2023-24 Road to the Kentucky Derby Schedule Announced

September 8, 2023

Churchill Downs Press Release/Edited

LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Churchill Downs Racetrack officials have made slight modifications to the upcoming Road to the Kentucky Derby, the series of select races that will determine the preference list for the 150th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Saturday, May 4, 2024.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby, which debuted in 2013, annually awards a sliding scale of points to the top five finishing positions in select qualifying races. At the conclusion of the series, the leaderboard will determine the preference list for entries into the 20-horse Kentucky Derby – the 1 ¼-mile classic for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds annually held on the first Saturday in May at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Second-place points in all qualifying races have been increased to create added separation from second- and third-place finishers. Additionally, third- and fourth-place points in races that award 100 points to winner have been decreased.

Series RacesLast YearThis Year
Early Prep Season10-4-3-2-110-5-3-2-1
Breeders’ Cup30-12-9-6-330-15-9-6-3
Late Prep Season20-8-6-4-220-10-6-4-2
Early Championship Series50-20-15-10-550-25-15-10-5
Late Championship Series100-40-30-20-10100-50-25-15-10

In other changes:

  • The $200,000 Street Sense (GIII) to be run at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 29 at Churchill Downs has been added to the Early Prep Season;
  • The Sunland Derby at Sunland Park has been decreased in value from 50-20-15-10-5 in 2023 to 20-10-6-4-2 in 2024.

This is the 12th 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 22 of the last 25 years.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby will begin Saturday, Sept. 16 at the home of America’s greatest race as Churchill Downs stages the 42nd running of the $300,000 Iroquois (Grade III) for 2-year-olds at one mile 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.

Similar 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 150th Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, May 3, 2024:

  • The $200,000 Rags to Riches to be run at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 29 at Churchill Downs has been added to the Early Prep Season;
  • The Sunland Park Oaks at Sunland Park has been decreased in value from 50-20-15-10-5 in 2023 to 20-10-6-4-2 in 2024; and
  • The seven-furlong Beaumont at Keeneland has been removed from the Championship Series.

2023-24 ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY SCHEDULE: 37 RACES

The Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve is a series of races that awards points to the Top 5 finishers in each race. The top 18 point earners will earn a spot in the starting gate for the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I), which is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, 2024. One invitation will be extended to the top point earners in the Europe Road to the Kentucky presented by Woodford Reserve and one invitation will be extended to the top point earners in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975. At least 20 horses have entered the 1 ¼-mile race for 3-year-olds in 22 of the last 25 years.

Kentucky Derby Prep Season

DateRaceRacetrackGradePurseDistance1st2nd3rd4th5th
Sept. 16, 2023IroquoisChurchill DownsIII$300,0001 M105321
Oct. 7, 2023ChampagneAqueductI$500,0001 M105321
Oct. 7, 2023Breeders’ FuturityKeenelandI$600,0001 1/16 M105321
Oct. 7, 2023American PharoahSanta AnitaI$300,0001 1/16 M105321
Oct. 29, 2023Street SenseChurchill DownsIII$200,0001 1/16 M105321
Nov. 3, 2023Breeders’ Cup JuvenileSanta AnitaI$2,000,0001 1/16 M3015963
Nov. 25, 2023Kentucky Jockey ClubChurchill DownsII$400,0001 1/16 M105321
Dec. 2, 2023RemsenAqueductII$250,0001 1/8 M105321
*Dec. 9, 2023Los Alamitos FuturityLos AlamitosII*$200,0001 1/16 M105321
Dec. 15, 2023Springboard MileRemington Park $300,0001 M105321
Dec. 23, 2023Gun RunnerFair Grounds $100,0001 1/16 M105321
Jan. 1, 2024Smarty JonesOaklawn Park $300,0001 1/16 M105321
*Jan. 6, 2024JeromeAqueduct *$150,0001 M105321
*Jan. 7, 2024ShamSanta AnitaIII*$100,0001 M105321
Jan. 20, 2024LecomteFair GroundsIII$200,0001 1/16 M2010642
Jan. 27, 2024SouthwestOaklawn ParkIII$800,0001 1/16 M2010642
*Feb. 3, 2024Holy BullGulfstream ParkIII*$250,0001 1/16 M2010642
*Feb. 3, 2024Robert B. LewisSanta AnitaIII*$200,0001 1/16 M2010642
*Feb. 10, 2024WithersAqueductIII*$250,0001 1/8 M2010642
Feb. 10, 2024Sam F. DavisTampa Bay DownsIII$250,0001 1/16 M2010642
*March 2, 2024John Battaglia MemorialTurfway Park *$150,0001 1/16 M (AW)2010642

