Kentucky Derby winner and latest Triple Crown threat Nyuist has already earned owner Reddam Racing nearly $5 million in winnings over the first eight races of his career. And the 3-year-old Uncle Mo colt could further pad his connections coffers on Saturday with a ninth straight career victory at the 141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Nyuist can earn nearly $1 million if he can beat out the 10 other contenders for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Since starting his career in June of last year, Nyquist has won all eight of his starts for a cool $4,954,200, according to Equibase.com.
The Preakness winner will take home $900,000, or 60 percent of the total $1.5 million purse, while the runner-up earns $300,000 (20 percent), third receives $165,000, fourth gets $90,000, and fifth pulls in $45,000.
Compared to the two other Triple Crown races, the Preakness’ purse falls exactly in the middle. Churchill Downs raised its total purse to $2 million in 2005 with the winner taking in $1.425 million, while the Belmont Stakes upped its purse to $1.5 million prior to 2014’s running. Except at the Belmont the purse is divvied out to the top eight finishers, with first receiving $800,000.
Most of Nyquist’s earnings came from the first five races of his career in 2015. After breaking his maiden in Santa Anita, his first major purse came at the Best Pal Stakes (Grade 2) on Aug. 8 when he netted $120,000 for J. Paul Reddam and his titular stable. From there Nyquist claimed the Del Mar Futurity (G1), the FrontRunner Stakes (G1), and the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) for a grand total of $1,623,600 and was named 2015’s Champion 2-Year-Old.
Nyquist has participated in only G1 or G2 stakes races, and he’s defeated every one of his top competitors to challenge for the Triple Crown. Reddam, as well as trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez, hope Nyquist can repeat American Pharoah’s Triple Crown victory from last year. If successful, it will be just the second time horse racing has witnessed consecutive Triple Crowns, with Seattle Slew and Affirmed completing it in 1977 and 1978.
The Preakness has long stood out both for its position within the Triple Crown season, and for it’s large purses. When the race was first run in 1873, the purse was $1,000, followed by a significant increase to $25,000 in 1919 and from there it increased exponentially over time.
The last increase came in 2013, when the Maryland Jockey Club raised the purse by a third from $1 million to its current $1.5 million.
The exorbitant purses are justified by how much it costs to actually enter a contender in any of the Triple Crown races. Along with stable fees and training, it can cost as little as $600 to as much as $6,000 to enter a horse for a Triple Crown nomination. That can still balloon to a $200,000 supplemental nomination fee for the Kentucky Derby, $150,000 for the Preakness, and $75,000 for the Belmont.
On top of that there are entering and starting fees for each race. The Derby entry fee is $25,000 and so is the starting fee, while at the Preakness and Belmont its $15,000 for each fee.