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Churchill Downs and Jockey Club Announce Derby Partnership

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Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), the US racecourse operator, has announced a collaboration with the British Jockey Club in a partnership that will qualify horses to run at the showpiece meetings, the Kentucky Derby and Royal Ascot, and the Epsom Derby, in both countries.

Churchill Downs announced this deal to coincide with the celebration of the 150th Kentucky Derby race which is the centrepiece of the upcoming Kentucky Derby Week. The history of the Kentucky Derby was started in 1872 and was inspired by a trip to the Epsom Derby by Colonel Meriweather Lewis Clark who took the idea back to North America.

Both parties say this will allow the racing public around the globe to see the best horses worldwide compete against each other. Under the terms of the agreement selected races in these meetings will gain entries in top races in the other country.

This is a really special partnership that will give owners and trainers a great opportunity to run in some of our marquee races during Kentucky Derby week, and, in exchange, they could receive entries into some of Europe’s most prestigious turf races, The Kentucky Derby was born after Colonel Meriweather Lewis Clark visited Europe for the Epsom Derby in 1872. With this being the 150th Kentucky Derby, it is a great chance to revisit history.

Gary Palmisano JrExecutive Director of Racing for Churchill Downs Incorporated

Kentucky Derby Day Qualifiers

During Kentucky Derby Day, two races have been picked to take part in the scheme. These are the Old Forester Turf Classic and Twin Spires Turf Sprint races. The winner of the former race will have the choice to receive an entry in the Queen Anne Stakes over a mile or the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, both run at the Royal Ascot meeting in June each year. The second race sees the winner of the Twin Spires race gain an entry into the King Charles Stakes race.

There are another two races for three-year-olds, the American Turf and Edgewood, which will see the winners gain potential entry for the Derby and Oaks races, respectively, both held at the Epsom racecourse. Trainers in the US said it gave owners and trainers in both regions the opportunity to bring their horses onto the international stage and compete with the very best racehorses globally.

We’re delighted to develop these links with races at the Kentucky Derby Meeting in its 150th year. The Kentucky Derby itself can trace its origin back to Epsom Downs in 1780 when Diomed won the very first Derby and we are proud to reinforce this historic link. We look forward to welcoming American runners to the Betfred Oaks and Betfred Derby.

Matt WoolstonAssistant Racing and International Racing Director at The Jockey Club

There is a similar arrangement at some British race meetings with a runner from both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and Queen Anne Stakes gaining an entry to the Arlington Million Stakes held at the Colonial Downs racecourse.

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