The Kentucky Derby is a little over 10 weeks away and there are 11 races left in the United States that award at least 50 points for a win.
They will be hosted by eight racetracks between February 27 and April 10. As the qualifying series takes a pause for the weekend, we take a look at the tracks and the races that will be held there.
Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, originally opened in 1905 but only made it through one meeting before shutting down. It operated again from 1916 to 1919 and has been open since 1934. The 50-20-10-5 point Rebel Stakes will be run on March 13, followed by the 100-40-20-10 Arkansas Derby on April 10.
Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, also had a brief initial opening. It operated for four days in 1939, then reopened permanently in 1944. Gulfstream is home to the Fountain of Youth on February 27 and the Florida Derby, which began in 1952, on March 27.
Big Apple racing
Aqueduct Racetrack, located in the borough of Queens, is the only racing course in New York City. It's one of the oldest tracks in the United States, opening in 1894. The venerable facility is only 10 miles from Belmont Park, which lies just outside the New York City limits. Aqueduct will host the Gotham Stakes on March 6, the busiest day of Kentucky Derby prep racing. The Wood Memorial, dating back to 1924, will be held on April 3.
Walking on sunshine
Tampa Bay Downs in Westchase, Florida, just outside Tampa, has operated under a number of names since opening in 1926 as Tampa Downs. Before assuming the current moniker in 1980, it was also known as Sunshine Park and Florida Downs. The 50-20-10-5 Tampa Bay Derby, the last prep race at Tampa Bay Downs, will be run on March 6.
Santa Anita Park is located near Los Angeles in Arcadia, California. It was open from 1904 to 1909, then from 1934 to 1942, and has been operating continuously since 1945. The San Felipe Stakes will be the third prep race of the day on March 6, with the Santa Anita Derby following on April 3.
Racing in the Big Easy
The Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Louisiana, has already hosted the first 50-20-10-5 points race, the Risen Star Stakes, on February 13. Mandaloun was the winner and is most likely headed to the Kentucky Derby. Horse racing at the location took place as early as 1838, but there have been a number of stops and starts. The 100-40-20-10 Louisiana Derby will be run on March 20.
Sunland Park is located in a town of the same name in New Mexico and hosts the Sunland Derby on March 30. It is the latest of the 50-20-10-5 races to be conducted and could offer much-needed points late in the prep season.
Close to Derby Day
The Blue Grass Stakes was first run in 1911 and has been held at Keeneland Race Course since 1937, the year after the opening of the track. The 100-40-20-10 points prep is an important event since it's less than 75 miles from Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. The Blue Grass Stakes will be held on April 1, no fooling.