Owing to record Kentucky Derby week business, officials at Churchill Downs have announced a 10% increase in overnight purses across the board. Prize money for overnight races-stakes, allowance, maiden special weight, claiming and maiden claming races-will rise by a blended average of $3,209 per race.
“Our record Kentucky Derby Week business levels helped generate $16.1 million in purses that will be paid to horsemen this year,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We're thrilled that our local owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders will benefit from the increased purse offering over the final four weeks of the Spring Meet.”
Total overnight purses at Churchill for the meet are projected to be $12.7 million, an improvement over the original forecast of $12.3 million. Minus stakes money, daily average purse distribution should average about $335,000 per day. With stakes money folded back in, the figure leaps to $568,000.
The purse hikes were made possible by record all-sources betting on Kentucky Derby week, including opening night Apr. 29 through Kentucky Derby day May 6. A total of $285.1 million was handled during that window, up $18.4 million (7%) from $266.8 million last year.
Racing continues at Churchill Downs through June 29.