Road To The Kentucky Derby 2023: Points Will Be Awarded To Top 5 Finishing Positions - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Road To The Kentucky Derby 2023: Points Will Be Awarded To Top 5 Finishing Positions

Churchill Downs Racetrack officials have made slight modifications to the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. Points will now be awarded to the Top 5 finishing positions in qualifying races, and the significance of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and select races traditionally run in late January have been increased.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series of select races that award a sliding scale of points to the top finishing positions, has determined preference for its 20-horse Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade 1) field since 2013. The 1 ¼-mile classic for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will be run at the historic Louisville, Ky. racetrack for the 149th consecutive year on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

The expansion of points awarded in qualifying races has been implemented to grow “Derby Fever” for more horses and ownership groups, which could potentially increase field size in Kentucky Derby Championship Series races in advance of the Derby.

Most Kentucky Derby Prep Season races will now award points on a sliding scale of 10-4-3-2-1. Previously, those races had been worth 10-4-2-1 since the inaugural qualifying points system was instituted for the 2013 Kentucky Derby.

Points awarded in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, which will be run this year at Keeneland on Nov. 4, will be increased from 20-8-4-2 to 30-12-9-6-3 in order to differentiate what has historically been a high quality Grade 1 race from others during the Prep Season.

Also, select Prep Season races that traditionally serve as steppingstones to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series have been elevated from 10-4-2-1 to 20-8-6-4-2 in an effort to increase the importance and awareness of these races and to incentivize horses to potentially begin their 3-year-old campaigns earlier in the season.

The elevated Prep Season races are the Lecomte (Fair Grounds), Southwest (Oaklawn Park), Withers (Aqueduct), Holy Bull (Gulfstream Park), Robert B. Lewis (Santa Anita), Sam F. Davis (Tampa Bay Downs) and John Battaglia Memorial (Turfway Park).

“We believe these modifications adhere to and amplify our goal of assembling the finest group of 3-year-olds in the starting gate for a race at the classic distance of 1 ¼ miles on the first Saturday in May,” said Mike Ziegler, Vice President and General Manager for Churchill Downs Racetrack.

This is the 11th straight year that Churchill Downs has used a point system to determine entrants for its famed Kentucky Derby. At least 20 horses have entered the “Run for the Roses” in 21 of the last 24 years.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby will begin Saturday at the home of America's greatest race as Churchill Downs stages the 41st running of the $300,000 Iroquois (Grade 3) for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on opening weekend of its 14-day September Meet.

In addition to the primary 37-race Road to the Kentucky Derby series, there are two separate series that each carve out one spot for a potential horse from Europe and Japan.

The same changes made to the Road to the Kentucky Derby have been made to the 32-race Road to the Kentucky Oaks series, which awards points to fillies to qualify for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, May 5, 2023.

Kentucky Derby Prep Season

Date Race Racetrack Grade Purse Distance 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Sept. 17, 2022 Iroquois Churchill Downs III $300,000 1 1/16 M 10 4 3 2 1
Oct. 1, 2022 Champagne Aqueduct I $500,000 1 M 10 4 3 2 1
Oct. 8, 2022 Breeders' Futurity Keeneland I $600,000 1 1/16 M 10 4 3 2 1
Oct. 8, 2022 American Pharoah Santa Anita I $300,000 1 1/16 M 10 4 3 2 1
Nov. 4, 2022 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Keeneland I $2,000,000 1 1/16 M 30 12 9 6 3
Nov. 26, 2022 Kentucky Jockey Club Churchill Downs II $400,000 1 1/16 M 10 4 3 2 1
*Dec. 3, 2022 Remsen Aqueduct II *$250,000 1 1/8 M 10 4 3 2 1
*Dec. 10, 2022 Los Alamitos Futurity Los Alamitos II *$300,000 1 1/16 M 10 4 3 2 1
Dec. 17, 2022 Springboard Mile Remington Park   $400,000 1 M 10 4 3 2 1
*Dec. 26, 2022 Gun Runner Fair Grounds   *$100,000 1 1/16 M 10 4 3 2 1
*Jan. 1, 2023 Jerome Aqueduct   *$150,000 1 M 10 4 3 2 1
Jan. 1, 2023 Smarty Jones Oaklawn Park   $250,000 1 M 10 4 3 2 1
Jan. 8, 2023 Sham Santa Anita III $100,000 1 M 10 4 3 2 1
*Jan. 21, 2023 Lecomte Fair Grounds III *$200,000 1 1/16 M 20 8 6 4 2
Jan. 28, 2023 Southwest Oaklawn Park III $750,000 1 1/16 M 20 8 6 4 2
*Feb. 4, 2023 Withers Aqueduct III *$250,000 1 1/8 M 20 8 6 4 2
*Feb. 4, 2023 Holy Bull Gulfstream Park III *$250,000 1 1/16 M 20 8 6 4 2
Feb. 4, 2023 Robert B. Lewis Santa Anita III $200,000 1 1/16 M 20 8 6 4 2
*Feb. 11, 2023 Sam F. Davis Tampa Bay Downs III *$250,000 1 1/16 M 20 8 6 4 2
*Feb. 11, 2023 El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate   *$100,000 1 1/8 M (AW) 10 4 3 2 1
*Feb. 25, 2023 John Battaglia Memorial Turfway Park   *$125,000 1 1/16 M (AW) 20 8 6 4 2

Kentucky Derby Championship Series

*Feb. 18, 2023 Risen Star Fair Grounds II *$400,000 1 1/8 M 50 20 15 10 5
Feb. 25, 2023 Rebel Oaklawn Park II $1,000,000 1 1/16 M 50 20 15 10 5
*March 4, 2023 Gotham Aqueduct III *$300,000 1 M 50 20 15 10 5
March 4, 2023 San Felipe Santa Anita II $400,000 1 1/16 M 50 20 15 10 5
*March 4, 2023 Fountain of Youth Gulfstream Park II *$400,000 1 1/16 M 50 20 15 10 5
*March 11, 2023 Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs II *$400,000 1 1/16 M 50 20 15 10 5
*March 25, 2023 UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse II *$1,000,000 1 3/16 M 100 40 30 20 10
*March 25, 2023 Jeff Ruby Steaks Turfway Park III *$600,000 1 1/8 M (AW) 100 40 30 20 10
*March 25, 2023 Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds II *$1,000,000 1 3/16 M 100 40 30 20 10
*March 26, 2023 Sunland Derby Sunland Park III *$500,000 1 1/8 M 50 20 15 10 5
*April 1, 2023 Florida Derby Gulfstream Park I *$1,000,000 1 1/8 M 100 40 30 20 10
April 1, 2023 Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park I $1,250,000 1 1/8 M 100 40 30 20 10
*April 8, 2023 Wood Memorial Aqueduct II *$750,000 1 1/8 M 100 40 30 20 10
*April 8, 2023 Blue Grass Keeneland I *$1,000,000 1 1/8 M 100 40 30 20 10
April 8, 2023 Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita I $750,000 1 1/8 M 100 40 30 20 10
*April 15, 2023 Lexington Keeneland III *$400,000 1 1/16 M 20 8 6 4 2

* = Race dates and distances to be announced by host track; date based on recent historical placement. … Schedule subject to change. … (AW) = Synthetic.

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