2018 Road to the Kentucky Derby

2018 Kentucky DerbyFor the sixth consecutive year, Churchill Downs is using a points-based series of qualifying races to determine invitations to the Kentucky Derby. Over the course of a 20-race Prep Season and now a 16-race Championship Series, top jockeys, trainers, and thoroughbreds compete to enter America’s most famous horse race.

In a nod to the growing international appeal of the Kentucky Derby, this year also includes independent racing series in Japan and Europe to qualify for the race. The points leaders from both the 3-race “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby,” and the 7-race “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” will earn invitations to the 144th Run for the Roses.

Find the full schedule and links to race pages for the Kentucky Derby Prep Season, the Kentucky Derby Championship Series, the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, and the European Road to the Kentucky Derby below.


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2017-18 Kentucky Derby Prep Season – 20 Races

On September 16th at the Grade III Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, the long Road to the Kentucky Derby began. Over the course of 20 races through late February, the greatest thoroughbreds from the U.S. and around the globe competed in a points-based system to qualify for the 2018 Kentucky Derby. With the exception of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (20-8-4-2), all races awarded the 1st through 4th place finishers 10, 4, 2, and 1 point(s) respectively.

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st-4th)WINNER
Sept. 16Iroquois StakesChurchill Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1The Tabulator
Sept. 30FrontRunnerSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Bolt d'Oro
Oct. 7ChampagneBelmont Park1 Mile10-4-2-1Firenze Fire
Oct. 7Breeders’ FuturityKeeneland1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Free Drop Billy
Nov. 4Breeders’ Cup JuvenileDel Mar1 1/16 Miles20-8-4-2Good Magic
Nov. 25Kentucky Jockey ClubChurchill Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Enticed
Dec. 2Remsen StakesAqueduct1 1/8 Miles10-4-2-1Catholic Boy
Dec. 9Los Alamitos FuturityLos Alamitos1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1McKinzie
Dec. 17Springboard MileRemington Park1 Mile10-4-2-1Greyvitos
Jan. 6Sham StakesSanta Anita1 Mile10-4-2-1McKinzie
Jan. 13LecomteFair Grounds1 Mile 70 Yards10-4-2-1Instilled Regard
Jan. 13JeromeAqueduct1 Mile 70 Yards10-4-2-1Firenze Fire
Jan. 15Smarty JonesOaklawn Park1 Mile10-4-2-1Mourinho
Feb. 3Robert B. LewisSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Lombo
Feb. 3WithersAqueduct1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Avery Island
Feb. 3Holy BullGulfstream Park1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Audible
Feb. 10Sam F. DavisTampa Bay Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Flameaway
Feb. 17El Camino Real DerbyGolden Gate1 1/8 Miles (S)10-4-2-1Paved
Feb. 19SouthwestOaklawn Park1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1My Boy Jack

2018 Kentucky Derby Championship Series – 16 Races

Recent form is rewarded more generously as the Kentucky Derby Championship Series runs from late February to Mid-April. Most of these qualifying events award points at a 50-20-10-5 or 100-40-20-10 point breakdown to the 1st through 4th place finishers. These 16 races define the bulk of the 2018 Kentucky Derby field, as the weeks countdown to the “Fastest 2 minutes in sports.”

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st to 4th)WINNER
Feb. 17Risen StarFair Grounds1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5Bravazo
March 3Fountain of YouthGulfstream Park1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 10Gotham StakesAqueduct1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 10San FelipeSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 10Tampa Bay DerbyTampa Bay Downs1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 17Rebel StakesOaklawn Park1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 17Spiral StakesTurfway Park1 1/8 Miles (S)20-8-4-2
March 24Louisiana DerbyFair Grounds1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
March 25Sunland DerbySunland Park1 1/8 Miles50-20-10-5
March 31UAE DerbyMeydan Racecourse1 3/16 Miles100-40-20-10
March 31Florida DerbyGulfstream Park1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 7Wood MemorialAqueduct1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 7Blue GrassKeeneland1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 7Santa Anita DerbySanta Anita1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 14Arkansas DerbyOaklawn Park1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 14Lexington StakesKeeneland1 1/16 Miles20-8-4-2


2017-18 Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby

One position at the starting gate of the 144th Kentucky Derby will be granted to the winner of this year’s “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.” This 3-race series is a separate sequence of three races from America’s 36-race “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series. Two horses based in Japan have run in the Kentucky Derby: Ski Captain (14th in 1995) and Lani (ninth in 2016).

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st-4th)WINNER
Nov. 25Cattleya ShoTokyo Racecourse1 Mile10-4-2-1Ruggero
Dec. 13Zen-Nippon Nisai YushunKawasaki Racecourse1 Mile10-4-2-1Le Vent Se Leve
Feb. 18HyacinthTokyo Racecourse1 Mile30-12-6-3Sumahama

2017-18 European Road to the Kentucky Derby

For the first time in 2017-18, officials from Churchill Downs and officials from England, France and Ireland partnered to create a guaranteed path to Kentucky Derby qualification for horses based in Europe. The “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” is a seven race, stand-alone series. The series will culminate on March 30th with the Burradon Stakes at England’s Newcastle Racecourse. One invitation to compete in the 2018 Kentucky Derby will be awarded through this series.

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st-4th)WINNER
Sept. 24Beresford StakesNaas (Ire)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Saxon Warrior
Sept. 30Royal Lodge StakesNewmarket (GB)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Roaring Lion
Oct. 1Prix Jean-Luc LagardèreChantilly (Fr)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Happily
Oct. 28Racing Post TrophyDoncaster (GB)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Saxon Warrior
March 1Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition StakesKempton Park (GB)1 Mile (S)20-8-4-2
March 2Patton StakesDundalk (Ire)1 Mile (S)20-8-4-2
March 30Burradon StakesNewcastle (GB)1 Mile (S)30-12-6-3

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