Churchill Downs officials announced Aug. 9 that 34 races will be included in the 2013-14 "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series. It will include 16 major events that comprise the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series" over the 10 weeks that precede the $2 million Derby to be run May 3, 2014.
For the second year in a row, a tiered point system in select races will determine who qualifies for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). The total number of races in the series has been reduced by two.
Added were Churchill Downs' Iroquois Stakes (gr. III), a 1 1/16-mile race that will be run this September for 2-year-olds and the Jerome Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack, run at 1 mile and 70 yards in early January. Removed from the Derby series were the Royal Lodge Stakes from Newmarket and the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) from Betfair Hollywood Park for juveniles, and the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs and Churchill Downs' own Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III). The Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) from Keeneland has seen its points value lowered from 20 total points to 10.
Notably, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) remains with only 10 points as part of the "Prep Season," and the Illinois Derby (gr. III), which was not part of the series last year, was omitted again.
A year ago, Churchill Downs abandoned the 27-year-old graded stakes earnings criteria and proactively adopted a tiered point system to determine which horses would have preference for the Kentucky Derby. Now a sliding scale of points is awarded to the top four finishers in select races, and at the series' end, the top 20 point earners nominated to the Triple Crown get first crack to start in the Derby.
"Our team continues to believe that contraction is best for the 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' to flourish," said Churchill Downs racetrack president Kevin Flanery. "Many of our internal goals were met at the conclusion of this year's inaugural series. We established a clear and understandable path to the Derby; saw increased fan interest and wagering; created compelling drama; and ensured that our starting gate was filled with top 3-year-olds that were best prepared to go a mile-and-a-quarter on the first Saturday in May. With a 'less-is-more' approach and continued support from stakeholders and our racetrack partners, we hope to continue to move the ball forward in 2013-14."
As was the case in 2013, the tiebreaker when two or more horses have the same number of points will be earnings in non-restricted stakes races.
2013-14 ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY
34 Races (16 Championship Series Races) – Note: Race dates and distances are subject to change by host track.
|Kentucky Derby Prep Season|
|Sept. 7||Iroquois||Churchill Downs||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Sept. 28||FrontRunner||Santa Anita||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Oct. 5||Champagne||Belmont Park||1 Mile||10||4||2||1|
|Oct. 5||Breeders’ Futurity||Keeneland||1 1/16 Miles (S)||10||4||2||1|
|Oct. 6||Grey||Woodbine||1 1/16 Miles (S)||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 2||Breeders’ Cup Juvenile||Santa Anita||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 16||Delta Downs Jackpot||Delta Downs||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 30||Remsen||Aqueduct||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 30||Kentucky Jockey Club||Churchill Downs||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 4||Jerome||Aqueduct||1 Mile 70 Yards||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 4||Sham||Santa Anita||1 Mile||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 18||Lecomte||Fair Grounds||1 Mile 70 Yards||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 20||Smarty Jones||Oaklawn Park||1 Mile||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 25||Holy Bull||Gulfstream Park||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Feb. 1||Robert B. Lewis||Santa Anita||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Feb. 1||Withers||Aqueduct||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Feb. 15||El Camino Real Derby||Golden Gate||1 1/8 Miles (S)||10||4||2||1|
|Feb. 17||Southwest||Oaklawn Park||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Kentucky Derby Championship Series|
|Feb. 22||Fountain of Youth||Gulfstream Park||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|Feb. 22||Risen Star||Fair Grounds||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 1||Gotham||Aqueduct||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 8||Tampa Bay Derby||Tampa Bay Downs||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 8||San Felipe||Santa Anita||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 15||Rebel||Oaklawn Park||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 22||Spiral||Turfway Park||1 1/8 Miles (S)||50||20||10||5|
|March 23||Sunland Derby||Sunland Park||1 1/8 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 29||Florida Derby||Gulfstream Park||1 1/8 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|March 29||Louisiana Derby||Fair Grounds||1 1/8 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|March 29||UAE Derby||Meydan Racecourse||1 3/16 Miles (S)||100||40||20||10|
|April 5||Wood Memorial||Aqueduct||1 1/8 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|April 5||Santa Anita Derby||Santa Anita||1 1/8 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|April 12||Arkansas Derby||Oaklawn Park||1 1/8 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|April 12||Blue Grass||Keeneland||1 1/8 Miles (S)||100||40||20||10|
|April 19||Lexington||Keeneland||1 1/16 Miles (S)||10||4||2||1|
|Date||Race||Racetrack||Distance||Top 4 Points||Change|
|Sept. 7||Iroquois||Churchill Downs||1 1/16 Miles||10-4-2-1||Added|
|Sept. 28||Royal Lodge||Newmarket||1 Mile (T)||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|Dec. 14||CashCall Futurity||Betfair Hollywood Park||1 1/16 Miles (S)||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|Jan. 4||Jerome||Aqueduct||1 Mile 70 Yards||10-4-2-1||Added|
|Feb. 1||Sam F. Davis||Tampa Bay Downs||1 1/16 Miles||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|April 19||Lexington||Keeneland||1 1/16 Miles (S)||10-4-2-1||Formerly 20-8-4-2|
|April 26||Derby Trial||Churchill Downs||1 Mile||0-0-0-0||Removed (20-8-4-2)|
"Prep Season" races award 10 points to the winner, 4 to the runner-up, 2 to third and 1 to fourth. Point values escalate for the "Championship Series," which is comprised of the most meaningful springboard events within the 10-week run up to the Derby. Each race in the first leg of the "Championship Series" between Feb. 22-March 23 is worth 50 points to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to third and 5 to fourth. The seven lucrative races staged three-to-five weeks ahead of the Derby offer points worth twice as much as the first leg: 100 to first, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth.
