The horses who wanted to earn a starting gate in the Kentucky Derby needed to go through a series of races called the Road to the Kentucky Derby. This is a point system journey, and horses make points if they finish as top 4 in whichever race they join.
There are already 17 races that have been played, and the top 20 horses who earned the most points have been named. But before we go through the list, let us first know why horses need to earn points before they can race in the Derby.
How Do Kentucky Prep Race Works
The Kentucky Derby specifically designates races known as the Kentucky prep races to ensure that only the eligible horses will run in the Kentucky Derby. The Road to the Kentucky Derby is established to sift through all the aspirants and give the starting gate of the Derby only to those who are eligible.
The prep races start in September and run until April next year. The Kentucky Derby itself will be held on the first Saturday of May, which falls on May 1 this year. Horses will race their way to the Kentucky Derby, and the top 20 earners at the end of the Road will be the ones who run in the tracks of Churchill Downs.
Additionally, the first leg races have fewer points compared to the races in the second leg that happen between March and April. The first leg races only gave the winners 10 points, four to the second, two to the third placer, and the fourth placer will only get one point. However, the second leg races give the winner 100 points, and the second will earn 40 and the third 20 while the fourth placer gets 10 points.
These second leg races with high points are the most important Kentucky Derby Prep Races. These races are the Following:
- Louisiana Derby
- Florida Derby
- Santa Anita Derby
- Arkansas Derby
- Blue Grass
- UAE Derby
- Wood Memorial
The Road to the Kentucky Derby is contested in the United States as horse racing is considered a Global Sports. There are also prep races in the United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland, France, and UAE.
20 Top Point Earners In the United States
Now it is time to look into the point standing of the Road to the Kentucky Derby 2021. Following are the top point earners in the United States Prep Races.
● Essential Quality – 30 points
● Keepmeinmind – 18 points
● Midnight Bourbon – 16 points
● Medina Spirit – 14 points
● Spielberg – 13 points
● Jackie’s Warrior – 12 points
● Capo Kane – 12 points
● Hot Rod Charlie – 10 points
● Get Her Number – 10 points
● Sittin On Go – 10 points
● Risk-Taking – 10 points
● Candy Man Rocket – 10 points
● Greatest Honour – 10 points
● Caddo River – 10 points
● Brooklyn Strong – 10 points
● Life is Good- 10 points
● Cowan – 8 points
● Rombauer – 4 points
● Super Stock – 4 points
● Nova Rags – 4 points
Europe Road to the Kentucky Derby Point Standing
The Europe Road to the Kentucky Derby also has their point standing from the prep races held in Europe as a qualifier to the Kentucky Derby.
● Sealiway (France) – 10 points
● Mac Swiney (Ireland) – 10 points
● High Definition (Ireland) – 10 points
● Nando Parrado (Great Britain) – 4 points
● One Ruler (Ireland) – 4 points
● Ontario (Ireland) – 4 points
● Monaasib (Great Britain) – 4 points
● Cobh (Ireland) – 3 points
● Laws of Indices (Ireland) – 2 points
● Baradar (Ireland) – 2 points
● Snapraeterea (Ireland) – 2 points
● Gear Up (Ireland) – 1 point
● Libertine (Ireland) – 1 point
● Sir Lucan (Ireland) – 1 point
Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Point Standing
While in other parts of the world, Japan has also executed prep races for their horses to qualify for the Derby in the Churchill Downs. Here are the top two earners from Japan.
● Alain Barows (Japan) – 20 points
● Lemon Pop – 10 points
Only the top finisher from Europe and Japan is given a starting gate in the Kentucky Derby. If the top finisher declines the invitation, it is then given to the second finisher and so on within the top four finishers.
To know the final 20 contenders of the Kentucky Derby, we will have to wait until the last race in the Prep races ends. Until then, we will not have a certain list of the horses running on the Churchill Downs.
For more information regarding the Kentucky Derby 2021, you can visit this website www.tvg.com/promos/kentucky-derby as they provide updates and news related to the event.
It is best to know who among the contenders are earning more as they are probably the ones you will witness in the Churchill Downs this May 1. However, the points are still subject to changes as there are still more races to come, especially the seven most important one that give high points to the top four.