Churchill Downs will raise purses 10.7%, effective Thursday, for the second half of its 38-day spring meet. The increase is credited to “robust business from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming,” according to a release from the track. The spring meet will run through June 29 and the remaining 183 races will see a $1.1-million increase in overnight races above the meet’s record-setting first condition book.
The $65-million Derby City Gaming facility opened last September on nearby Poplar Level Road and features more than 900 historical racing machines, two restaurants, a center bar and multiple entertainment options.
“Our investment into Derby City Gaming continues to pay immediate dividends to all owners, trainers and jockeys that participate at Churchill Downs,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “The result is an exciting and ultra-competitive Spring Meet racing product for bettors nationwide.”
Maiden special weight races at Churchill Downs will now be worth $95,000, which is up $10,000 from the $85,000 maiden races offered after the GI Kentucky Derby in Book 1. By comparison, maiden special weight races offered during the 2018 Spring Meet were $53,000.
Allowance races will range from $97,000 to $104,000. They were $87,000 to $94,000 post-Derby in the first condition book and $55,000 to $61,000 during the 2018 Spring Meet.
Purses for seven stakes races were also boosted. Saturday’s Aristides S., the June 8 Old Forester Mint Julep S., June 29 Debutante S. and June 20 Bashford Manor S. are now worth $125,000–up from $100,000. A trio of overnight stakes–Saturday’s Mighty Beau S., the June 22 Roxelana S. and June 29 Kelly’s Landing S.–will have their purses raised to $120,000, which includes $45,000 of KTDF money.
Total overnight purses for the 38-day, 372-race Spring Meet are now projected to be $33.5 million. The daily average purse distribution, not including stakes money, will be approximately $574,000 per day. That number grows to $882,000 daily when stakes money is included.
Last year, total purses paid during the 372-race Spring Meet was $22.2 million, or $585,000 daily.
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