Over the last six years there has been a tiered point system in place to determine which three year-olds qualify to run in America’s greatest race. In select races at designated tracks across the country and around the world, horses race to earn a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The top four finishers in each race earn points. For example; 50 points for first, 30 for second, 20 for third, and 10 for fourth place. At the end of the Prep Race season the twenty horses with the most points get their once in a lifetime chance at Churchill Downs.
There are, of course, fees involved in getting a horse to The Derby. If an owner wants to nominate a horse for The Kentucky Derby, a nomination fee of $600 must be paid in the January prior to The Derby. If that nomination date is missed, one can do a late nomination in March, with a fee of $6000. Then, owners with horses that qualify pay a $25,000 entry fee, and another $25,000 to start. If a qualifying horse was not nominated in the designated times of January and March it can be supplemented to the Kentucky Derby for $200,000.
The Sport Of Kings Indeed.