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  TOP 3 YEAR OLD STAKES RACES FOR 2023

 Starting in 2013 a new points system called the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" where a specific series of 36 prep races each worth a specific amount of points will decide which horses get in the Derby. A similar system is also in place for the Kentucky Oaks but fillies who want in the Derby will have to compete in with the colts for Derby points. While those Derby points earned by fillies will also count toward the Oaks Oaks points will not count towards the Derby.

The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby is a series of races through which horses qualified for the 2023 Kentucky Derby, which will be held on May 6. The field for the Derby is limited to 20 horses, with up to four 'also eligibles' in case of a late withdrawal from the field. There are three separate paths for horses to take to qualify for the Derby: the main Road consisting of races in North America (plus one in Dubai), the Japan Road consisting of four races in Japan, and the European road consisting of seven races in England, Ireland and France. The top four finishers in the specified races receive points, with higher points awarded in the major prep races in March and April. Earnings in non-restricted stakes races act as a tie breaker.

For 2023, the main Road to the Kentucky Derby resembled the 2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby, consisting of 37 races, one more event than in 2021, with 21 races for the Kentucky Derby Prep Season and 16 races for the Kentucky Derby Championship Season with the following changes:[a]

  • Points will now be awarded to the top-five finishing positions in qualifying races, and the significance of the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and select races traditionally run in late January have been increased. Prep season races will now award points on a sliding scale of 10-4-3-2-1.
  • Points awarded in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 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.
  • 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. These include G3 Lecomte Stakes, G3 Southwest Stakes, G3 Withers Stakes, G3 Holy Bull Stakes, G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes and the Listed John Battaglia Memorial Stakes.[2]
 

Triple Crown Prep Races

The 2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby is a series of races through which horses qualified for the 2023 Kentucky Derby, which will be held on May 6. The field for the Derby is limited to 20 horses, with up to four 'also eligibles' in case of a late withdrawal from the field. There are three separate paths for horses to take to qualify for the Derby: the main Road consisting of races in North America (plus one in Dubai), the Japan Road consisting of four races in Japan, and the European road consisting of seven races in England, Ireland and France. The top four finishers in the specified races receive points, with higher points awarded in the major prep races in March and April. Earnings in non-restricted stakes races act as a tie breaker.

For 2023, the main Road to the Kentucky Derby resembled the 2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby, consisting of 37 races, one more event than in 2021, with 21 races for the Kentucky Derby Prep Season and 16 races for the Kentucky Derby Championship Season with the following changes:[a]

  • Points will now be awarded to the top-five finishing positions in qualifying races, and the significance of the G1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and select races traditionally run in late January have been increased. Prep season races will now award points on a sliding scale of 10-4-3-2-1.
  • Points awarded in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, 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.
  • 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. These include G3 Lecomte Stakes, G3 Southwest Stakes, G3 Withers Stakes, G3 Holy Bull Stakes, G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes and the Listed John Battaglia Memorial Stakes.[2]

 

Initial prep events

Note: 1st=10 points; 2nd=4 points; 3rd=3 points; 4th=2 points; 5th=1 point (except the Breeders' Cup Juvenile: 1st=30 points; 2nd=12 points; 3rd=9 points; 4th=6 points; 5th=3 points)

The dates for most races shown below are based on the placement in the racing calendar from 2021/2022

 

Race Distance Track Date 1st
Iroquois 1+116 miles Churchill Downs Sep 17 2022 Curly Jack
Champagne[c] 1 mile Aqueduct Oct 1 2022 Blazing Sevens
American Pharoah 1+116 miles Santa Anita Oct 8 2022 Cave Rock[d]
Breeders' Futurity 1+116 miles Keeneland Oct 8 2022 Forte
Breeders' Cup Juvenile 1+116 miles Keeneland Nov 4 2022 Forte
Kentucky Jockey Club 1+116 miles Churchill Downs Nov 26 2022 Instant Coffee
Remsen 1+18 miles Aqueduct Dec 3 2022 Dubyuhnell
Los Alamitos Futurity 1+116 miles Los Alamitos Dec 17 2022 Practical Move
Springboard Mile 1 mile Remington Dec 17 2022 Wildatlanticstorm[f]
Gun Runner Stakes 1+116 miles Fair Grounds Dec 26 2022 Jace's Road
Smarty Jones 1 mile Oaklawn Jan 1 2023 Victory Formation
Jerome 1 mile Aqueduct Jan 7 2023 Lugan Knight
Sham 1 mile Santa Anita Jan 8 2023 Reincarnate[g]
El Camino Real Derby 1+18 miles Golden Gate Feb 11 2023 Chase the Chaos

