Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race held every May at the Churchill Downs, Louisville, in the American state of Kentucky. It is one of the most well-known horse races in the world. The inaugural race was held 143 years ago in 1875, after being established by Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr when he visited and was inspired by The Derby horserace in Epsom, England. Kentucky Derby is a race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds that run a distance of one and a quarter mile (2.0km), with this continuous exciting event being known in sports as the "fastest two minutes" together with its long history.
The track has many fascinating records over its long history. A horse named Secretariat set the track record back in 1973 with a winning time of 1:59 minutes, a record that is hard to beat. To this date, only 3 horses have ever completed the race in under two minutes. The greatest margin of victory was a staggering 8 lengths, which happened in 4 separate races between 1914 to 1946. The record for the longest shot to win the race came in 1913 by a horse named Donerail, who overcame odds of 91 to 1 to be crowned a winner.
How much is the race generating?
The race generates a huge attendance at Churchill Downs, with more than 157, 000 attending the racetrack. Additionally, millions of people from around the world tune in to watch on television, in online racetracks and online bookmakers. Every year, vast sums of money are wagered on the race and from around the world, with $209.2 million wagered in 2017, which was a 9% increase from the previous year. One lucky lady from Texas won an incredible $1.2 million from an $18 bet after she wagered a pick 5 bet on choosing the winners of 5 races at Churchill Downs, with 8-12 odds.
The winning purse is comprised of a guaranteed $2 million and is split between the races top five finishers. Justify, the winner of the 2018 race, won his owners just over two-thirds of the purse that comprises of $1.24 million in prize money. The second, third, fourth and fifth finishing horses take home around $400,000, $200,000, $100,000 and $60,000 respectively. Owners of winning horses can make vast sums of money off the race track from stud fees, with winning stallions commanding a $200,000-$300,000 fee per cover, potentially earning them tens of millions of dollars. Racing is a lucrative business, indeed.