Matt Winn Photo

Matt Winn

Born: Jun 30, 1861

Death: Oct 6, 1949

Profession: Businessperson

Nationality: United States

Matt Winn

Date of Birth : Jun 30, 1861
Date of Death : Oct 6, 1949

Colonel Martin J. "Matt" Winn was a prominent personality in American thoroughbred horse racing history and president of Churchill Downs racetrack, home to the Kentucky Derby race that he made famous. A Louisville, Kentucky, businessman, Matt Winn had been a racing enthusiast since the day his father brought him to see the first running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875. In 1902, when the Churchill Downs racing facility was in serious financial trouble and in danger of closing, Winn formed a syndicate of local investors to take over the operation. A skilled marketer, in his first year running the racetrack, his renovations to the clubhouse and promotions for the event saw the business make its first-ever annual profit. A few years later, Winn changed the wagering from bookmaker betting to a Parimutuel betting system and in 1911 increased business substantially when he reduced the wager ticket from $5 to $2. Matt Winn used his understanding of marketing to weave an aura of romance around the Kentucky Derby. In 1915, he convinced the multimillionaire sportsman Harry Payne Whitney to ship his highly rated filly Regret from New Jersey to Louisville to compete in the Derby.


  • Businessperson


  • Mollie Doyle
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