The EDS "Road to the Roses Fantasy Challenge," a rotisserie-style fantasy game that lets racing fans pick their own stable of Kentucky Derby horses, trainers and jockeys, will go live this Saturday, Feb. 10. The game's top winner will receive a trip to the Kentucky Derby and a $5,000 betting voucher.The game is sponsored by global services company EDS. Now in its third year, the EDS "Road to the Roses Fantasy Challenge" is owned and operated by Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), with promotional support from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Daily Racing Form (DRF). The game can be accessed from any of the three organizations' Web sites -- Churchill Downs, NTRA, and Daily Racing Form.Throughout the game's duration, players will be able to download free past performance lines of horses entered in every Fantasy Challenge race at the Daily Racing Form's Website."The Fantasy Challenge is an exciting way for fans to emulate the experience of owning and managing Kentucky Derby contenders," said Karl Schmitt, CDI's senior vice president, communications. "The game has married our Internet initiative with our premier racing product, the Kentucky Derby, and has been very successful. We have found the 'Fantasy Challenge' has created new fans for our sport and having the NTRA and Daily Racing Form as promotional partners will allow us to attract even more players to the game. In addition, we have upgraded the prize structure to award trips to both this year's Derby and the race's 128th running in 2002 as well as to offer added cash and other prizes."Players can see how their stables compare with those of horseracing experts and media celebrities in the "Beat the Pros" competition. Triple Crown-winning jockey Steve Cauthen, ESPN SportsCenter personality Kenny Mayne and 2000 DRF/NTRA Handicapper of the Year Judy Wagner are just a few of this year's "Beat the Pros" participants."'Beat the Pros' is a popular element of the game because fans can see how they stack up against top sports personalities," said Steve Fugitte, commissioner of the "Road to the Roses Fantasy Challenge."
Fans create their stables by selecting two trainers, two jockeys and 12 horses from the complete list of VISA Triple Crown nominees and amass points based on performance in a series of 30 three-year-old races, starting with the Feb. 17 Fountain of Youth Stakes from Gulfstream Park and culminating with the Kentucky Derby on May 5. For the first time, stables must select "active" horses for each weekend and can add three additional horses in April. The game is free and available to citizens of the United States and Canada, except where restrictions apply.