Effective Thursday, June 2, Churchill Downs Racetrack will raise overnight race purse offerings 4 percent thanks to record Kentucky Derby week business levels.
Purses for overnight races – which include overnight stakes, allowance, maiden special weight, claiming and maiden claiming events – will rise by an approximate blended average of $1,500 per race.
Total overnight purses for the meet are projected to be $13.0 million, up from the original forecast of $12.4 million. The daily average purse distribution, not including stakes money, will be approximately $341,100 per day. That number grows to $555,500 when stakes money is included.
The purse boosts were made possible by record all sources wagering on Kentucky Derby week, which covered Opening Night on Saturday, April 30 through Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, May 7. The six days of racing lured a record-breaking 376,980 fans (up 3 percent from the 2015 record) and a record $266.8 million in wagers (up 1 percent from the 2015 record).
“Our record Kentucky Derby Week business levels helped generate $17.7 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 five weeks of the Spring Meet.”
Monday was the halfway mark of Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet. Racing continues Thursday-Sunday through Saturday, July 2. First post for Twilight Thursday’s eight-race program is 5 p.m.