While it makes sense the greatest two minutes in sports would have such a large economic impact on the Kentucky economy, what shocked me the most was how much the horses themselves affect the economy. Horses are Kentucky’s number one cash crop. There is an annual cost for horse care of about 4,510 per animal leading to a $3 – $4 billion impact each year for Kentucky just through the equine industry. The horse industry also provides somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 jobs annually. This all leads to the Kentucky Derby itself.
Kentucky has an economic impact of $10 billion per year through the tourism industry, horses being the primary attraction but more specifically the two-week long Kentucky Derby Festival. The Kentucky Derby was studied in 2001 and was seen to have a 217.8 million dollar impact to Louisville. Even the drinks sold at the Kentucky Derby have a direct impact to the economy since their main drinks are made with Kentucky Bourbon and locally grown mint is used in the Mint Juleps. If you care to get in the spirit, here is The Kentucky Derby’s official Mint Julep Recipe:
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.