The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby took place last weekend, returning a year after the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted the event last year.

However, the return is not without its controversy. According to the Ashbury Park Press, many of the nation’s top trainers took full advantage of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with 14 trainers receiving a combined $7.4 million from the program.

The $649 billion program was originally designed to help struggling small businesses pay their employees. It remains unclear whether or not the trainers paid some or all of their loans back.

One of the trainers, Brad Cox, who trains Essential Quality for Godolphin LLC, which is owned the ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, received a $550,000 loan.


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Todd Pletcher, trainer for Known Agenda for St. Elias Stable, received the second-highest loan – a whopping $1.294 million.

Chad Brown, trainer of Highly Motivated, received the largest loan at $1.767 million.

The following is a list of other Kentucky Derby trainers who received large payouts from the PPP:

  • Steve Asmussen ($1.088 million)
  • Brad Cox ($550,000)
  • John Sadler ($449,2370)
  • Peter Miller ($425,000)
  • Ken McPeek ($424,384)
  • Doug O’Neill ($366,947)
  • Mark Casse ($296,571)
  • Robertino Diodoro ($239,206)
  • Vicki Oliver ($116,200)
  • Greg Foley ($91,839)
  • Wesley Ward ($70,722)

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