The Kentucky Derby is more than just a horse race. For the people of Kentucky, the Derby is a point of pride, an event that showcases the best of our state. It’s also months of work to make sure everything goes perfectly. From the track to the hotel accommodations, the food to the flowers, thousands of Kentuckians work hard to make the Derby the most exciting and enjoyable event in sports.
In addition to being a sporting event and a cultural phenomenon, The Kentucky Derby is a vital economic booster. A recent economic impact study shows the Kentucky Derby has a $217 million economic impact on the region. Statewide, the equine industry has a $3 billion impact, generating over 55,000 jobs for our neighbors.
The economic impact of the Derby isn’t limited to race weekend. The Louisville area takes in millions during the two weeks of festival events that lead up to the Derby, including Thunder Over Louisville, the Pegasus Parade, the Fest-a-Ville and the Fillies Derby Ball. “For every dollar spent by the festival, 22 dollars is generated for the community,” said the Kentucky Derby Festival president Michael Berry.
More Derby Figures
- In 2016, on-track wagering on the Derby Day program was $11.3 million.
- 167,227 people attended the Derby in 2016, with general admission tickets running $60 each, a two-day ticket covering Friday and Saturday hitting $12,500, and suites costing $250,000 for the two days.
- Visitors pay dearly for Southern hospitality, forking over $500 a night for a Louisville motel room.
- The Derby costs $25,000 to enter, plus another $25,000 to start.
- Approximately 120,000 Mint Juleps are served at Churchill Downs over Derby Weekend, requiring over 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julep mix, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint, and 60,000 pounds of ice. FYI… they run about $11 each.
- Over 400 roses make up the garland of roses that is draped on the winning horse. The garland is made at a local Kroger supermarket, and weighs 40 pounds.
- Around 16 million viewers watch the Derby on television, making it one of the most watched sporting events.
We’re not horsing around about these stats! Where will you be racing to during the derby weekend?