Churchill Downs announced March 11 it will launch the 2013 version of its free "Road to the Roses" online fantasy game with a registration period that runs from March 22-28.
Participants can select a stable of six 3-year-old Thoroughbreds nominated to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Triple Crown races—there's a limit of five stables per person—and earn points for a Top 4 finish in "Kentucky Derby Championship Series" races. More than 24,000 stables participated in last year's "Road to the Roses" Kentucky Derby online fantasy game.
The grand prize for the stable that amasses the highest point total is a package estimated at $5,000 that includes a VIP trip for two to the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), air travel, hotel accommodations and other official Kentucky Derby items. Prizes will be awarded to the Top 25 finishers.
Scoring opportunities for participating stables will begin Saturday, March 30—the start of Leg 2 of the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series" on the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" point system that determines eligibility of horses to compete in America's Greatest Race—and conclude with the 139th running of the Derby on Saturday, May 4.
The six-week, 10-race version of "Road to the Roses" includes seven events with scoring on the Derby eligibility points scale of 100-40-20-10 for their respective top four finishers; two "Wild Card" races with scoring of 20-8-4-2; and the Kentucky Derby, in which 200-80-40-20 will be awarded to the Top 4 finishers:
--March 30 Florida Derby (100-40-20-10)
--March 30 Louisiana Derby (100-40-20-10)
--March 30 UAE Derby (100-40-20-10)
--April 6 Wood Memorial (100-40-20-10)
--April 6 Santa Anita Derby (100-40-20-10)
--April 13 Arkansas Derby (100-40-20-10)
--April 13 Blue Grass (100-40-20-10)
--April 20 Lexington (20-8-4-2)
--April 27 Derby Trial (20-8-4-2)
--May 4 Kentucky Derby (200-80-40-20)
Churchill Downs' TwinSpires.com is the first presenting sponsor for Road to the Roses online game that was first launched in 1999.
"We believe this free fantasy game, structured along the lines of the new 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' points system for Derby eligibility, will intrigue both veteran players, who relish the challenge of building strong and competitive stables, and newcomers, who will enjoy a game format that is somewhat simpler than in previous years," Churchill Downs general manager Ryan Jordan said in a press release.
As in past years, there is a tie-breaking system in place should the contest end with a logjam at the top of the standings. Players will be required to submit their estimate on the official running time of Kentucky Derby 139 to the hundredth of a second without going over the official time.
The registration period for "Road to the Roses" opens at noon (all times Eastern) on Friday, March 22 and is scheduled to conclude at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 28.
Players will sign up online at www.KentuckyDerby.com. Participating players will be required to provide an e-mail address and a username at time of registration.
No changes or additions to stable rosters will be permitted during the six weeks of the "Road to the Roses" competition.
Player standings will be updated at www.KentuckyDerby.com on the day after all races included in the contest.