Road to the Kentucky Derby Schedule for 2021-2022

Road to the Kentucky Derby

The official “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” will begin Saturday, Sept. 18. (Photo credit: Churchill Downs).

The official “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve” will begin Saturday, Sept. 18 at the home of America’s greatest race as Churchill Downs stages the $300,000 Iroquois (Grade III) for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on opening weekend of its 12-day September Meet.

The “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” a series of select races that award a sliding scale of points to the Top 4 finishers, has determined preference for its 20-horse Kentucky Derby (GI) field since 2013. The 1 ¼-mile classic for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will be run at the historic Louisville, Ky. racetrack for the 148th consecutive year on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

As was the case this year, the 2022 Kentucky Derby will be run without the permitted use of Furosemide (often referred to by the brand name, Lasix). Points will only be awarded to horses who compete on race day without Lasix in Road to the Kentucky Derby races.

Effective Sept. 30, 2021, points from any race in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will not be awarded to any horse trained by any individual who is suspended from racing in the 2022 Kentucky Derby 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” race occurring after Sept. 30, 2021, the points associated with that finish position will be vacated.

Points Will Not Be Awarded to Any Horse Trained by an Individual Suspended from 2022 Derby

The same rules apply for the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series, which awards points to fillies to qualify for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, May 6, 2022.

Road Now Totals 37 Races

The total number of races in the primary “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series has increased by one to 37. The inaugural $100,000 Gun Runner, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds at Fair Grounds on Sunday, Dec. 26, has been added to the “Prep Season” and is worth 10-4-2-1 to the top four placings.

Additionally, the new $100,000 Untapable, a one mile and 70-yard race for 2-year-old fillies that same race day at Fair Grounds, has been added to the Oaks series, which features a total of 32 races.

This is the 10th consecutive 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 20 of the last 23 years and every year from 2004-19.

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The Iroquois, which will be run under the lights as part of Churchill Downs’ “Downs After Dark” nighttime racing card on Sept. 18, will again kick off the 21-race “Prep Season,” which features foundation-building races over a minimum of one mile between mid-September and mid-February. Points awarded during the “Prep Season” are worth 10-4-2-1 to the top four placings, respectively, except for the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Del Mar, which is worth twice as much (20-8-4-2).

In addition to the Iroquois and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, “Prep Season” races include the American Pharoah (Santa Anita), Champagne (Belmont), Breeders’ Futurity (Keeneland), Kentucky Jockey Club (Churchill Downs), Remsen (Aqueduct), Springboard Mile (Remington Park), Los Alamitos Futurity (Los Alamitos), Gun Runner (Fair Grounds), Smarty Jones (Oaklawn Park), Jerome (Aqueduct), Sham (Santa Anita), Lecomte (Fair Grounds), Southwest (Oaklawn Park), Holy Bull (Gulfstream Park), Robert B. Lewis (Santa Anita), Sam F. Davis (Tampa Bay Downs), Withers (Aqueduct), El Camino Real Derby (Golden Gate) and John Battaglia Memorial (Turfway Park).

Championship Series

The 16-race “Championship Series” comprise springboard events that often bring the 3-year-old picture into sharper focus. First leg races offer 50-20-10-5 points to the Top 4 finishers: the Risen Star (Fair Grounds), Rebel (Oaklawn Park), Fountain of Youth (Gulfstream Park), Gotham (Aqueduct), Tampa Bay Derby (Tampa Bay Downs), San Felipe (Santa Anita) and Sunland Derby (Sunland Park). The most meaningful races are worth 100-40-20-10: the UAE Derby (Meydan Racecouse), Louisiana Derby (Fair Grounds), Florida Derby (Gulfstream Park), Arkansas Derby (Oaklawn Park), Jeff Ruby Steaks (Turfway Park), Wood Memorial (Aqueduct), Blue Grass (Keeneland) and Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita). Additionally, the Lexington (Keeneland) offers points on a scale of 20-8-4-2 to the first four placings.

In addition to the primary “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 sixth-year “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” series again features four races: Cattleya (10-4-2-1 at Tokyo), Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun (20-8-4-2 at Kawasaki), Hyacinth (30-12-6-3 at Tokyo) and Fukuryu (40-16-8-4 at Nakayama).

The fifth-year “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” again showcases seven races: the Juddmonte Royal Lodge (10-4-2-1 at Newmarket), Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford (10-4-2-1 at Curragh), Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (10-4-2-1 at Longchamp), Vertem Futurity Trophy (10-4-2-1 at Doncaster), Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes (20-8-4-2 at Kempton Park), Patton Stakes (20-8-4-2 at Dundalk) and Cardinal Condition Stakes (30-12-6-3 at Chelmsford City).

View 2021-22 Road to the Kentucky Derby Schedule

View 2021-22 Road to the Kentucky Oaks Schedule

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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