England, Dubai And Canada Races Included In Kentucky Derby's New Qualifying System
England's Royal Lodge Stakes, Dubai's UAE Derby and Canada's Grey Stakes were included in a list of 36 races worldwide in which thoroughbred horses will earn points to qualify for the U.S.'s most watched horse race, the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs Inc., which owns and runs the Kentucky Derby, announced the point system and the 36 races that would be included in its new "Road to the Kentucky Derby," representing a major overall of how horses can earn their way into the starting gate of America's most prestigious race. "We do want international horses to come and that is why we included their races in our Road to the Kentucky Derby," Darren Rogers, Senior Dir, Communications & Media Services for Louisville, Ky.-based Churchill Downs, said in a phone interview with SportsBusiness Journal. "It clearly defines a path for international stars to come to the U.S. and run in the Kentucky Derby." Under the previous eligibility process, horses were selected to run in the Derby by the amount of money earned in about 185 graded stakes races run around the world. There are 20 spots for horses in the Derby, which has been run on the first Saturday in May for 138 years, and there are usually more horse owners vying to run in the race than spots available.