Yum! Brands, presenting sponsor for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), announced a new bonus tied to the Run for the Roses at a press conference at Churchill Downs April 30. The Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands will offer a $1-million to the connections of any horse that wins this year’s Derby and beats Barbaro’s winning margin of 6 ½ lengths.
Called the "Yumfecta," the bonus is tied solely to the Derby and the money will be split evenly between the winner’s owner, trainer, jockey, and Barbaro Memorial Fund.
Making the announcement were Robert Evans, president of Churchill Downs Inc. and David Novak, CEO and chairman of Yum! Brands.
“Last year’s win by Barbaro was something special,” Novak said during the presentation. “Barbaro’s 6 ½-length lead was one of the most exciting sports events that I’ve ever seen. We all thought he was a horse that could go on and win the Triple Crown. Unfortunately, we all know now that this wasn’t meant to be. Barbaro’s accident was devastating to the entire sports world. He captured the hearts of people all around the globe. He became the Seabiscuit of our time.
“To honor his victory and his spirit, and to add even more excitement to Yum! Brands sponsorship of the Derby, we came up with an idea that’s never been done before,” Novak said.
“We listened to their idea and it certainly was creative,” Evans said. “It has something for the horsemen, which is something that we want to address, it has a charitable dimension, and most importantly, and this is the coolest part, it forces us to think about Barbaro and what an unbelievable performance he put forward in last year’s Derby.”
“It brings a little extra fun and creativity to what we think is the greatest sporting event in the world,” Novak said. “It only enhances what the Derby is all about."
Novak noted that Yum! Brands had backed up their bonus with an insurance policy on the event a horse tops Barbaro’s win margin.
Yum! Brands is the largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants with more than 34,000 restaurants. The company's brands are KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's, and A&W. They are a publicly traded company, as is Churchill Downs.
When asked about the potential for abuse of a horse to win a race by more than 6 ½ lengths, Evans said, “I can’t imagine, given the residual breeding values of a horse that wins the Derby that somebody is going to abuse a horse. I don’t think that can possibly happen.”