The Kentucky Derby is on May 5, 2018, and the contenders are finised earning points in the prep races across the country. Since the Derby field is limited to 20 entrants, there has to be a method for determining which of the many horses who want to enter can get in the race. In the past, graded stakes earnings were used to determine who will get in the field when entries are taken, but many people disliked this system since one good race as a 2-year-old could get a sub-par horse in over a more talented late bloomer. Since 2013, a new points system called the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" where a specific series of 36 prep races each worth a specific amount of points has decided which horses get in the Derby. A similar system is also in place for the Kentucky Oaks run on May 4, but fillies who want in the Derby will have to compete in with the colts for Derby points. While those Derby points earned by fillies will also count toward the Oaks, Oaks points will not count towards the Derby.
Below is a list of horses in order of points earned for both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks as of April 14, 2018. All the points are earned, so the list is final except for horses dropping off due to illness or injury. Also included for comparison are their earnings in non-restricted stakes races which also serve as a tie-breaker. There are also a separate Japan Road to the Derby and European Road to the Derby which guarantee a spot to one horse from Japan and one horse from Europe, if they opt to come for the Kentucky Derby. Results and schedule for the Road to the Derby races.
Gronkowski ... ERTKD ... $79,587 (European Road to the Kentucky Derby invitee)
Note: One spot in the Derby is an invitation to the European Road to the Kentucky Derby point leaders. The invitation order is Gronkowski then Mandelssohn.
Note: One spot in the Derby is an invitation to the Japan Road to the Derby points leaders. The invitation order of preference is Ruggero then Taiki Ferveur
Security even tighter - if you are going to the Derby or Oaks be sure to check here to find out what you can bring in with you. The enhanced security means no big cameras, camcorders, big purses, or coolers. Check here to make sure you don't bring anything they will confiscate. Also there will be no re-entry if you leave the track, so don't forget anything! 2018 is likely to be the same if not more restricted.
Kentucky Derby Traditions - Find out all about the big Derby Traditions: the rose garland, the trophy, the Twin Spires, mint juleps, singing "My Old Kentucy Home", fancy hats, celebrities and the annual Derby glasses.
Fillies in the Kentucky Derby - a look at the 39 fillies who have contested the Run for the Roses and how they did. So far there have been 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 5 thirds.
Review: Kentucky Derby Greatest Moments - Commemorative DVD from Churchill Downs with video from 27 different runnings along with interviews, photos, and historical info. Definitely recommended for any racing fan!
Review: Churchill Downs - America's Most Historic Racetrack by Kimberly Gatto. An entertaining and informative account of the history of the track and it's most famous race, the Kentucky Derby, with lots of photos. Definitely recommended.