As a result, the winners of races in the first leg and the top two finishers of second leg races have the upper hand, and horses that earned points during the "Prep Season" could be in the mix with top four placings. Horses on the "bubble" looking to increase their point totals have the option of running in the Lexington, which serves as a "wild card" race.
A similar series remains in place for the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks," the Derby's $1 million companion event for 3-year-old fillies on May 2, 2014. The total number of races in the Oaks (gr. I) series has been reduced from 34 to 29 races (see chart):
2013-14 ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY OAKS
29 Races (14 Championship Series Races) – Note: Race dates and distances are subject to change by host track.
|Kentucky Oaks Prep Season|
|Sept. 7||Pocahontas||Churchill Downs||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Sept. 28||Chandelier||Santa Anita||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Oct. 5||Frizette||Belmont Park||1 Mile||10||4||2||1|
|Oct. 5||Mazarine||Woodbine||1 1/16 Miles (S)||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 1||Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies||Santa Anita||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 16||Delta Downs Princess||Delta Downs||1 Mile||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 30||Demoiselle||Aqueduct||1 1/8 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Nov. 30||Golden Rod||Churchill Downs||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 4||Busanda||Aqueduct||1 Mile 70 Yards||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 18||Silverbulletday||Fair Grounds||1 Mile 70 Yards||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 20||Santa Ynez||Santa Anita||6.5 Furlongs||10||4||2||1|
|Jan. 25||Forward Gal||Gulfstream Park||7 Furlongs||10||4||2||1|
|Feb. 1||Busher||Aqueduct||1 1/16 Miles||10||4||2||1|
|Feb. 8||Martha Washington||Oaklawn Park||1 Mile||10||4||2||1|
|Kentucky Oaks Championship Series|
|Feb. 22||Davona Dale||Gulfstream Park||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|Feb. 22||Rachel Alexandra||Fair Grounds||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|Feb. 27||UAE Oaks||Meydan Racecourse||1 3/16 Miles (S)||50||20||10||5|
|March 1||Las Virgenes||Santa Anita||1 Mile||50||20||10||5|
|March 8||Honeybee||Oaklawn Park||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 22||Bourbonette Oaks||Turfway Park||1 Mile (S)||50||20||10||5|
|March 23||Sunland Park Oaks||Sunland Park||1 1/16 Miles||50||20||10||5|
|March 29||Fair Grounds Oaks||Fair Grounds||1 1/16 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|March 29||Gulfstream Park||Gulfstream Park||1 1/8 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|April 5||Ashland||Keeneland||1 1/16 Miles (S)||100||40||20||10|
|April 5||Santa Anita Oaks||Santa Anita||1 1/16 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|April 5||Gazelle||Aqueduct||1 1/8 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|April 9||Fantasy||Oaklawn Park||1 1/16 Miles||100||40||20||10|
|April 13||Beaumont||Keeneland||7 Furlongs (S)||10||4||2||1|
|Date||Race||Racetrack||Distance||Top 4 Points||Change|
|Sept. 27||Fillies’ Mile||Newmarket||1 Mile (T)||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|Dec. 7||Hollywood Starlet||Betfair Hollywood Park||1 1/16 Miles (S)||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|Jan. 1||Old Hat||Gulfstream Park||6 Furlongs||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|Feb. 1||Busher||Aqueduct||1 1/16 Miles||10-4-2-1||Added|
|Feb. 6||UAE 1,000 Guineas||Meydan||1 Mile (S)||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|Feb. 8||California Oaks||Golden Gate||1 1/16 Miles (S)||0-0-0-0||Removed (10-4-2-1)|
|March 15||Cicada||Aqueduct||6 Furlongs||0-0-0-0||Removed (50-20-10-5)|
|April 13||Beaumont||Keeneland||7 Furlongs (S)||10-4-2-1||Formerly 20-8-4-2|
Fillies are not excluded from running in the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, but they must accrue points against open company in series races just like the rest of the colts and geldings in order to qualify. Any points earned by a Triple Crown-nominated filly in a "Road to the Kentucky Derby" race will be credited to her point total in the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" series but not vice-versa.