Derby Day Reflections

I’ve been thinking about the Kentucky Derby all day. I’ve watched almost every Derby since I was a kid. I love the drama. I love hearing from the veteran trainers, the upstart owners and the jockeys.  This year there are 25 regular folks who chipped in and bought Noble’s Promise. They’ll be in the owner’s box watching just like the wealthy folks who generally own contenders in the Sport of Kings. It’s a great story.

Watching the Derby makes me think about the race we’re in: The Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize.

There are 20 horses entered in today’s Kentucky Derby and the purse for the race is $2 million. This amount is divided among the top finishers using a formula that allots 60% to the winner, 20% to the second 10% to third, 7.5% to fourth and 2.5% for fifth. This means the horse that wins the Derby takes home $1.2 million.

The purse for the X PRIZE is bigger.  $10 million is up for grabs. That amount is divided between three divisions: $5 million for Mainstream vehicles and $2.5 million for each of the two alternative divisions. We have cars in two of the three divisions.  Unlike the Derby, there’s no prize for anything but the first place finisher in each Division. This is an amazing scenario for anyone who likes high stakes competition.

The West Philly Hybrid X Team has cars in two of the three divisions. That means we are competing against fewer contestants for way bigger stakes than those entered in the Kentucky Derby.  But, like every horse that sets foot in the starting gate at Churchill Downs, we’ve already made the big time.

We’ve qualified and we’ll be on the track at the Michigan International Speedway. The world is watching us as we take the next step in our remarkable and ridiculous advdenture. I just can’t wait to see the morning line.

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