Before the first race is run Saturday on Opening Night of its 38-day Spring Meet, Churchill Downs Racetrack announced that purses will be raised an additional $3.1 million thanks to revenue from the historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming.
Total purses offered in the first condition book for horsemen, which covers 190 races over 19 dates through Thursday, May 27, have grown to $22,822,100 for a daily average of $1,201,163. That represents a 5.9% increase from the previously published $21,544,000.
Maiden special weight races are now worth $115,000 during Kentucky Derby Week and $100,000 post-Derby, which is up from the previously published $106,000 and $91,000, respectively. Kentucky Derby Week allowance races will range from $118,000 to $125,000 and $102,000 to $109,000 after Derby. They were $109,000 to $116,000 and $93,000 to $100,000, respectively.
Additionally, the purses for 25 stakes races were boosted. A trio of stakes received $50,000 increases: the $150,000 Audubon for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on turf on May 29; Grade II, $300,000 Fleur de Lis for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on June 26; and Grade II, $300,000 Wise Dan for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf June 26. Fourteen stakes originally worth $125,000 were boosted $25,000 to $150,000 and eight overnight stakes races received $10,000 increases.
The 40-race Spring Meet stakes schedule now totals $14.02 million.
The growth has been driven by handle on historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming, which is located at 4520 Poplar Level Road.
“Over the last 10 years, historical horse racing has allowed our equine industry to flourish, increasing purses and creating a more competitive racing circuit,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Mike Anderson. “It has led to new jobs, economic growth and tourism.”