This is the time of year when the Daily Racing Blog as well as every thoroughbred publication writes about the Road To The Kentucky Derby.
While we (and others) just assume horse-players know what we’re referring to, there may be some newcomers to the game who would like a little more information.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby point system was created in 2012 to establish a clear, practical and understandable path to the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, this according to the official website of Churchill Downs.
A poll conducted by Churchill Downs prior to the changes showed 83% of respondents did not understand how horses became starters for the Kentucky Derby.
The previous system was based on earnings from all Graded Stakes Races, which essentially gave equal weight to earnings from Juvenile races, Sprints and even turf races as opposed to the traditional Derby Prep races.
The points (qualification) system features dozens of Stakes races for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds in which points are awarded to the top four finishers.
For example, the top four runners in last Saturday’s Fountain Of Youth Stakes earned 50-20-10, and 5 points toward qualifying for The Run For The Roses.
There are 20 positions available in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.
Up to 24 horses may enter the race, with the bottom four point-earners listed as also eligible. If any of the top 20 is scratched after entries are taken but before betting begins, the next ranked horse on the also eligible list will be eligible to run.
If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker to get into the Kentucky Derby is earnings in non-restricted Stakes races, whether or not they are Graded.
In the event of a tie, those horses will divide equally the points they would have received jointly had one beaten the other.
If an owner wants to run a filly in the Derby, she will have to earn points in the same races as the colts and geldings.
If a filly has earned points toward running in the Kentucky Oaks, those points are not transferable to the Derby.
We hope this helped. Now, over the course of the next six weeks, if/when the phrase Road To The Kentucky Derby is thrown your way, you have a basic understanding of what’s going on.