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Road to the Kentucky Derby Series is Back
After a trial season in which things came out exactly right, Churchill Downs Racetrack recently announced the format for the Road to the Kentucky Derby points series to determine which of up to 20 horses will go to the gate for the this year’s Derby, to be held Saturday May 2, 2014. Last year, the first in which Churchill Downs dropped their graded-stakes earnings criteria for starters in favor of a points system, Orb went into the race as the top-points earner, and finished as the winner.
Big races worth more in sliding scale format
Comprised of “Prep Season”, “Champion Season” and “Wild Card” races, the respective events award a sliding scale of points to the top-four finishers in each, and the cumulative total two weeks prior to the Derby is used to determine the 20 entries for the race. Points awarded for the Championship Series races are worth more, with the last seven of those in the three-to-five weeks just prior to the Derby being worth the most. The tie-breaker for two or more horses is results posted in non-restricted stakes races.
Iroquois and Jerome added to points series
Added to the 34-race series for 2014 is the Grade II Jerome Stakes at Aquaduct, New York, which will be run in January. Last year’s winner of the Jerome, Vyjack, started in the Kentucky Derby but finished second-last of 19 starters. The other addition for 2014 is the Grade III Iroquois Stakes. Normally run in October, the Iroquois has been moved to Churchill’s September meet, and will kick off the Road to the Derby series. Last year’s winner, Uncaptured, did not start in the Derby, but did go on to win the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
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