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LOUISVILLE, KY – Churchill Downs released a list of races Tuesday that some are considering to be “Prep Race Schedule 2.0” because of the Kentucky Derby (G1) Trail points that they will award for the first time.
The Kentucky Derby Trail prep races began shuffling last week, when Churchill Downs announced that the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) – traditionally held in mid-June – would be moved up to May 23 and offer points to its top four finishers on a scale of 10-4-2-1. That information changed for the better on Tuesday when the track announced that the Matt Winn’s points distribution was raised to 50-20-10-5.
“Based on measured interest from horsemen and limited racing opportunities for 3-year-olds across the country, the Matt Winn at the home of the Kentucky Derby appears to be the lone race in May on the national calendar for horsemen to use as a prep to possible important stakes engagements in mid-to-late June,” said Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of Racing at Churchill Downs. “For that reason, we’re pleased to be able to fill the void and raise the significance of the Matt Winn.”
The Kentucky Derby was rescheduled for September 5 in part because several tracks that traditionally offer the major prep events for the Derby were forced to temporarily cease racing operations due to the pandemic. While Oaklawn Park and Gulfstream Park continued to hold live racing sans spectators, the same could not be said for Santa Anita Park, Keeneland, and Aqueduct.
The other two legs of the Triple Crown were similarly affected by the schedule shuffling. The Preakness Stakes (G1) and the Belmont Stakes (G1) have yet to be given new official dates, but officials stated that if either (or both) of those events were held prior to the Kentucky Derby, then the top four finishers would be awarded points on a 150-60-30-15 scale.
“We’re in the midst of an unprecedented year, and this year’s Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown will be one of the most memorable of our lifetimes,” Ziegler said. “There are a lot of moving parts and there are still a lot of unanswered questions, including who will be running and when. We’ve had great conversations with our partner racetracks and believe we’ve identified the best extension to a most unique Road to the Kentucky Derby. This will continue to evolve, including date placement, as host tracks firm up their plans.”
Along with the update to the Matt Winn’s points distribution, Churchill Downs released a list of the summer stakes that will award Kentucky Derby points. Several of the participating tracks will be hosting prep races for the first time. Separated by region, the races and tracks are as follows:
Note: once the New York Racing Association (NYRA) finalizes its stakes schedules for Belmont Park and Saratoga, Churchill Downs is expected to add eligible races from those tracks to this list.
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