Kentucky Derby Payouts – How Much Does the Winner of the Kentucky Derby Earn?

kentucky derby payouts

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Last Updated: July 1, 2023

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The most famous horse racetrack, the Kentucky Derby, opened its doors to spectators over one hundred years ago – on May 17, 1875, to be more precise.

The inaugural edition of the Kentucky Derby was sponsored by the Louisville Jockey Club, which has been active to this day.

What we are interested in here is the Kentucky Derby payouts. While winning the Kentucky Derby trophy is a dream for many, we want to know what does the winning jockey of the Kentucky Derby earn besides the gold trophy.

According to the latest reports on the Kentucky Derby 2022 payouts, the winner of the greatest horse racing tournament earns a staggering payout of $1,86 million, and this is the total prize pool for the winner of the 1/4-mile race.

How Much Does the Winner of the Kentucky Derby Win?

how much does the winner of the kentucky derby win

Now, you probably wonder how much does a jockey make in the Kentucky Derby, and that would be just a portion of the $1,86 million prize. The Kentucky Derby prize money that goes to a winning jockey is usually around $150,000.

Needless to say, far less attention goes to the jokey or the person responsible for guiding the horse, but this is just how things work in the world of this sport.

Generally speaking, around 10% of the Kentucky Derby 2022 payouts went to Sonny Leon, who won the Kentucky Derby 2022. This amounts to $186,000.

As previously mentioned, 10% of the total prize pool goes to the jockey who crosses the finish line first.

Now, you are probably wondering what did the Kentucky Derby pay to the closest runner-ups. According to the most recent release on the Kentucky Derby payouts for 2022, the prize of $600,000 is given for the second place and $300,000 for the third place.

A prize of $150,000 is reserved for the fourth place, and finally, $90,000 is given for the fifth place. Once again, only 10% of the winner’s total goes to jockeys.

However, jockeys cannot keep all of their winnings. More specifically, the winning jockey who gets a prize of $186,000 has to give 25% of his Kentucky Derby prize moneyto his agent.

Around 5% of the Kentucky Derby prize money given to the winning jockey also goes to the valet as a tip for helping him/her for the actual race.

In addition, winning jockeys have to pay taxes on the prize money, so the question is, how much does the winner of the Kentucky Derby win after all the taxes and tips?

What Did the Kentucky Derby Pay to the Closest Runner-Ups? 

kentucky derby prize money

That would be around $85,000, which is still a great prize but significantly lower than the $186,000 given to the winning jockey initially. The closest runner-ups, so second and third-placed jockeys, have extra costs to deal with as well.

As previously mentioned, the second and third-place Kentucky Derby participants receive $600,000 and $300,000 in prize money, respectively, and 5% goes to the second and third-placed jockeys.

Just like the winning jockey, the second and third-placed jockeys pay a 25% fee to their agents and give 5% to the valets who prepared them and their horses for the race.

The Kentucky Derby also pays $100,000 and $60,000 to the fourth and fifth-placed horses, and the jockeys receive close to $7,000 and $4,000 before they pay taxes.

With this being said, the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sport” is not the most lucrative for jockeys, but most of the people professionally competing are in the sport for other reasons.

The Kentucky Derby Prize Money History 

The Kentucky Derby prize moon purse was relatively recently increased from $2 to $3 million just before the 145th edition of the greatest horse racing show. The increase of $1 million came as a result of greater returns from the Derby City Gaming racing machines.

The Derby City Gaming at the Churchill Downs is an 85,000-square-foot gaming facility packed with over one thousand historical racing machines. The $65 million-worth venue is the only fully licensed gaming facility of this kind in Louisville.

The venue opened its doors back on the 14th of September 2018. Originally, the facility included a harness track, but the track closed back in 1991 and remained unused.

Back in the day, this part of the property included a facility for trackside training for jockeys and horses, as well as an off-track venue.

what does the winning jockey of the kentucky derby earn

With Debry City Gaming making great profits, the organizers of the Kentucky Derby proudly announced that the purse would go to $3 million. This is a massive increase when compared to a purse of $1,000 featured at the inaugural seasons of the Kentucky Derby.

If you are wondering what did the Kentucky Derby pay to the best performers back in 1996, that would be $1 million.

Between 2005 and 2018, the Kentucky Derby purse reached $2 million, and around $1,24 of the prize money was reserved for the winner of the tournament.

One of the most lucrative races in the country, held one day before the biggest event, is the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks (G1), and it features a staggering purse of $1,25 million.

Kentucky Derby 2022 Payouts

At the Kentucky Derby 2022, Rich Strike was crowned the winner as a late replacement for Ethereal Road, and everyone was stunned to see Rich Strike crossing the finish line before Epicenter, Zandon, Simplification, and Mo Donegal.

What is even more impressive is the fact that Rich Strike proved everyone wrong by overcoming the odds stacked against him to take the trophy.

As we discussed in the previous section, the Kentucky Derby 2022 winner got $1.8 million, and 10% of the prize, or $186,000, went to the winning jockey, Sonny Leon, who rode the stallion to his first big victory.

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