Select prep eventsNote: 1st=20 points; 2nd=8 points; 3rd=6 points; 4th=4 points; 5th=2 points

Race Distance Track Date 1st
Lecomte 1+116 miles Fair Grounds Jan 21 2023 Instant Coffee
Southwest 1+116 miles Oaklawn Jan 28 2023 Arabian Knight
Withers 1+18 miles Aqueduct Feb 4 2023 Arctic Arrogance
Holy Bull 1 mile Gulfstream Feb 4 2023 Rocket Can
Robert B. Lewis 1+116 miles Santa Anita Feb 4 2023 Newgate
Sam F. Davis Stakes 1+116 miles Tampa Bay Feb 11 2023 Litigate
John Battaglia Memorial Stakes 1+116 miles Turfway Feb 25 2023 Congruent

Championship series events[edit]

First leg of series[edit]

Note: 1st=50 points; 2nd=20 points; 3rd=15 points; 4th=10 points; 5th=5 points

Race Distance Track Date 1st
Risen Star 1+18 miles Fair Grounds Feb 18 2023 Angel of Empire
Rebel 1+116 miles Oaklawn Feb 25 2023 Confidence Game
Fountain of Youth 1+116 miles Gulfstream Mar 4 2023 Forte
Gotham 1 mile Aqueduct Mar 4 2023 Raise Cain
San Felipe 1+116 miles Santa Anita Mar 4 2023 Practical Move
Tampa Bay Derby 1+116 miles Tampa Bay Mar 11 2023 Tapit Trice
Sunland Derby 1+18 miles Sunland Park Mar 26 2023 Wild On Ice

Second leg of series[edit]

These races are the major preps for the Kentucky Derby, and are thus weighted more heavily. Note: 1st=100 points; 2nd=40 points; 3rd=30 points; 4th=20 points; 5th=10 points

Race Distance Track Date 1st
Louisiana Derby 1+316 miles Fair Grounds Mar 25 2023 Kingsbarns
UAE Derby 1,900 metres
(~1+316 miles)
Meydan Mar 25 2023 Derma Sotogake
Jeff Ruby 1+18 miles Turfway Mar 25 2023 Two Phil's
Florida Derby 1+18 miles Gulfstream Apr 1 2023 Forte
Arkansas Derby 1+18 miles Oaklawn Park Apr 1 2023 Angel of Empire
Blue Grass Stakes 1+18 miles Keeneland Apr 8 2023 Tapit Trice
Santa Anita Derby 1+18 miles Santa Anita Apr 8 2023 Practical Move
Wood Memorial 1+18 miles Aqueduct Apr 8 2023 Lord Miles 

"Wild Card" events[edit]

Note: 1st=20 points; 2nd=8 points; 3rd=6 points; 4th=4 points; 5th=2 points

Race Distance Track Date 1st
Lexington 1+18 miles Keeneland Apr 15 2023  

Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby[edit]

The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby is intended to provide a place in the Derby starting gate to the top finisher in the series. If the connections of that horse decline the invitation, their place is offered to the second-place finisher and so on through the top four finishers.

Race Distance Track Date 1st
Cattleya Sho
(~1 mile)
Tokyo Racecourse Nov 26 Continuar
Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun
(~1 mile)
Kawasaki Racecourse Dec 14 Derma Sotogake
Hyacinth
(~1 mile)
Tokyo Racecourse Feb 19 Perriere
Fukuryu
(~1+18 miles)
Nakayama Racecourse Mar 25 Mitono O

Note: Cattleya Sho: 1st=10 points; 2nd=4 points; 3rd=2 points; 4th=1 point
Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun: 1st=20 points; 2nd=8 points; 3rd=4 points; 4th=2 points
Hyacinth: 1st=30 points; 2nd=12 points; 3rd=6 points; 4th=3 points
Fukuyru : 1st=40 points; 2nd=16 points; 3rd=8 points; 4th=4 points
Filly

Qualification Table

The top four horses (colored brown within the standings) are eligible to participate in the Kentucky Derby provided the horse is nominated.

 

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