Several of the top trainers competing in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday reportedly benefited from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
More than a dozen trainers at the Derby received more than $7 million combined from the taxpayer-funded loans originally aimed at helping small businesses, the Asbury Park Press reported Tuesday.
Essential Quality is among the favorites to win the race at Churchill Downs. According to the newspaper, Brad Cox – who trains the horse – received a $550,000 loan. Godolphin LLC owns the horse and the company was founded by the ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The sheikh’s net worth is reportedly more than $4 billion.
Bob Baffert, the most recognizable name in horse racing, reportedly received a PPP loan as well, the Asbury Park Press reported. Baffert, the trainer for Medina Spirit, received a loan for more than $556,000. Baffert’s horse Authentic won last year’s event.
Steve Asmussen, who was the top-earning trainer in 2008 and 2009 and had a horse who won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, received more than $1 million in PPP. Asmussen is hoping Super Stock can give him the first Derby victory of his career.
The Kentucky Derby is set to begin at 6:50 p.m. ET on Saturday.