3-year-old fillies held on Derby eve, as its purse gets a boost to $1.5 million, reflecting a $250,000 increase. The broader context of Churchill’s spring meet reveals an impressive lineup of 50 stakes races, totaling $25.6 million—a noteworthy 25% surge from the previous year’s $20.5 million lineup.

“These record purse increases are a symbol of the health of horse racing in Kentucky,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc.

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