Kentucky Derby Prep Races
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Kentucky Derby Prep Races

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2024 Kentucky Derby Prep Races

You don’t have to wait until the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks to bet on horses. If you want to show your support and place wagers before the big events, you can always follow the Kentucky Derby Prep Races season!

Building Legacies One Race at a Time

This is a process that’s paved the way for horse racing legacies since the 1800’s. Although the Kentucky Derby was founded in 1875, what we now know as the Kentucky Derby Prep Races were still being run in the early 20th century. They aren’t just additional races that have no meaning — they’re a crucial component to the rich horse racing history that built the industry we know and love today. If you’re a true horse racing connoisseur, you won’t want to miss out on a second of them.

When Do the Kentucky Derby Prep Races Happen?

The Kentucky Derby Prep Season starts at the end of 2023 and finishes in the Spring of 2024. Everything kicks off with the Iroquois Stakes in September of the year before the Kentucky Derby and ends with the John Battaglia Memorial somewhere in mid-April of the following year.

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2024 Kentucky Derby Prep Races Schedule

Interested in when all of the Kentucky Derby Prep Races are happening? Check out the schedule below to stay in the loop all season long.

Date Race Track Points
December 2, 2023 Remsen Aqueduct 10-5-3-2-1
December 13, 2023 Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun Kawasaki 20-10-6-4-2
December 15, 2023 Springboard Mile Remington Park 10-5-3-2-1
December 16, 2023 Los Alamitos Futurity (GII) Los Alamitos 10-5-3-2-1
December 23, 2023 Gun Runner Fair Grounds 10-5-3-2-1
January 1, 2024 Smarty Jones Oaklawn Park 10-5-3-2-1
January 6, 2024 Jerome Aqueduct 10-5-3-2-1
January 7, 2024 Sham (GIII) Santa Anita Park 10-5-3-2-1
January 20, 2024 Lecomte (GIII) Fair Grounds 20-10-6-4-2
January 27, 2024 Southwest (GIII) Oaklawn Park 20-10-6-4-2
February 3, 2024 Robert B. Lewis (GIII) Santa Anita Park 20-10-6-4-2
February 3, 2024 Holy Bull (GIII) Gulfstream Park 20-10-6-4-2
February 10, 2024 Sam F. Davis (GIII) Tampa Bay Downs 20-10-6-4-2
February 10, 2024 Withers (GIII) Aqueduct 20-10-6-4-2
February 17, 2024 Risen Star (GII) Fair Grounds 50-25-15-10-5
February 18, 2024 Hyacinth Tokyo 30-15-9-6-3
February 24, 2024 Rebel (GII) Oaklawn Park 50-25-15-10-5
March 1, 2024 Patton Dundalk 20-10-6-4-2
March 2, 2024 Fountain of Youth (GII) Gulfstream Park 50-25-15-10-5
March 2, 2024 John Battaglia Memorial Turfway Park 20-10-6-4-2
March 2, 2024 San Felipe (GII) Santa Anita 50-25-15-10-5
March 2, 2024 Gotham (GIII) Aqueduct 50-25-15-10-5
March 9, 2024 Tampa Bay Derby (GII) Tampa Bay Downs 50-25-15-10-5
March 13, 2024 Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes Kempton 20-10-6-4-2
March 23, 2024 Fukuryu Nakayama 40-20-12-8-4
March 23, 2024 Louisiana Derby (GII) Fair Grounds 100-50-25-15-10
March 23, 2024 Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) Turfway Park 100-50-25-15-10
March 24, 2024 Sunland Derby (GIII) Sunland Park 20-10-6-4-2
March 30, 2024 UAE Derby (GII) Meydan Racecourse 100-50-25-15-10
March 30, 2024 Arkansas Derby (GI) Oaklawn Park 100-50-25-15-10
March 30, 2024 Florida Derby (GI) Gulfstream Park 100-50-25-15-10
March 30, 2024 Cardinal Condition Stakes Chelmsford City 30-15-9-6-3
April 6, 2024 Santa Anita Derby (GI) Santa Anita Park 100-50-25-15-10
April 6, 2024 Blue Grass (GI) Keeneland 100-50-25-15-10
April 6, 2024 Wood Memorial (GII) Aqueduct 100-50-25-15-10
April 13, 2024 Lexington (GIII) Keeneland 20-10-6-4-2

World-Class Tracks for Historical Races

Many of the races are run at infamous horse racing tracks throughout the world. Feel the thrills in Japan at the Kawasaki Racetrack, or take things back to the US at the Aqueduct. There’s no shortage of events to pick from, all of which are sure to be filled with impressive athletic feats from some of the most renowned horses within the racing community.

