Everything About Kentucky Derby: What You Need To Know


Everything About Kentucky Derby

There are few more historic sporting events in the United States than the Kentucky Derby. This year’s edition of the race will be one of the most unmissable editions, as the Derby celebrates its 150th anniversary at Churchill Downs. But, what do you need to know about the Kentucky Derby ahead of its 150th anniversary this year?

When & Where Is The Kentucky Derby?

The 2024 Kentucky Derby will be staged at the iconic Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 4. As is traditionally the case, the race will take place on the first Saturday in May, with horses aged three looking to land victory in the opening leg of the Triple Crown.

The Preakness Stakes will be staged two weeks after the Derby, with the Belmont Stakes rounding off the Triple Crown at the start of June. However, the Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious leg of the series, and it is traditionally the race that attracts the biggest field of runners.

How Do Horses Earn A Starting Spot?

The field for the Kentucky Derby is assembled based on qualifying points that are picked up on the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying series. In total, there are 37 prep races staged across the globe, with the key point-winning races coming in the second leg of the Championship series. Races such as the Blue Grass Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, and the Florida Derby all offer 100 qualifying points, which is effectively enough to secure a place in the Derby.

As well as qualifying races in the United States, there are also legs on the Road to the Kentucky Derby that are staged in Japan, England, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates. However, there hasn’t yet been a winner from outside of North America to land success in the Derby.

When Is The Post Draw?

The excitement ahead of the Kentucky Derby in 2024 will increase significantly when the draw for the race is presented six days before the field go to post. This is traditionally a point that bettors will wait for before making their selections, as certain starting positions have worse records than others.

The trends show that 12 of the last 23 Derby winners have come out of stalls 13 or higher, which is a considerable alteration in the trends before the start of 2000 when only ten winners came from the same starting positions. Lower gates have a poor record, with Ferdinand being the last winner to break from gate one in 1986.

Meanwhile, only 1998 champion Real Quiet has won from stalls one, two or three since then. A gate that all runners will be looking to avoid during the draw is post 17. This gate is yet to produce the winner of the race ,while there has only been one finisher to claim a top-five position from the stall since 2005.

Likely Leading Contenders

There will be a very competitive feel to the top of the betting this year, with the top two looking very challenging to separate at this stage. Chad Brown’s Sierra Leone is the very narrow favorite at this stage after winning a second Derby prep race in the form of the G1 Blue Grass Stakes in April. But, that hasn’t been the most successful prep race in terms of producing Derby victors in recent years.

Fierceness will be looking to become the third Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner to land victory in the Derby, and Todd Pletcher will be excited surrounding this three-year-olds chances following his dominant performance in the G1 Florida Derby at the end of March.

That could leave him primed for a stunning effort at Churchill Downs this year.Find more information here: https://www.twinspires.com/kentuckyderby/future-wager-pool/

Philip D’Amato is another trainer that will believe that he has an excellent chance in the race this year. Stronghold looks to be his leading contender after scoring very impressively to land the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Catching Freedom could also be challenging to completely overlooked based on his excellent showing in the Louisiana Derby at the end of March.

A First International Winner?

There has been no shortage of international challengers in the Kentucky Derby throughout history, so it would be fitting if a first international raider would land success in the 150th anniversary of the race. Forever Young certainly appears to be one of the best contenders that Japan has brought over for the race, and he impressed on the dirt in Japan after landing the Zen-Nippon NisaiYushun in 2023. His excellent performances have reached new heights this season, landing the Saudi Derby, before pulling clear of the field to score in the G2 UAE Derby at the end of March. He is one of few runners with a perfect record heading into the Derby, and he isn’t likely to be that far away.

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