Join Today

$100 sign-up bonus

Kentucky Derby Prep Races

Kentucky Derby Home | 2018 | Betting | Odds | Handicapping | History | Prep Races | Contenders | Winners | Future Wager Pool | Results | Tickets

2018 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

The traditional qualifier for participating in the Kentucky Derby used to be total graded stakes earnings by a horse. Churchill Downs decided to refine the classic earnings method in favor of a points based system.

Beginning in 2013, the Kentucky Derby prep races were officially bundled under the banner of The Road to the Kentucky Derby. Known fondly as the “Derby Trail,” the introduction of the prep series has led to a much easier guideline for both horsemen and horse racing fans. The Derby Trail also allows for more focused promotion of horses targeting the Triple Crown.

There are four groupings that makeup the Kentucky Derby prep race series. The first is the Kentucky Derby Prep Season with 20 races. Beginning with the Iroquois Stakes in mid-September and running through the Southwest Stakes in late-February, each race offers a 10-4-2-1 points split. Except for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November, which boasts a 20-8-4-2 split.

The next series is the Kentucky Derby Championship Series which offers 16 races total. Seven of these races deliver a 50-20-10-5 point split. The final prep races double the reward with an offering of 100-40-20-10. The exceptions are the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and Lexington Stakes at Keeneland with a split of 20-8-4-2.

The races of highest value include the UAE Derby at Meydan in Dubai, the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park; Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds; Wood Memorial at Aqueduct; Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park; Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park; and the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

This race series design places a significant value on the most important prep races of the Kentucky Derby overall, as the Fastest Two Minutes In Sports inches closer. The cornerstone prep races attract significant handle as bettors sort out Kentucky Derby contenders and the points system enables the casual fan to understand how horses come to be eligible to participate as opposed to the former graded earnings system.

Kentucky Derby winners tend to excel in the “Championship Series” where races are worth the most points. Over the last decade, 9 of 10 Kentucky Derby champions have finished either in first or second place during at least one Championship Series race. The lone exception being 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird, who was able to qualify for the Kentucky Derby based largely upon graded earnings accrued earlier in his career.

Beginning in 2017, the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby was introduced. This two-race series has expanded to three races for 2018 and consists of the Cattleya Sho, newly added Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun (10-4-2-1 points awarded) and the Hyacinth (30-12-6-3). The horse with the most points is granted automatic entry into the Kentucky Derby.

The newest addition for 2018 is the reintroduction of the Europe Road to the Kentucky Derby that features seven races in Ireland, Great Britain and France. Races include points splits of 10-4-2-1, 20-8-4-2 and 30-12-6-3 in the Burrandon at Newcastle.

List of the 2018 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

2017-18 ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY SCHEDULE

36 Races              

Kentucky Derby Prep Season (20 races)

         
Date Race Racetrack Distance 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Sept. 16 Iroquois Churchill Downs 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
Sept. 30 FrontRunner Santa Anita 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
Oct. 7 Champagne Belmont Park 1 Mile 10 4 2 1
Oct. 7 Breeders’ Futurity Keeneland 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Del Mar 1 1/16 Miles 20 8 4 2
Nov. 18 Delta Downs Jackpot Delta Downs 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
*Nov. 25 Remsen Aqueduct 1 1/8 Miles 10 4 2 1
Nov. 25 Kentucky Jockey Club Churchill Downs 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
*Dec. 9 Los Alamitos Futurity Los Alamitos 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
Dec. 17 +Springboard Mile Remington Park 1 Mile 10 4 2 1
*Jan. 1 Jerome Aqueduct 1 Mile 70 Yards 10 4 2 1
*Jan. 13 Sham Santa Anita 1 Mile 10 4 2 1
Jan. 15 Smarty Jones Oaklawn Park 1 Mile 10 4 2 1
*Jan. 20 Lecomte Fair Grounds 1 Mile 70 Yards 10 4 2 1
*Feb. 3 Robert B. Lewis Santa Anita 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
*Feb. 3 Withers Aqueduct 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
*Feb. 3 Holy Bull Gulfstream Park 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
*Feb. 10 Sam F. Davis Tampa Bay Downs 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
*Feb. 17 El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate 1 1/8 Miles (S) 10 4 2 1
Feb. 19 Southwest Oaklawn Park 1 1/16 Miles 10 4 2 1
 

Kentucky Derby Championship Series (16 races)

               
Date Race Racetrack Distance 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
*Feb. 24 Risen Star Fair Grounds 1 1/16 Miles 50 20 10 5
*March 3 Gotham Aqueduct 1 1/16 Miles 50 20 10 5
*March 3 Fountain of Youth Gulfstream Park 1 1/16 Miles 50 20 10 5
*March 10 San Felipe Santa Anita 1 1/16 Miles 50 20 10 5
*March 10 Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs 1 1/16 Miles 50 20 10 5
17-Mar Rebel Oaklawn Park 1 1/16 Miles 50 20 10 5
17-Mar Spiral Turfway Park 1 1/8 Miles (S) 20 8 4 2
*March 24 UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse 1 3/16 Miles 100 40 20 10
*March 24 Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
25-Mar Sunland Derby Sunland Park 1 1/8 Miles 50 20 10 5
*March 31 Florida Derby Gulfstream Park 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
*April 7 Wood Memorial Aqueduct 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
*April 7 Blue Grass Keeneland 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
*April 7 Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
14-Apr Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
*April 14 Lexington Keeneland 1 1/16 Miles 20 8 4 2
               
 

2017-18 JAPAN ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY SCHEDULE

3 Races              
Date Race Racetrack Distance 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Nov. 25 Cattleya Sho Tokyo Racecourse 1 Mile 10 4 2 1
Dec. 13 +Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun Kawasaki Racecourse 1 Mile 10 4 2 1
*Mid-Feb. Hyacinth Tokyo Racecourse 1 Mile 30 12 6 3
               
 

2017-18 EUROPE ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY SCHEDULE

7 Races              
Date Race Racetrack Distance 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Sept. 24 +Juddmonte Beresford Naas (Ire) 1 Mile (T) 10 4 2 1
Sept. 30 +Juddmonte Royal Lodge Newmarket (GB) 1 Mile (T) 10 4 2 1
Oct. 1 +Qatar Prix Jean-Luc
Lagardère
Chantilly (Fr) 1 Mile (T) 10 4 2 1
Oct. 28 +Racing Post Trophy Doncaster (GB) 1 Mile (T) 10 4 2 1
1-Mar +Road to the Kentucky
Derby Condition Stakes
Kempton Park (GB) 1 Mile (S) 20 8 4 2
2-Mar +Patton (Listed) Dundalk (Ire) 1 Mile (S) 20 8 4 2
30-Mar +Burradon Newcastle (GB) 1 Mile (S) 30 12 6 3

+ New Race Included in Series.
(T) = Turf
(S) = Synthetic
* Race dates and distances to be announced by host track; date based on recent historical placement.
Note: Schedule subject to change.