Get Your Horse Racing Fix All Season Long!

Instead of twiddling your thumbs in anticipation for the Kentucky Oaks or Kentucky Derby, you can keep the action flowing by betting on Kentucky Derby Prep Races. There’s always something to enjoy throughout the year as a horse racing fan, and the Kentucky Derby Prep Races are the perfect fit for all.

Three-year-old thoroughbreds and their respective teams battle it out over more than 35 trials! Follow the action and results to see who’s got what it takes to compete in one of the biggest horse racing events in the world.

How to Qualify for Kentucky Derby Points

Traditionally, qualifying for the Kentucky Derby is all based on points. Throughout the Kentucky Derby Prep Season, the horses that finish in the top 5 are awarded points. All of these points are tallied up when the season is over, and Kentucky Derby placements are awarded accordingly.

How Are the Kentucky Derby Qualifying Points Distributed?

The amount of points a horse earns varies based on the significance of the race. It’s a great way to ensure that the Kentucky Derby is only filled with the most elite options possible. For example, the winning horse (1st place) for the Springboard Mile at Remington Park or the Remsen at Aqueduct only receives 10 qualification points.

On the other hand, if a horse wins a much more significant race, they could earn 100 points — which is 10 times the amount earned for some other events. Some of the more significant races would be the Arkansas Derby, the UAE Derby, the Blue Grass Stakes, and the Louisiana Derby (among others).

How Many Prep Races Are Ran for the Kentucky Derby?

The number is different each year, but there are always around 35 to 40 races run throughout the Kentucky Derby Prep Race season. Some of the most notable events would be the Florida Derby, the Santa Anita, the Blue Grass Stakes, the UAE Derby, and the Louisiana Derby.

For 2024, there are a total of 37 different races to consider. The newest addition would be the Europe Road to the Kentucky Derby, which was introduced in 2017. It features 7 races throughout Europe — the three locations where they take place are Ireland, Great Britain, and France.

Four Exciting Race Groupings to Watch

There are a total of four race groups that make up the entire Kentucky Derby Prep Races season.

  • The 2024 Kentucky Derby Prep Season
  • The 2024 Kentucky Derby Championship Series
  • The 2024 Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Race Schedule
  • The 2024 Europe Road to the Kentucky Derby Race Schedule

How Do Horses Qualify for the Kentucky Derby Through Prep Races?

As mentioned earlier, horses race each other for qualifying points that are tallied up at the end of the season. Only the best horses will have accrued enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks. It’s why these two events are so prestigious — the competition is stiff, and only features elite horses backed by the best teams possible.

Are There Any Historical Winners of the Kentucky Derby Prep Races?

Of course! Most of the winning horses for the Kentucky Derby Prep Races (especially the significant ones that reward more points) are considered favorites to win it all. Some of them go on to not only win the Kentucky Derby but take things a step further by taking home the Triple Crown, too.

Notable Winners of Kentucky Derby Prep Races

For example, American Pharoah won the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby before placing 1st at the 2015 Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah was the whole package and eventually took home the Triple Crown, but they aren’t alone in that regard. Justify followed the same trend by winning the Santa Anita Derby in 2018 before putting in a dominant performance to also claim a Triple Crown.

What’s the Importance of Kentucky Derby Prep Races?

Not only do they let horse racing fans get a feel for which horses will qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but they also give you a glimpse into how they may perform. If a specific horse, jockey, or trainer does particularly well throughout the Kentucky Derby Prep Races season, you can expect them to be favored when the Kentucky Derby takes place.

Kentucky Derby Prep Season

If you’re a big fan of a specific thoroughbred, you can follow them throughout the season and see how they’re doing with each race. Show your support from beginning to end and keep tabs on their journey to the Kentucky Derby!

The Perfect Combination for Thoroughbred Racing

It isn’t just about the horses taking part in these races. All of them are backed by a dedicated team including the jockeys and trainers. They play an important part in preparing these sublime creatures for every race.

Where Can I Watch the Kentucky Derby Prep Races?

Spectators can tune in using streaming platforms like Peacock, YouTube TV, or other platforms that include popular sports networks. For the most part, you’ll need access to streams from NBC Sports or FOX Sports. Thankfully, they’re widely available and it’s never too difficult to find a reliable provider.

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