Economics

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By the Numbers: The 2017 Kentucky Derby

3 May, 2017

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
'My Old Kentucky Home’ Rolling in Economic Impact This Weekend

It’s just plain horse sense. An overwhelming percentage of the sports business world waits for those magic words, “….and they’re off!” – and the nutty, screaming, nail-biting two minutes that follow – but the sports business world is far, far more interested in the numbers leading up to the Kentucky Derby, the official opening of the Triple Crown season.

The Derby, which run this Saturday, May 6, is a renowned rite of spring.  And of course, it’s all about the stats. Here are the frontrunners:

  • 170,513 fans in attendance at Churchill Downs in 2015, breaking the previous record of 165,307 in 2012. (Thanks to BetFirm for that).

  • 127,000: The number of Mint Juleps, containing 1,000 pounds of fresh mint, to be served throughout Kentucky Derby weekend. (WalletHub, which also compiled the next few statistics)

  • $5.99: The cost of each drink

  • $410,000: The amount of charitable contributions raised by Woodford Reserve, donated to equine and humanitarian organizations, stemming from those julep purchases.

  • 522,000: Cans of beer expected to be consumed in addtion

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

  • $500 to $1,000: Price range of a high-end hat

  • $200,000: WalletHub’s estimation of the value of the Kentucky Derby trophy, which includes an 18-Karat gold horse and rider, 350 rubies and 12 emeralds.

  • $192.6 Million:  The amount wagered in 2016, one percent shy of the record set in 2015

  • $2 Million: The minimum purse to the winner of the Derby, guaranteed by Churchill Downs

  • 4-1: Odds for Classic Empire, the early “horse to beat,” for the Derby (as opposed to 9-2 for Always Dreaming, 6-1 for Irish War Cry, 7-1 for Thunder Snow, 8-1 for Gunnevera, 10-1 for Irap, 12-1 for Gormley, 12-1 for Practical Joke, and 15-1 for Girvin (SI Live)

  • $163,000: The number of hot dogs that will be consumed. (WalletHub)

  • $4 Billion: the economic impact of horse racing on the Kentucky economy (WalletHub)

  • Zero: The number of female trainers and jockeys who have ever won the Derby (WalletHub)

  • 15.5 Million: Average number of TV viewers for the Derby last year (WalletHub).

  • One: Horse with one eye. Yes, really. His name is (wait for it) Patch. Don't believe us? Here's the scoop from ESPN.

Watch parties are a big event, whether you live in Kentucky or Kansas, and it’s unknown how many will be held across the U.S. But it’s a sure bet, they’ll include the essential components of mint juleps, hats and even betting pools. The good thing is that no matter how big your party, nobody will have to shoulder these statistics from Churchill Downs’ clean-up efforts (provided by WalletHub);

  • 35: Pounds of Tide detergent used to clean the 600-plus competitors’  jerseys

  • 180 tons: trash generated during the Derby

  • 12,000: The number of people on staff at Churchill Downs on Derby Day (many of whom will take on clean-up duties)

Oh, and nobody has to scoop up the 50 pounds of manure produced by each horse, each day, either. That’s always a plus.

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