The Kentucky Derby means business

The race spurs massive economic activity. What’s next for the sport?

Singdhi Sokpo

Ah, the Derby — one of the few days each year when millions of people seemingly become experts on horses despite having never ridden one.

In all seriousness, this year’s Derby was crazy, with Rich Strike miraculously winning against 80-1 odds. (You can watch the colorful recap here.)

The Derby spurs massive economic activity:

  • Regionally, 2022’s race was expected to bring in $366.8m, per Louisville Tourism.
  • The winning horse bagged $1.86m, meaning Rich Strike — who was purchased for $30k last fall — literally struck riches.

What’s next for the sport?

We wouldn’t be surprised if horse racing saw a massive boom in the US, buoyed by a hit reality docuseries, similar to what Formula 1 is experiencing now.

As for Derby owner Churchill Downs, the company’s focused on international growth. For instance, Japan, according to CEO Bill Carstanjen, has a horse racing industry that’s ~3x as large as America’s.

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