The official “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve,” will begin Sept. 18 at Churchill Downs with the GIII Iroquois S., has been unveiled with a new proviso that horses under the care of suspended trainers will not be awarded points in the Derby prep races.
Effective Sept. 30, points from any race in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” will not be awarded to any horse trained by any individual who is suspended from racing in the 2022 Kentucky Derby or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised, or advised by a suspended trainer. Should a horse trained by a suspended trainer, or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised, or advised by a suspended trainer, finish in a position that would have earned points in a “Road to the Kentucky Derby” race occurring after Sept. 30, 2021, the points associated with that finish position will be vacated. The same rules apply for the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series. This would include trainer Bob Baffert, who was banned from Churchill Downs Inc. racetracks for three years.
The total number of races in the primary “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series has increased by one to 37. The inaugural $100,000 Gun Runner, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds at Fair Grounds Sunday, Dec. 26, has been added and is worth 10-4-2-1 to the top four placings.
Additionally, the new $100,000 Untapable, a one mile and 70-yard race for 2-year-old fillies that same day at Fair Grounds, has been added to the Oaks series, which features a total of 32 races.
The Iroquois will again kick off the 21-race “Prep Season,” which features foundation-building races over a minimum of one mile between mid-September and mid-February. Points awarded during the “Prep Season” are worth 10-4-2-1 to the top four placings, respectively, except for the Nov. 5 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Del Mar, which is worth twice as much (20-8-4-2).
In addition to the Iroquois and Breeders' Cup Juvenile, “Prep Season” races include the GI American Pharoah (Santa Anita), GI Champagne (Belmont), GII Breeders' Futurity (Keeneland), GII Kentucky Jockey Club (Churchill Downs), GII Remsen (Aqueduct), Springboard Mile (Remington Park), GII Los Alamitos Futurity (Los Alamitos), Gun Runner (Fair Grounds), Smarty Jones (Oaklawn Park), Jerome (Aqueduct), GIII Sham (Santa Anita), GIII Lecomte (Fair Grounds), GIII Southwest (Oaklawn Park), GII Holy Bull (Gulfstream Park), GIII Robert B. Lewis (Santa Anita), GIII Sam F. Davis (Tampa Bay Downs), GIII Withers (Aqueduct), El Camino Real Derby (Golden Gate) and John Battaglia Memorial (Turfway Park).
The 16-race “Championship Series” follows the Prep Season races. First leg races offer 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers: the GII Risen Star (Fair Grounds), GII Rebel (Oaklawn Park), GII Fountain of Youth (Gulfstream Park), GIII Gotham (Aqueduct), GII Tampa Bay Derby (Tampa Bay Downs), GII San Felipe (Santa Anita) and GIII Sunland Derby (Sunland Park). The most meaningful races are worth 100-40-20-10: the G2 UAE Derby (Meydan Racecouse), GII Louisiana Derby (Fair Grounds), GI Florida Derby (Gulfstream Park), GI Arkansas Derby (Oaklawn Park), GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks (Turfway Park), GII Wood Memorial (Aqueduct), GII Toyota Blue Grass (Keeneland) and GI Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita). Additionally, the GIII Lexington (Keeneland) offers points on a scale of 20-8-4-2 to the first four placings.
In addition to the primary “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series, there are two separate series that each carve out one spot for a potential horse from Europe and Japan.
The sixth-year “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” series again features four races: Cattleya (10-4-2-1 at Tokyo), Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun (20-8-4-2 at Kawasaki), Hyacinth (30-12-6-3 at Tokyo) and Fukuryu (40-16-8-4 at Nakayama).
The fifth-year “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” again showcases seven races: the Juddmonte Royal Lodge (10-4-2-1 at Newmarket), Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford (10-4-2-1 at Curragh), Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (10-4-2-1 at Longchamp), Vertem Futurity Trophy (10-4-2-1 at Doncaster), Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes (20-8-4-2 at Kempton Park), Patton Stakes (20-8-4-2 at Dundalk) and Cardinal Condition Stakes (30-12-6-3 at Chelmsford City).
As was the case this year, the 2022 Kentucky Derby will be run without the permitted use of Lasix. Points will only be awarded to horses who compete on race day without Lasix in Road to the Kentucky Derby races.