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Derby purse to $2m

Churchill Downs doubled the size of the Kentucky Derby's purse on Tuesday, increasing the total prize for the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown to $2 million.

The winner's share of the May 7 race will account for 62 percent of the guaranteed purse, or at least $1.24 million. The purse for the Derby has been $1 million guaranteed since 1996.

"We just felt it was time to increase it to $2 million and show our commitment to what the Derby really is — not only tradition but the purse level," track president Steve Sexton said.

Left unsaid was that the miserly purse (by today's standards for top class races) risked turning the Derby from an American tradition into a relic. The move is overdue.