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Road to Derby Churchill
The Road to the Kentucky is underway (Photo credit: ID 92807105 © Brenda Kean | Dreamstime.com)

Road to the Kentucky Derby Schedule

The Road to the 2022 Kentucky Derby is in full swing, the series of prep races deciding the 20 horses that will make it into the starting gate for the Run for the Roses.

This year’s Kentucky Derby will be held at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7. The race is the first jewel of the Triple Crown, with the Preakness Stakes coming two weeks later on May 21 and concludes with the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 11.

To qualify to run in the Kentucky Derby, horses must earn points by finishing  in the top four spots in designated stakes races, starting with the Iroquois at Churchill Downs last September and ending with the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 16.

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There are 37 races which include the UAE Derby, which is held in Dubai. In addition there are seven races making up the European Road to the Kentucky Derby with the top point getter earning a spot in the field. The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby consists of four races, and the points leader is guaranteed a starting spot in the gate.

Points Increase as Road Continues

The early points races in the U.S. are worth 10-4-2-1 points, in February the Derby preps are worth 50-20-10-5 points and the major preps in March and April are worth 100-40-20-10 points.

The points system is only used if more than 20 horses are entered into the Derby. Last year the last horse to get in was Brooklyn Strong, who earned just 10 Derby points. In 2020 just 15 went to the post as many on the leaderboard skipped the race.

In 2019 Bodexpress made it into the field off the also eligible list and had accumulated 40 Derby points.

The first three Road to the Kentucky Derby points races in 2022 were decided on New Year’s Day. Dash Attack picked up 10 points by winning the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park and Courvoisier won the Jerome (G3) at Aqueduct which was worth 10 points to the winner.

The Bob Baffert trained Newgrange won the Sham Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita, but the trainer’s horses are not eligible to earn points and the Hall of Fame trainer is currently barred from entering any horses into the 2022 or 2023 Kentucky Derby.

Baffert won the 2021 Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit but the colt tested positive for a therapeutic drug in his system and the colt may get disqualified from the victory.

The Florida Derby has produced the most Kentucky Derby winners with 24. Other key Derby preps include the Blue Grass (23), Champagne (23), Hopeful (20), Santa Anita Derby (20) and Wood Memorial (20).

2021 -2022 Road to the Kentucky Derby

DATE RACE                                                           TRACK                                 POINTS

Sep 18, 2021 Iroquois                                      Churchill Downs            10-4-2-1           

Sep 25, 2021 Royal Lodge                             Newmarket                     10-4-2-1

Sep 25, 2021 A Smurfit*                                  Curragh                            10-4-2-1

Oct 01, 2021 American Pharoah                  Santa Anita                    10-4-2-1

Oct 02, 2021 Champagne                                Belmont Park                10-4-2-1

Oct 03, 2021 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère*  Longchamp                   10-4-2-1

Oct 09, 2021 Breeders’ Futurity                   Keeneland                       10-4-2-1

Oct 23, 2021 Vertem Futurity Trophy*    Doncaster                       10-4-2-1

Nov 05, 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile      Del Mar                             20-8-4-2           

Nov 27, 2021 Kentucky Jockey Club        Churchill Downs           10-4-2-1           

Nov 27, 2021 Cattleya**                                   Tokyo Racecourse      10-4-2-1           

Dec 04, 2021 Remsen                                       Aqueduct                         10-4-2-1           

Dec 15, 2021 Nisai Yushun**                         Kawasaki                          20-8-4-2           

Dec 17, 2021 Springboard Mile                    Remington Park            10-4-2-1           

Dec 18, 2021 Los Alamitos Futurity         Los Alamitos                   10-4-2-1           

Dec 26, 2021 Gun Runner                             Fair Grounds                    10-4-2-1           

Jan 01, 2022 Smarty Jones                       Oaklawn Park                    10-4-2-1           

Jan 01, 2022 Jerome                                    Aqueduct                             10-4-2-1           

Jan 08, 2022 Sham                                       Santa Anita                          10-4-2-1           

Jan 22, 2022 Lecomte                               Fair Grounds                        10-4-2-1           

Jan 29, 2022 Southwest                          Oaklawn Park                        10-4-2-1           

Feb 05, 2022 Holy Bull                              Gulfstream Park                   10-4-2-1           

Feb 05, 2022 Robert B. Lewis               Santa Anita                            10-4-2-1           

Feb 05, 2022 Sam F. Davis                      Tampa Bay Downs             10-4-2-1           

Feb 07, 2022 Hyacinth**                          Tokyo Racecourse             30-12-6-3         

Feb 12, 2022 Withers                                 Aqueduct                                10-4-2-1           

Feb 19, 2022 Risen Star                           Fair Grounds                         50-20-10-5      

Feb 19, 2022 El Camino Real Derby  Golden Gate Fields            10-4-2-1           

Feb 26, 2022 Rebel                                    Oaklawn Park                      50-20-10-5       

Mar 04, 2022 John Battaglia Mem    Turfway Park                      10-4-2-1           

Mar 05, 2022 Fountain of Youth            Gulfstream Park             50-20-10-5       

Mar 09, 2022 Condition Stakes*            Kempton Park                20-8-4-2           

Mar 11, 2022 Patton*                                     Dundalk                             20-8-4-2           

Mar 12, 2022 Gotham                                   Aqueduct                          50-20-10-5      

Mar 12, 2022 Tampa Bay Derby             Tampa Bay Downs        50-20-10-5       

Mar 12, 2022 San Felipe                             Santa Anita                       50-20-10-5      

Mar 26, 2022 UAE Derby                           Meydan Racecourse    100-40-20-10   

Mar 26, 2022 Louisiana Derby               Fair Grounds                    100-40-20-10   

Mar 27, 2022 Sunland Derby                  Sunland Park                    50-20-10-5      

Apr 02, 2022 Florida Derby                    Gulfstream Park             100-40-20-10  

Apr 02, 2022 Arkansas Derby               Oaklawn Park                   100-40-20-10  

Apr 02, 2022 Fukuryu**                          Nakayama                           40-16-8-4           

Apr 02, 2022 Jeff Ruby Steaks           Turfway Park                    100-40-20-10    

Apr 07, 2022 Cardinal Stakes*             Chelmsford City              30-12-6-3           

Apr 09, 2022 Santa Anita Derby          Santa Anita                      100-40-20-10    

Apr 09, 2022 Wood Memorial               Aqueduct                          100-40-20-10    

Apr 09, 2022 Blue Grass                         Keeneland                         100-40-20-10    

Apr 16, 2022 Lexington                           Keeneland                         20-8-4-2

* European Road to Derby

** Japan Road to Derby