Starting this year,there is a new qualifying process for the Kentucky Derby.
- In the past, qualifying was based on a horse’s earnings in any and all Graded stakes races run prior to the Derby. Those graded earnings could be acquired in April or the previous October – it didn’t matter. As long as a horse finished in the top three or four in a graded stakes race, they were one step closer to running in the Derby.
- Starting with the 2013 Derby, Churchill Downs will determine the twenty horses* in the starting gate by using a point system in 36 races. Gone are the days were any and all graded stakes races provided an opportunity for a horse to make his way towards the Derby; now a horse must accumulate points (finish in the top four) in pre-selected and official “Kentucky Derby Prep Races”.
*The starting gate at the Kentucky Derby is limited to twenty horses (with a possibility of four “alternate entries” or “AEs”).
Read more: HERE
Reaction to the changes is mixed: HERE