- Horse Racing - Kentucky Derby purse doubled to $2 million

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Tuesday, January 4
Kentucky Derby purse doubled to $2 million

Churchill Downs has doubled the purse for the Kentucky Derby to a record $2 million guaranteed. The 131st Kentucky Derby will be run this year on Saturday, May 7.

The increase in the Kentucky Derby purse is the first since the purse was raised to $1 million guaranteed in 1996. Along with the increase in the overall Kentucky Derby purse, there will also be a change in purse distribution. The race will now pay purse money to the top five finishers, with 62 percent of the purse going to the winner. Purse money had previously been paid only to the top four finishers.

The distribution of a $2 million Kentucky Derby purse would include:

Winner (62%) -- $1.24 million

Second (20%) -- $400,000

Third (10%) -- $200,000

Fourth (5%) -- $100,000

Fifth (3%) -- $60,000

Churchill Downs will provide a minimum of $1.1 million of the $2 million purse, achieving that in part through a redistribution of money in the track's account for purses for stakes races. Fees to enter and start in the Kentucky Derby will also be raised from $15,000 to $25,000, respectively, for a total of $50,000 that must be paid before each horse can pass through the starting gate in the race. Those fees will become part of the Kentucky Derby purse.

Approximately $100,000 in purse money for the Derby will come from nomination fees to the Visa Triple Crown Challenge. Those fees remain unchanged in 2005 - but the cost of a supplemental nomination at the time of entry to the Kentucky Derby will rise. Early nominations, with a fee of $600, are due Jan. 22. Late nominations, with a fee of $6,000, are due by March 26. One third of those nomination fees go to the Kentucky Derby purse. The fee for supplemental nominations will climb from $150,000 to $200,000.

Any nomination, entry, starting, or supplemental entry fees beyond a level of $900,000 will go to the winner's share of the overall Kentucky Derby purse.

In order to elevate the Kentucky Derby purse to its record $2 million level, Churchill Downs has reallocated $375,000 in purse money from other stakes events on its schedule - including the placement of one race, the Kentucky Breeders' Cup (GIII) for 2-year-olds, on hiatus for 2005.

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