How Much Did These Kentucky Derby Winners Make for Their Owners?

Al Behrman/AP/Shutterstock / Al Behrman/AP/Shutterstock

Held annually without fail since 1875, the Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously run sporting event in America. Set to take place on May 7, the most famous horse race in the entire world means different things to different people. To some, the day is about tradition and history. To others, it’s about gambling and the thrill of the race itself. To others, the moment is all about mint juleps and big hats.

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To the rich people who own the four-legged contestants, however, the Kentucky Derby is all about the prospect of getting even richer.

A trip to the winner’s circle earns owners a traditional wreath made of roses, a gold trophy and an etching of their names in history — but it also adds seven figures to their stacks. In 2022, the total purse is $3 million, and the 3-year-old Thoroughbred that comes in first at Churchill Downs in Louisville will earn its owner $1.86 million of that haul — and that’s just one race.

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Here’s a look at what the winners from Kentucky Derbys past have earned their owners dating back to 1930, and what those winnings would look like when adjusted for inflation into 2022 dollars.

1930: Gallant Fox

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1931: Twenty Grand

1932: Burgoo King

1933: Brokers Tip

1934: Cavalcade

1935: Omaha

1936: Bold Venture

1937: War Admiral

1938: Lawrin

1939: Johnstown

1940: Gallahadion

1941: Whirlaway

1942: Shut Out

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1943: Count Fleet

1944: Pensive

1945: Hoop Jr.

1946: Assault

1947: Jet Pilot

1948: Citation

1949: Ponder

1950: Middleground

1951: Count Turf

1952: Hill Gail

1953: Dark Star

1954: Determine

1955: Swaps

1956: Needles

1957: Iron Liege

1958: Tim Tam

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1959: Tomy Lee

1960: Venetian Way

1961: Carry Back

1962: Decidedly

1963: Chateaugay

1964: Northern Dancer

1965: Lucky Debonair

1966: Kauai King

1967: Proud Clarion

1968: Forward Pass

1969: Majestic Prince

1970: Dust Commander

1971: Canonero II

1972: Riva Ridge

1973: Secretariat

1974: Cannonade

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1975: Foolish Pleasure

1976: Bold Forbes

1977: Seattle Slew

1978: Affirmed

1979: Spectacular Bid

1980: Genuine Risk

1981: Pleasant Colony

1982: Gato Del Sol

1983: Sunny’s Halo

1984: Swale

1985: Spend a Buck

1986: Ferdinand

1987: Alysheba

1988: Winning Colors

1989: Sunday Silence

1990: Unbridled

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1991: Strike the Gold

1992: Lil E. Tee

1993: Sea Hero

1994: Go for Gin

1995: Thunder Gulch

1996: Grindstone

1997: Silver Charm

1998: Real Quiet

1999: Charismatic

2000: Fusaichi Pegasus

2001: Monarchos

2002: War Emblem

2003: Funny Cide

2004: Smarty Jones

2005: Giacomo

2006: Barbaro

2007: Street Sense

2008: Big Brown

2009: Mine That Bird

2010: Super Saver

2011: Animal Kingdom

2012: I’ll Have Another

2013: Orb

2014: California Chrome

2015: American Pharoah

2016: Nyquist

2017: Always Dreaming

2018: Justify

2019: Country House

2020: Authentic

2021: Mandaloun

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Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates looked at Kentucky Derby-winning horses from 1930 onward and used KentuckyDerby.com to find the following for each winner: (1) horse name; (2) jockey name; (3) trainer name; and (4) owner(s) name. Then GOBankingRates used Equibase to find each Kentucky Derby winner’s (5) career earnings and (6) career earnings adjusted for inflation to 2022 dollars using the US Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation calculator. All data was collected and is up to date as of April 27, 2022.