2018-19 Road to the Kentucky Derby

2018 Kentucky DerbyFor a seventh 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 19-race Prep Season and a 16-race Championship Series, top jockeys, trainers, and thoroughbreds compete to enter America’s most famous horse race.

Some new tweaks have also been added to the independent racing series in Japan and Europe to qualify for the race. The points leaders from both the 4-race (up from 3 races last year) “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby,” and the 7-race “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” will earn invitations to the 145th 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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2018-19 Kentucky Derby Prep Season – 19 Races

On September 15th, 2018 at the Grade III Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, the long Road to the Kentucky Derby began. Over the course of 19 races running through late February, the greatest thoroughbreds from the U.S. and around the globe competed in a points-based system to qualify for the 2019 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. 15Iroquois StakesChurchill Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Cairo Cat
Sept. 29American Pharoah StakesSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Game Winner
Oct. 6ChampagneBelmont Park1 Mile10-4-2-1Complexity
Oct. 6Breeders’ FuturityKeeneland1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Knicks Go
Nov. 3Breeders’ Cup JuvenileDel Mar1 1/16 Miles20-8-4-2Game Winner
Nov. 24Kentucky Jockey ClubChurchill Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Signalman
Dec. 1Remsen StakesAqueduct1 1/8 Miles10-4-2-1Maximus Mischief
Dec. 8Los Alamitos FuturityLos Alamitos1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1Improbable
Dec. 16Springboard MileRemington Park1 Mile10-4-2-1
Jan. 1JeromeAqueduct1 Mile 70 Yards10-4-2-1
Jan. 5Sham StakesSanta Anita1 Mile10-4-2-1
Jan. 12LecomteFair Grounds1 Mile 70 Yards10-4-2-1
Jan. 25Smarty JonesOaklawn Park1 Mile10-4-2-1
Feb. 2Robert B. LewisSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Feb. 2WithersAqueduct1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Feb. 2Holy BullGulfstream Park1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Feb. 9Sam F. DavisTampa Bay Downs1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1
Feb. 16El Camino Real DerbyGolden Gate1 1/8 Miles (S)10-4-2-1
Feb. 18SouthwestOaklawn Park1 1/16 Miles10-4-2-1

2019 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. 16Risen StarFair Grounds1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 2Fountain of YouthGulfstream Park1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 9Gotham StakesAqueduct1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 9San FelipeSanta Anita1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 9Tampa Bay DerbyTampa Bay Downs1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 16Rebel StakesOaklawn Park1 1/16 Miles50-20-10-5
March 16Spiral StakesTurfway Park1 1/8 Miles (S)20-8-4-2
March 23Louisiana DerbyFair Grounds1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
March 24Sunland DerbySunland Park1 1/8 Miles50-20-10-5
March 30UAE DerbyMeydan Racecourse1 3/16 Miles100-40-20-10
March 30Florida DerbyGulfstream Park1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 6Wood MemorialAqueduct1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 6Blue GrassKeeneland1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 6Santa Anita DerbySanta Anita1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 13Arkansas DerbyOaklawn Park1 1/8 Miles100-40-20-10
April 13Lexington StakesKeeneland1 1/16 Miles20-8-4-2


2018-19 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 4-race series is a separate sequence of three races from America’s 35-race “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series. A fourth race has been added this year, with the Japan series now culminating with the 1 1/8-mile Fukuyru on March 31 at Nakayama Racecourse. That final race is worth 40-16-8-4 points to the top four placings.

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st-4th)WINNER
Nov. 24Cattleya ShoTokyo Racecourse1 Mile10-4-2-1Make Happy
Dec. 18Zen-Nippon Nisai YushunKawasaki Racecourse1 Mile10-4-2-1
Feb. 17HyacinthTokyo Racecourse1 Mile30-12-6-3
Mar. 31FukuyruNakayama
Racecourse
1 1/8 Miles40-16-8-4

2018-19 European Road to the Kentucky Derby

The “European Road to the Kentucky Derby”, now in its second year, is a seven race, stand-alone series. The new Cardinal Condition Stakes, to be run April 11 over one mile on Polytrack at England’s Chelmsford City Racecourse, will replace Newcastle’s Burradon as the final race of the seven-race European series. Last year, the invitation to compete in the 2018 Kentucky Derby was awarded through this European series to Gronkowski.

DATERACETRACKDISTANCEPOINTS (1st-4th)WINNER
Sept. 29Royal Lodge StakesNewmarket (GB)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Mohawk (IRE)
Sept. 30Beresford StakesNaas (Ire)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Japan (GB)
Oct. 7Prix Jean-Luc LagardèreChantilly (Fr)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Royal Marine (IRE)
Oct. 27Vertem Futurity TrophyDoncaster (GB)1 Mile (T)10-4-2-1Magna Grecia (IRE)
March 6Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition StakesKempton Park (GB)1 Mile (S)20-8-4-2
March 8Patton StakesDundalk (Ire)1 Mile (S)20-8-4-2
April 11Cardinal Condition StakesChelmsford City (GB)1 Mile (S)30-12-6-3

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