What is a purse in horse racing?

The purse is the prize money attached to a certain horse racing contest. Anyone familiar with boxing or UFC terminology might already be familiar with this phrase.

Each race at every racetrack has a purse, which is divided among the top finishers. The money is produced by the racetrack’s takeout – the amount it takes out of the pari-mutuel pool before paying out winning tickets.

Purses are typically distributed this way: 60 percent to the connections of the winner; 20 percent to the runner-up; 11 percent to third; 6 percent to fourth; and 3 percent to fifth. But some tracks have their own variations.

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