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SBD/Issue 73/Events & Attractions
KY Derby Purse Raised To $2M; Race Considers Title Sponsor
Published January 5, 2005
Churchill Downs Raises Purse
For Kentucky Derby To $2M
Churchill Downs increased the purse for the Kentucky Derby to a record $2M guaranteed, doubling last year’s $1M, which had been the purse since ’96. The race will now offer prize money to the top five finishers, rather than top four. The winner will receive $1.24M, or 62% of the purse (Churchill Downs). In Louisville, Jennie Rees notes the upgrade makes the Derby “the second-richest race in North America behind” the $4M Breeders’ Cup Classic. Execs from the Maryland Jockey Club and NYRA said that the purses for the Preakness and Belmont Stakes will remain $1M each this year (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/5). Churchill Downs President Steve Sexton, on the possibility the Derby could become sponsored and its purse raised even more: “As prudent business people, we’d have to consider a market partner of the right magnitude for the Derby. We just haven’t come up with the right formula or partner” (HERALD-LEADER, 1/5).