The "New" Road to the Kentucky Derby - What It All Means
Las Vegas, NV - In what has been one of the most significant moves in Horse Racing's biggest race in 25 years, Churchill Downs has changed the criteria for qualifying for the Biggest of Them All - The Kentucky Derby, the 1 1/4 mile classic on the first Saturday in May. The reason for the changes? To simplify the qualification process and to make it easier for Horse Racing's ever-evolving fan base to understand how a horse qualifies.
A "Road to the Kentucky Derby" point system was created to establish a clear, practical and understandable path to the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. Previously the approximately 185 graded stakes races worldwide - including 60 open races and another 43 races restricted to fillies in North America - all counted toward the Derby selection under the previous eligibility process.
"Our primary driving motive is to create new fans for horse racing," said CDI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Evans. "We're implementing a more fan-friendly, cohesive and simplified system that should create compelling drama and appeal to a wider customer base. Fans, as well as the owners and trainers of the horses, will know exactly which races are included and what races matter the most based on a sliding scale of points."
The new point system will feature 36 stakes races overall and include 17 marquee events for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds that comprise a compact, 10-week run up to the first Saturday in May to be known as the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series." The change will be in effect for the 139th running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4, 2013.
The new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series will be divided into two phases, each offering different points to the Top 4 finishers of each race over geographically diverse and historically significant paths.
The "Kentucky Derby Prep Season" includes 19 races on dirt or synthetic surfaces over distances of at least one mile that are typically run between late September and late February. The lone exception is England's Royal Lodge, an international juvenile steppingstone that is carded at one mile on turf at Newmarket. Points will be awarded to the Top 4 finishers in each race on a 10-4-2-1 scale.
Follow the Road to the Kentucky Derby races at OffTrackBetting.com
The "Kentucky Derby Championship Series" is a three-part series of 17 marquee races (that are traditionally run over a compact, 10-week run up to the first Saturday in May) on dirt or synthetic surfaces over distances of at least one mile.
The first leg, which mostly includes races that feed into the major Kentucky Derby launching pads, includes eight events - the Risen Star (Fair Grounds), Fountain of Youth (Gulfstream Park), Gotham (Aqueduct), Tampa Bay Derby (Tampa Bay Downs), San Felipe (Santa Anita), Rebel (Oaklawn Park), Spiral (Turfway Park) and Sunland Derby (Sunland Park) - with a 50-20-10-5 point scale.
The second leg features seven stakes races - the Florida Derby (Gulfstream Park), UAE Derby (Meydan Racecourse), Louisiana Derby (Fair Grounds), Wood Memorial (Aqueduct), Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita), Arkansas Derby (Oaklawn Park) and Blue Grass (Keeneland) - that are worth 100-40-20-10; and
The final leg is comprised of two "Wild Card" events, the Lexington (Keeneland) and The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial (Churchill Downs), which offer some hope for horses to increase their point totals with a 20-8-4-2 scale.
The top 20 points earners will get their shot at the Big Race May 4 with ties being determined by earnings in non-restricted races during the year. There are provisions for dead-heats, for fillies wishing to enter the Kentucky Derby and every other possible scenario between now and May 4. There is nothing that hasn't been thought of!
The points system is a fan friendly, scaled down qualification process that has identified key, marquee races for the contenders to race in. OffTrackBetting.com will preview all of the key races and keep you informed as to the standings generated in these races.