Churchill Downs announced June 3 that it will raise overnight purses 10% effective June 9. The reason given for the bump is higher than expected all-sources wagering levels through the first half of the 39-day spring meet.
Purses for overnight races–which include overnight stakes, allowance, maiden special weight, claiming, and maiden claiming events–will rise by an approximate blended average of $3,150 per race.
In a release, Churchill announced total overnight purses for the meet are projected to be $12.6 million, up from the original forecast of $12.1 million. The daily average purse distribution, not including stakes money, will be approximately $323,723 per day. The number grows to $484,418 when stakes money is included.
“We’re delighted that our owners, trainers, jockeys, and breeders will benefit from a 10% increase in prize money over the second half of the season,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs. “This positive purse adjustment was only made possible by the strength of our Kentucky Derby Week product and the fans’ corresponding response through strong all-sources wagering.
“Kentucky’s signature industry remains at an immense competitive disadvantage with states whose racetracks have their purses fueled by slot machine and casino revenues, and our overall purses remain well shy of their highest levels of recent years. After Derby, it’s extremely difficult to card competitive racing based on our current horse supply. We truly appreciate the efforts of the engaged horsemen and our racing department, who work tirelessly to put forth the best product possible under very challenging conditions.”
Churchill Downs' 137th spring meet runs through Monday, July 4.