Earn

2021 Kentucky Derby: How much prize money the winning jockey will earn

Share
Country House, ridden by jockey Flavien Prat (in yellow), won the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Prat took home 10% of the winnings, a $186,000 payday.
Andy Lyons | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

The 147th annual Kentucky Derby will be raced Saturday night at Churchill Downs. The 1¼-mile horserace, which bills itself as "the most exciting two minutes in sports," is set to start at 6:57 p.m. ET.

Twenty horses and their jockeys — including betting favorites Essential Quality, Known Agenda and Rock Your World — will be competing not only for glory, but also for a large cash prize.

The 2021 Kentucky Derby purse is worth $3 million, the same amount as last year's, and will be split between the top five finishers. The first-place finisher will receive $1.86 million, more than 60% of the total.

The jockey who rides their horse to victory gets a 10% cut of the prize money. But they won't take home the full $186,000 themselves. There's a 25% fee to his agent, as well as a traditional 5% tip to the valet who helps him prepare all of his gear for the race.

Those costs shave the winning jocket's payday down by $55,800 to $130,200. And then they need to pay taxes.

The second and third place jockeys each receive a 5% cut of their $600,000 and $300,000 prizes, respectively, and pay the same proportional agent and valet fees as the top finisher. That leaves them with pre-tax winnings of $21,000 and $10,500.

Fourth and fifth place horses earn $100,000 and $60,000 each, leaving their jockeys with pre-tax checks of $7,000 and $4,200 respectively.

The rest of the finishers leave with meager winnings. Their ride is only worth "a couple hundred dollars apiece," jockey agent Ron Anderson told CNBC in 2010.

Check out: Meet the middle-aged millennial: Homeowner, debt-burdened and turning 40

Don't miss: 2021 NFL Draft: How much Trevor Lawrence and other top picks are likely to earn on their rookie contracts

VIDEO9:5009:50
How a 29-year-old single mom making $75,000 in NYC spends her money