Modify qualifying scores for Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs modified the roads to the Kentucky Derby and Oaksawarding points to the top five places in qualifying races and increasing the relevance of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and season-closing warm-up events.

Most Derby prep races during the 3-year-old qualifying series will award points on a descending scale of 10-4-3-2-1 after using a 10-4-2-1 system since 2013. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race, held during the season-ending championships on November 4 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, will increase the point score from 20-8-4-2 to 30-12-9-6-3 to in order to make a difference from the Grade I event of others during the preparation season.

Selected 20-horse Derby prep races have high points on a scale of 10-4-2-1 to 20-8-6-4-2 to increase their importance and motivate hopefuls to begin their horse campaigns 3 years earlier in the season, track officials said in a statement.

“We believe these modifications adhere to and further our goal of bringing together the best group of 3-year-old horses at the starting gate for a race at the classic mile and a quarter distance on the first Saturday in May,” said the vice president and general manager of Churchill DownsMike Ziegler.

The Kentucky Derby and Oaks The 149th for mares will be run May 5-6, 2023. The Derby qualifying season begins Saturday with the $300,000 Grade III Iroquois Stakes for two-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

Point changes apply to qualifiers from Oaks.

Prep races that increased Derby points include Lecomte at Fair Grounds in Louisiana; Southwest at Oaklawn Park, in Arkansas; Withers at Aqueduct, in New York; Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park in Florida; Robert B. Lewis in Santa Anita, California; Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs; and John Battaglia Memorial in Turfway Park, in Kentucky.

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