Kentucky Derby Championship Series

Feb. 17, 2024Risen StarFair GroundsII$400,0001 1/8 M502515105
Feb, 18, 2024Sunland DerbySunland ParkIII*$600,000*1 1/8 M2010642
Feb. 24, 2024RebelOaklawn ParkII$1,250,0001 1/16 M502515105
*March 2, 2024GothamAqueductIII*$300,0001 M502515105
*March 2, 2024San FelipeSanta AnitaII*$400,0001 1/16 M502515105
*March 2, 2024Fountain of YouthGulfstream ParkII*$400,0001 1/16 M502515105
March 9, 2024Tampa Bay DerbyTampa Bay DownsII$400,0001 1/16 M502515105
*March 23, 2024Jeff Ruby SteaksTurfway ParkIII*$700,0001 1/8 M (AW)10050251510
March 23, 2024Louisiana DerbyFair GroundsII$1,000,0001 3/16 M10050251510
March 30, 2024UAE DerbyMeydan RacecourseII*$1,000,0001 3/16 M10050251510
*March 30, 2024Florida DerbyGulfstream ParkI*$1,000,0001 1/8 M10050251510
March 30, 2024Arkansas DerbyOaklawn ParkI$1,500,0001 1/8 M10050251510
*April 6, 2024Wood MemorialAqueductII*$750,0001 1/8 M10050251510
*April 6, 2024Blue GrassKeenelandI*$1,000,0001 1/8 M10050251510
*April 6, 2024Santa Anita DerbySanta AnitaI*$750,0001 1/8 M10050251510
*April 13, 2024LexingtonKeenelandIII*$400,0001 1/16 M2010642
* = Race dates and distances to be announced by host track; date based on recent historical placement. … Schedule subject to change. … (AW) = Synthetic.

2023-24 EUROPEAN ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY SCHEDULE: 7 RACES

First staged in 2018, the “European Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” is a stand-alone series that is separate from America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” series. Only one invitation to compete in the Kentucky Derby will be extended with preference given to the horses with the most points in the “European Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” series. No invitation will be extended beyond the Top 4 point earners but if a horse also qualifies through America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” series, the invite will be extended to the next eligible horse. If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreakers are earnings in non-restricted stakes races through April 13, 2024 followed by lifetime earnings through April 13, 2024. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lot (aka a “shake”). Any points earned in America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will be credited to the horse’s point total in the “European Road to the Kentucky Derby.” Since 1967, there have been 53 horses who previously raced outside North America and ran in the Kentucky Derby. Venezuela’s Canonero II won the 1971 Derby and Puerto Rico’s Bold Forbes won the Derby in 1976. Bold Arrangement (GB), who was campaigned in Great Britain and France, finished second to Ferdinand in the 1986 renewal.

DateRaceRacetrackGradePurseDistance1st2nd3rd4th5th
Sept. 23, 2023Alan Smurfit Memorial BeresfordCurragh (IRE)II$127,0001 M (T)105321
Sept. 30, 2023Juddmonte Royal LodgeNewmarket (GB)II$150,0001 M (T)105321
Oct. 1, 2023Qatar Prix Jean-Luc LagardèreLongchamp (FR)I$425,0007 F (T)105321
Oct. 28, 2023Vertem Futurity TrophyDoncaster (GB)I$240,0001 M (T)105321
*March 1, 2024PattonDundalk (IRE) *$40,0001 M (AW)2010642
*March 13, 2024Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition StakesKempton (GB) *$72,0001 M (AW)2010642
*March 30, 2024Cardinal Condition StakesChelmsford City(GB) *$121,0001 M (AW)3015963
* = Race dates and distances to be announced by host track; date based on recent historical placement. … Schedule subject to change. … (T) = Turf … (AW) = Synthetic.

