Economics

Print
Derby Day Numbers: The Figures Behind The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports

4 May, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Really, it’s all about the hats. And the mint juleps. And the horses too.

And did we mention the economic impact?

As Thoroughbred racing kicks off the first leg of Triple Crown season, attention will be trained on Kentucky this weekend for The Run for the Roses, and what has become known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” This year marks the 142nd running of the race at Churchill Downs, with a field of up to 20 horses vying for a more than $2 million purse and a shot at immortality.

Although 141 horse-jockey teams have crossed the Derby line in victory, only 35 have gone on to win the Preakness Stakes, and a mere 12 of those have then sealed the triple crown deal in the Belmont Stakes.

And if those numbers aren’t enough, the good folks who know Kentucky tourism has some even more impressive ones.

“An estimate for the impact of the Derby, which we include the two weeks of festival events leading up to the running of the Kentucky Derby, is over $400 million,” notes Garry Gupton, executive director of Kentucky Sports Authority (and executive director of communications for the Kentucky Cabinet of Tourism, Arts & Heritage; this is obviously a man who knows his Kentucky numbers.)

Gupton notes that figure is based on actual studies conducted by both Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Festival. “The number,” he adds, “for just KDF events, exclusive of the weekend spend of Oaks & Derby, is $128 million.”

And just to throw some more trivia into the pot, WalletHub, that ever-dependable storehouse of mathematical information, has compiled some new ones for readers to chew on as a counterpart to the juleps.

  • 127,000: The number of mint juleps, containing 1,000 pounds of fresh mint, to be served throughout Kentucky Derby weekend.

  • $400 million: Total estimated economic impact on the region (A two-week Kentucky Derby Festival that leads up to the big day contributes to this)

  • 90 percent: Percentage of female spectators who will wear a hat

  • $500 to $1,000: The average cost of a high-end Kentucky Derby hat (which takes between one and seven days to create)

  • $300,000: The 2016 fee for the world's most valuable stud, Tapit

  • $60: Average price for a general admission ticket. (Really, that’s it.)

  • $194.3 million: The total dollar amount wagered on the 2015 Kentucky Derby, the most in history, with $154.3 million ultimately being paid on winning tickets.

  • $200,000: The estimated value of the Kentucky Derby trophy, which includes an 18-Karat gold horse and rider, as well as 350 rubies and 12 emeralds.

  • 16 million: The estimated number of TV viewers

  • 1:59.40: Fastest finish time in Derby history (Secretariat in 1973)

  • 0: Number of female trainers or jockeys who have won the Kentucky Derby (yes, really, and yes, really sad)

  • 170,000 people in attendance

  • 35-plus: Pounds of Tide detergent to wash 600-plus competitors’ jerseys on the day of the race (Remember: the Derby is not the only race run that day)

There’s no estimated number on how many people will throw Kentucky Derby Watch Parties, but it’s a sure bet those parties will include hats, juleps and a sizeable spend at the grocery and liquor store. (Those who want to plan said party can use what is being called the official site to do so.)

And here's a new number this year: 1,600: That's the number of beacons now installed around Churchill Downs, ready to interact with apps that will allow attendees to place bets and order food and beverages from their seats. This year will also be the first for Snapchat to provide official interactions. Even Periscope is getting in on the action.

And while WalletHub is all about the numbers, there are some sobering statistics, including which states have the biggest gambling problems.

Or, you can throw caution to the winds and concentrate on this number: 50. That’s the average number of pounds of manure produced by the average racehorse per day.

Print

Subscribe to SDM