Churchill Downs raises race purses 10.7 percent

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Monday, May 27, 2019) – Effective Thursday, Churchill Downs Racetrack will raise purse offerings 10.7 percent for the second half of its 38-day Spring Meet thanks to robust business from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming.

The Spring Meet’s second condition book, which covers 183 races from Thursday through closing day on June 29, has a $1.1 million increase in overnight races above the Spring Meet’s record-breaking first condition book. The growth has been driven by Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) money generated through handle on historical racing machines in Derby City Gaming’s initial year of operation.

The $65 million facility opened last year in mid-September at nearby 4520 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 are now worth $95,000, which is up $10,000 from the $85,000 maiden races offered after the 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.

Additionally, the purses for seven stakes races were boosted. Saturday’s Aristides, the June 8 Old Forester Mint Julep, June 29 Debutante and June 20 Bashford Manor are now worth $125,000, up $25,000 from $100,000. Also, a trio of overnight stakes – Saturday’s Mighty Beau, the June 22Roxelana and June 29 Kelly’s Landing – was jumped $20,000 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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Jennie Rees