2023-24 JAPAN ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY SCHEDULE: 4 RACES

First staged in 2017, the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” is a stand-alone series that is separate from America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” series. Only one invitation to compete in the Kentucky Derby will be extended with preference given to the horses with the most points in the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” series. If a horse also qualifies through America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” series, an additional invite could be extended. If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker is lifetime earnings through April 13, 2024. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lot (aka a “shake”). Any points earned in America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will be credited to the horse’s point total in the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.” Six horses based in Japan have run in the Kentucky Derby: Ski Captain (14th, 1995); Lani (9th, 2016); Master Fencer (JPN) (6th, 2019); Crown Pride (JPN) (13th in 2022); Derma Sotogake (JPN) (6th in 2023); and Mandarin Hero (JPN) (12th in 2023).

DateRaceRacetrackGradePurseDistance1st2nd3rd4th5th
Nov. 25, 2023CattleyaTokyo (JRA) *$220,0001 M105321
Dec. 13, 2023Zen-NipponNisai YushunKawasaki (NAR) *$527,0001 M2010642
*Feb. 18, 2024HyacinthTokyo (JRA) *$274,0001 M3015963
*March 23, 2024FukuryuNakayama (JRA) *$265,0001 1/8 M40201284
* = Race dates and distances to be announced by host track; date based on recent historical placement. … Schedule subject to change.

2023-24 ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY OAKS SCHEDULE: 32 RACES

The Road to the Kentucky Oaks is a series that awards points to the Top 5 finishers in each race. The Top 14 point earners nominated to the Longines Kentucky Oaks will earn a spot in the starting gate for the 150th running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), which is scheduled for Friday, May 3, 2024. The 1 1/8-mile Oaks is the nation’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies. At least 14 horses have entered the race in eight of the last nine years (a rescheduled September 2020 in the lone exception).

DateRaceRacetrackGradePurseDistance1st2nd3rd4th5th
Sept. 16, 2023PocahontasChurchill DownsIII$300,0001 M105321
Oct. 6, 2023AlcibiadesKeenelandI$600,0001 1/16 M105321
Oct. 7, 2023FrizetteAqueductI$400,0001 M105321
Oct. 7, 2023ChandelierSanta AnitaII$200,0001 1/16 M105321
Oct. 29, 2023Rags to RichesChurchill Downs $200,0001 1/16 M105321
Nov. 3, 2023Breeders’ Cup Juv. FilliesSanta AnitaI$2,000,0001 1/16 M3015963
Nov. 25, 2023Golden RodChurchill DownsII$400,0001 1/16 M105321
Dec. 2, 2023DemoiselleAqueductII$250,0001 1/8 M105321
*Dec. 9, 2023StarletLos AlamitosI*$300,0001 1/16 M105321
Dec. 23, 2023UntapableFair Grounds $100,0001 M 70 Y105321
*Jan. 7, 2024Santa YnezSanta AnitaII*$200,0007 F105321
*Jan. 13, 2024BusandaAqueduct *$100,0001 1/8 M2010642
Jan. 20, 2024SilverbulletdayFair GroundsII$150,0001 M 70 Y2010642
Jan. 27, 2024Martha WashingtonOaklawn Park $250,0001 1/16 M2010642
*Jan. 27, 2024Las VirgenesSanta AnitaIII*$200,0001 M2010642
*Feb. 3, 2024Forward GalGulfstream ParkIII*$125,0007 F2010642
Feb. 10, 2024SuncoastTampa Bay Downs $150,0001 M 40 Y2010642
*March 2, 2024Cincinnati TrophyTurfway Park *$150,0001 M (AW)2010642

