How are horses entered in the Kentucky Derby? The entry fee for the Kentucky Derby is $25,000, and there is another $25,000 fee if the horse enters the starting gate. Since the mid-1970s, no more than 20 Thoroughbreds may run in the Derby. Churchill Downs Racetrack currently guarantees a purse of $2 million, with the winner receiving at least $1.24 million. The owner also receives the gold Derby Trophy, which is the only gold trophy presented in major American sports. Owners must nominate their horses to be eligible for the Derby by paying a nomination fee of $600 per horse during the early period (usually through late January), $6,000 during the late period (usually through late March) or a “last minute” supplemental fee of $200,000. Trainers prepare the horses for the Kentucky Derby by running them in various races around the country during the late winter and spring. These races are referred to as “prep” races. Points are awarded to the top four finishers in each of these races, with the overall top 20 horses earning the opportunity to compete in the upcoming Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby Trivia and Fun Facts
An Introduction to the Kentucky Derby – the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”
This vocabulary list includes common words and terms used with horses and racing.
See this list of horse and horse-related books, compiled by the Children's Services staff at the Louisville Free Public Library where each is available to check out.
Color Our Foal! Coloring Sheet
Hot Foot Fred hangs out on the Museum's second floor and enjoys watching our visitors from all around the world. Hang him on your wall!
Kentucky Derby Seek & Find
And they're off! It takes a combination of skill and luck to win the Kentucky Derby, and even more to win the Triple Crown. You'll need both to find these Triple Crown winners in our Seek & Find.
Pre-Visit Activities for Kentucky Derby Museum
"Kentucky Derby Museum 101"
- Download pre-visit orientation plan
- Download PowerPoint Presentation for Kentucky Derby Museum orientation
Winner's Circle Geography
Great Horses of the Kentucky Derby
"You Can't Stop the Derby!"