Wow, the winning horse's owner makes so much more.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
April 24, 2019

Next Saturday, May 4th, the world will turn its eyes to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky for the "145th renewal of The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports."

While you may be keeping your eyes on the prize of winning your office or book club pool, there's a whopping $3 million purse at stake for horses that finish in first to fifth place. So how, precisely, does that prize money get paid out?

Per a CNBC report in 2018, the owner of the winning horse receives 62% of the prize money and the winning jockey gets a mere 10% slice of that cut. Based on the 2019 prize money of $3 million, that comes out to $1.86 million for the winning horse's owner and $186,000 for the jockey. Of course, the horse and owner and jockey must pay taxes on their earnings, and the jockey must also pay his agent and valet, the jockey's assistant who grooms the horse and helps the jockey before and after the race.

(Worth noting: Earnings were calculated based on the 62% winnings allotment for the first place horse. From 2005-2018 the total prize money was $2 million. Currently, there's no official update on if the percentage breakdowns for winnings for owners and jockeys will remain the same)

For jockeys who come in second or third place at the Kentucky Derby, earnings drop down to 5% of the horse owner's portion of the winnings.

Now that we know most of the jockeys at the derby will only make out with a few hundred dollars each, we'll stick to sipping our mint juleps on the sidelines.

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