Churchill, Ascot & Epsom Announce International Stakes Incentive Partnerships

Royal Ascot | Horsephotos

Churchill Downs on Tuesday announced a new partnership with the British Jockey Club and Ascot Racecourse to offer a program where horses competing during GI Kentucky Derby week could receive an entry and travel incentive for races at Epsom Downs and the Royal Ascot meeting.

“This is a really special partnership that will give owners and trainers a great opportunity to run in some of our marquee races during Kentucky Derby week and, in exchange, they could receive entries into some of Europe's most prestigious turf races,” Gary Palmisano Jr., the executive director of racing for Churchill Downs Inc., said via press release.

“This partnership will give owners and trainers based in Europe a good initiative to bring some of their top horses over to experience Kentucky Derby week. Not only is this a great opportunity for connections based in Europe but this will give our owners and trainers here in North America a shot to compete on the international stage,” Palmisano said.

Two races on Kentucky Derby Day will offer horses an entry and travel incentive to run at Royal Ascot in mid-June: The winner of the GI Old Forester Turf Classic S. will receive a berth to either the G1 Queen Anne S. or the G1 Prince of Wales's S. Earlier on the Kentucky Derby Day program, the winner of the GII Twin Spires Turf Sprint S. will receive an entry to the G1 King Charles S.

“We are very excited to be working with Churchill Downs and the UK Jockey Club on this exciting new initiative,” said Nick Smith, the director of racing and public affairs at Ascot Racecourse. “We were very pleased to play our part hosting the Churchill team at Royal Ascot last year, with the Kentucky Derby trophy on display as they built up to this important 150th running of the world's greatest dirt race. We have a rich modern history of American runners at Royal Ascot and their success always adds hugely to the meeting. With NBC covering the event all week, the Saturday on the main network channel, hopefully this new link up of races will add a new dimension to their and ITV's coverage.”

Three-year-old turf specialists in the GII American Turf S. and GII Edgewood S. can receive their entry to either the G1 Betfred Derby or G1 Betfred Oaks at Epsom Downs. The winner of the American Turf will receive an entry and travel stipend to compete in the Betfred Derby, while the winner of the Edgewood will receive the same benefits for the Betfred Oaks.

“We're delighted to develop these links with races at the Kentucky Derby Meeting in its 150th year,” said Matt Woolston, the assistant racing and international racing director at The Jockey Club. “A trip to Churchill Downs is one that should be on the bucket list for every racing fan, the world over…These historic races already have an international reputation, and we want to welcome more and more international runners in the years to come.”

In return for the above incentives for horses on Kentucky Derby weekend, a runner from both the Prince of Wales's S. and Queen Anne S. will receive an entry and a travel incentive to run in the GI Arlington Million S. in mid-August at Colonial Downs.

In addition, a runner from the G1Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket's July Festival will also receive an entry and travel incentive to run in the GI Beverly D. S. on the same day as the Arlington Million.

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