Money

Justify wins the 144th Kentucky Derby—here's how much the owners get paid

Jockey Mike Smith in the winner's circle atop of Justify #7 after winning the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby
Andy Lyons | Getty Images
Jockey Mike Smith in the winner's circle atop of Justify #7 after winning the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby

Pre-race favorite Justify won the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths on Saturday, becoming the first horse in 136 years to win at Churchill Downs after not racing as a two year old.

The colt also earned a sizable paycheck for his large ownership team: 62 percent of the $2 million purse, or $1.24 million. The co-owners, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and the China Horse Club, bought Justify for $500,000 in 2016.

The 52-year-old jockey, Mike Smith, also brought home a nice paycheck: The winning horse rider gets 10 percent of what the owners collect, meaning Smith got a check for $124,000. That number will get shaved down to about $100,000 after paying his agent and valet, the person who gets the jockey's gear in place.

Justify (7), ridden by jockey Mike Smith crosses the finish line to win the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs
Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
Justify (7), ridden by jockey Mike Smith crosses the finish line to win the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

The top five finishers all get a cut of the $2 million purse. Here's a breakdown of how it got divied up:

First place (Justify): $1.24 million
Second place (Good Magic): $400,000
Third place (Audible): $200,000
Fourth place (Instilled Regard): $100,000
Fifth place (My Boy Jack): $60,000

The second and third place jockeys get 5 percent of their owner's take, meaning the second place jockey got a check for $20,000, while the third place jockey got one for $10,000. After fees, they'll take home closer to $14,000 and $7,000.

As for the 17 other jockeys, they won't make out nearly as favorably. Their ride is only worth "a couple hundred dollars apiece," jockey agent Ron Anderson told CNBC in 2010.

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