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Kentucky Derby purse raised to $5 million for 150th race in May

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby purse has been raised to $5 million for the 150th edition in May.

The increase of $2 million was announced Wednesday by Churchill Downs. The 1 1/4-mile race will be May 4.

This year’s winner will receive $3.1 million. The runner-up will earn $1 million; third is worth $500,000; fourth is $250,000; and fifth is $150,000.

Previously, the Derby purse had been $3 million since 2019. It was $2 million from 2005-18 and $1 million from 1996-2004.

By comparison, the Breeders’ Cup Classic purse is $6 million, with $3.12 million to the winner.

Also getting a boost is the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies run on Derby eve. Its purse will be $1.5 million, a $250,000 increase.

Churchill’s spring meet will feature 50 stakes races worth $25.6 million, an increase of $5.1 million or 25% from last year’s $20.5 million lineup.

“These record purse increases are a symbol of the health of horse racing in Kentucky,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc.

The hikes were made possible by Churchill’s investment in historical horse racing, which boosts the funding for purse money. It is electronic gambling that allows players to bet on replays of horse races that have already been run using terminals that resemble slot machines.