2018 Road to the Kentucky Derby

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

In a nod to the growing international appeal of the Kentucky Derby, this year will also see the launch of independent racing series in Japan and Europe to qualify for the race. The points leader 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 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. Note that dates marked with a “*” are not confirmed and are based on the historical dates on which those races are normally run.


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 will begin. Over the course of 20 races through late February, the greatest thoroughbreds from the U.S. and around the globe will compete 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 will award the 1st through 4th place finishers 10, 4, 2, and 1 point(s) respectively.

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st to 4th)
Sept. 16IroquoisChurchill Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Sept. 30FrontRunnerSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Oct. 7ChampagneBelmont Park1 Mile10-4-2-1
Oct. 7Breeders’ FuturityKeeneland1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Nov. 4Breeders’ Cup JuvenileDel Mar1 1/16 Miles20-8-4-2
Nov. 18Delta Downs JackpotDelta Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
*Nov. 25RemsenAqueduct1 1/8 Miles10-4-2-1
Nov. 25Kentucky Jockey ClubChurchill Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
*Dec. 9Los Alamitos FuturityLos Alamitos1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Dec. 17+Springboard MileRemington Park1 Mile10-4-2-1
*Jan. 1JeromeAqueduct1 Mile 70 Yards10-4-2-1
*Jan. 13ShamSanta Anita1 Mile10-4-2-1
Jan. 15Smarty JonesOaklawn Park1 Mile10-4-2-1
*Jan. 20LecomteFair Grounds1 Mile 70 Yards10-4-2-1
*Feb. 3Robert B. LewisSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
*Feb. 3WithersAqueduct1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
*Feb. 3Holy BullGulfstream Park1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
*Feb. 10Sam F. DavisTampa Bay Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
*Feb. 17El Camino Real DerbyGolden Gate1 1/8 Miles (S)10-4-2-1
Feb. 19SouthwestOaklawn Park1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1

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 will define the bulk of the 2018 Kentucky Derby field, as the weeks countdown to the “Fastest 2 minutes in sports.”

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st to 4th)
*Feb. 24Risen StarFair Grounds1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
*March 3GothamAqueduct1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
*March 3Fountain of YouthGulfstream Park1 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 17RebelOaklawn Park1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 17SpiralTurfway Park1 1/8 Miles (S)20-8-4-2
*March 24UAE DerbyMeydan Racecourse1 3/16 Miles100-40-20-10
*March 24Louisiana DerbyFair Grounds1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
March 25Sunland DerbySunland Park1 1/8 Miles50-20-10-5
*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 14LexingtonKeeneland1 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 to 4th)
Nov. 25Cattleya ShoTokyo Racecourse1 Mile10-4-2-1
Dec. 13+Zen-Nippon Nisai YushunKawasaki Racecourse1 Mile10-4-2-1
*Mid-Feb.HyacinthTokyo Racecourse1 Mile30-12-6-3

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 have partnered to create a guaranteed path to Kentucky Derby Presented 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 to 4th)
Sept. 24+Juddmonte BeresfordNaas (Ire)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1
Sept. 30+Juddmonte Royal LodgeNewmarket (GB)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1
Oct. 1+Qatar Prix Jean-Luc LagardèreChantilly (Fr)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1
Oct. 28+Racing Post TrophyDoncaster (GB)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1
March 1+Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition StakesKempton Park (GB)1 Mile (S)20-8-4-2
March 2+Patton (Listed)Dundalk (Ire)1 Mile (S)20-8-4-2
March 30+BurradonNewcastle (GB)1 Mile (S)30-12-6-3

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