Championship Series

*Feb. 16, 2024UAE OaksMeydan RacecourseIII*$150,0001 3/16 M502515105
Feb. 17, 2024Rachel AlexandraFair GroundsII$300,0001 1/16 M502515105
Feb. 18, 2024Sunland Park OaksSunland Park *$300,0001 1/16 M2010642
Feb. 24, 2024HoneybeeOaklawn ParkIII$400,0001 1/16 M502515105
*March 2, 2024Davona DaleGulfstream ParkII*$200,0001 M502515105
*March 2, 2024BusherAqueduct *$200,0001 M502515105
*March 3, 2024Santa YsabelSanta AnitaIII*$100,0001 1/16 M502515105
March 23, 2024Fair Grounds OaksFair GroundsII$400,0001 1/16 M10050251510
*March 23, 2024Bourbonette OaksTurfway Park *$300,0001 1/16 M (AW)502515105
*March 30, 2024Gulfstream Park OaksGulfstream ParkII*$250,0001 1/16 M10050251510
March 30, 2024FantasyOaklawn ParkIII$750,0001 1/16 M10050251510
*April 5, 2024AshlandKeenelandI*$600,0001 1/16 M10050251510
*April 6, 2024GazelleAqueductIII*$250,0001 1/8 M10050251510
*April 6, 2024Santa Anita OaksSanta AnitaII*$400,0001 1/16 M10050251510
* = Race dates and distances to be announced by host track; date based on recent historical placement. … Schedule subject to change. … (AW) = Synthetic.

RTKD AND RTKO RULES

TIEBREAKERS –

  • America’s Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks: If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker is earnings in non-restricted stakes races. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lifetime earnings. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lot (aka a “shake”). 
  • European Road to the Kentucky Derby: If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker is earnings in non-restricted stakes races through April 13, 2024. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lifetime earnings through April 13, 2024. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lot (aka a “shake”). Any points earned in America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will be credited to the horse’s point total in the “European Road to the Kentucky Derby.”
  • Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby: If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker is lifetime earnings through April 13, 2024. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lot (aka a “shake”). Any points earned in America’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will be credited to the horse’s point total in the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.”

FILLIES – If a filly wants to run in the Kentucky Derby she can, but she’ll have to earn her way into the field by accumulating points against open company just like the rest of the colts and geldings. Additionally, any points earned by a filly in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” series against open company will be credited to her point total in the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series. If a filly garners an invitation to the Kentucky Derby via the “European Road to the Kentucky” or “Japan Road to the Kentucky,” ownership may opt to instead use that invitation to the Kentucky Oaks.

DEAD-HEATS – In the event of a dead-heat (tie) those horses will divide equally the points they would have received jointly had one beaten the other.

SPLIT DIVISIONS – In the event a race is split into divisions and each division awards its originally published purse money, points will be awarded as scheduled for each division. If the originally published purse is reduced for each division, points will be reduced proportionally as well.

LASIX – Points will only be awarded to horses who compete on race day without Furosemide (often referred to by the brand name, Lasix) in Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks races. Any points earned by horses with Lasix on race day will be vacated. The 2021 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks marked the first year those races were run without the permitted use of Lasix.

MEDICATION VIOLATIONS – If the connections of a horse have been notified by a regulatory body about a medication violation from participation in a Road to the Kentucky Derby or Road to the Kentucky Oaks race, and that violation would result in disqualification, any accrued points from the race will be revoked until the matter reaches a legal conclusion. Accrued points will be reinstated if the matter is legally overturned prior to the running of the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks. 

DERBY/OAKS TRAINER SUSPENSION – Points from any race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks will not be awarded to any horse trained by any individual who is suspended from racing in the 2024 Kentucky Derby or 2024 Kentucky Oaks or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised, or advised by a suspended trainer. Should a horse trained by a suspended trainer, or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised, or advised by a suspended trainer, finish in a position that would have earned points in a Road to the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks race, the points associated with that finish position will be vacated.

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