It’s officially February, which means next month the first of seven 100-point qualifying races for the 2018 Kentucky Derby will take place.
Each year 20 3-year-old horses have the chance to run in the Kentucky Derby. To earn a spot in the starting gate, they must qualify through a series of races at tracks across the globe.
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Kentucky Derby qualifying points are awarded to the top-four finishers in each race. The 20 horses with the most points will earn a starting position for the 144th running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5.
Some qualifying races are most important than others due to points awarded. There are seven major prep races remaining on the schedule, beginning with the Louisiana Derby on March 24.
One hundred Kentucky Derby qualifying points are up for grabs to the winner, with 40 points going to second place, 20 to third and 10 to fourth.
Below is the remaining schedule of major prep races for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
2018 Road to Kentucky Derby: Championship Series Races, Dates, Location, Points
|Date||Race||Distance||Track||Points for 1st||2nd||3rd||4th|
|3/3/18||Fountain of Youth||1 1/16M||Gulfstream||50||20||10||5|
|3/10/18||Tampa Bay Derby||1 1/16M||Tampa Bay Downs||50||20||10||5|
|3/10/18||San Felipe||1 1/16M||Santa Anita||50||20||10||5|
|3/17/18||Spiral||1 1/8M||Turfway Park||20||8||4||2|
|3/24/18||Louisiana Derby||1 1/8M||Fair Grounds||100||40||20||10|
|3/25/18||Sunland Derby||1 1/8M||Sunland Park||50||20||10||5|
|3/31/18||UAE Derby||1 3/16M||Meydan||100||40||20||10|
|3/31/18||Florida Derby||1 1/8M||Gulfstream||100||40||20||10|
|4/7/18||Wood Memorial||1 1/8M||Aqueduct||100||40||20||10|
|4/7/18||Blue Grass||1 1/8M||Keeneland||100||40||20||10|
|4/7/18||Santa Anita Derby||1 1/8M||Santa Anita||100||40||20||10|
|4/14/18||Arkansas Derby||1 1/8M||Oaklawn Park||100||40||20||10|
New York Racing Association officials announced recently that the presence of any horse in the Wood Memorial field with a previous Grade 1 or Group 1 victory would automatically increase the Wood Memorial purse from $750,000 to $1 million if the qualifying horse starts in the race.
If the qualifying horse starts then the winner of the Wood Memorial would receive $590,000 in addition to the 100 qualifying points, the runner-up would take home $190,000 and third place would be worth $90,000.
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