Millionaires in the Kentucky Derby

By John Cox

In 2014 California Chrome joined Street Sense (2007) as only the second Kentucky Derby winner to enter the race with over $1 Million in earnings (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
In 2014 California Chrome joined Street Sense (2007) as only the second Kentucky Derby winner to enter the race with over $1 Million in earnings (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Who wants to be a millionaire? Well if you’re a 3-year-old trying to win the Kentucky Derby, you may want to reconsider. In the 140-year history of the race, only 36 horses have entered boasting a bankroll over $1 million in earnings. Of those 36, only two went on to win, giving you about a 5.5% success rate. The winners: Street Sense in 2007 and California Chrome in 2014.

Street Sense became the first Kentucky Derby winner to have entered the race with over $1 million in earnings in 2007.
Street Sense became the first Kentucky Derby winner to have entered the race with over $1 million in earnings in 2007 (horsephotos.com)

An interesting tidbit about the 2015 field: It appears we’ll have more millionaires enter Kentucky Derby 141 than ever before. The most ever to enter a Kentucky Derby field to date is three, and it’s happened three times:

2012

  • Union Rags ($1,198,800) finished 7th
  • Hansen ($1,623,305) finished 9th
  • Daddy Long Legs ($1,308,909) did not finish

2007

  • Street Sense ($1,508,200) WON
  • Circular Quay ($1,147,434) finished 6th
  • Scat Daddy ($1,334,300) finished 18th

2002

  • Harlan’s Holiday ($1,466,564) finished 7th
  • Johannesburg ($1,017,005) finished 8th
  • Essence of Dubai ($1,543,200) finished 9th

2015

Here’s a glimpse at the five who will attempt to become the third millionaire to win the Run for the Roses:

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Post Time Favorites

Of the 36 millionaires who have run in the Kentucky Derby, 15 were post-time favorites (although millionaires Timber Country and Serena’s Song were coupled in 1995). There’s a pretty solid chance one of the five listed above will be the post-time favorite in 2015. The filly Althea was the first millionaire to enter the race in 1984.

Record

The record of millionaires in the Kentucky Derby is 36-2-4-4.


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