Road To 2021 Kentucky Derby: 7 Most Important Prep Races To Behold

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The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby is happening this May 1, 2021, at Churchill Downs, Kentucky. After experiencing a setback last year, it is opening in the U.S. Triple Crown Series, followed by its two jewels: the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. The same rules apply, the Derby will showcase three-year-old colts and fillies in the dirt track.

In less than a hundred days, the Kentucky Derby will name another racehorse who will be the talk of the horse racing community.  However, the road to the Derby is not an easy task to fulfill. Every hopeful needs to complete Derby-prep races to earn qualifying points that will serve as their ticket to earn a berth at the dirt track.

This March and April, here are seven Derby trails that offer whooping points to the winning horse. Not only that, it helps the racehorse to gain the best position at the gate inside the Churchill Downs. You can  find the Kentucky Derby odds here in order to pick your next Derby winner, here are the top seven most important Derby-prep races to keep an eye out for.

Louisiana Derby

On March 20, 2021, one of the major Kentucky Derby prep races, the Louisiana Derby, will take place at Fair Grounds. This horse racing competition offers a million-dollar prize giving 100 points to the winner.

Mandaloun, the recent winner of the Risen Star Stakes, offers a bid to run for this event. Also, Hot Rod Charlie will take a chance at the Louisiana Derby.

UAE Derby

Another important Kentucky Derby prep race to look forward to this year is the UAE Derby. It is the youngest horse racing addition to the Derby trails. The UAE Derby is bound to happen this March 28, 2021, at the Meydan Racecourse.

A winning colt or filly can take home a purse prize of $2,500,000. Aside from that, the horse will earn a 100-qualifying Derby points. For now, there are no participating horses yet running in the UAE Derby, but they will surely come out in the next few weeks.

Florida Derby

If there’s a Derby trail, which is mostly attended by Run For The Roses hopefuls, then it must be the Florida Derby. Historically, fifteen Florida Derby winners won and placed significantly in the Kentucky Derby.

This horse racing competition is scheduled to happen on March 27, 2021. Like the UAE Derby, there are currently no entrants because the hopefuls are still preparing for this month’s trails. This year, the Florida Derby is happening at Gulfstream Park, bringing a purse prize of $1 million.

Wood Memorial Stakes

The winning horse in the Wood Memorial Stakes will earn 100-qualifying points. This is the most attended Derby trail after the Florida Derby. The Wood Memorial Stakes is happening on April 3, 2021, at the Aqueduct.

The same with other prep races, the Wood Memorial Stakes highlights only three-year-old horses who are vying for a Derby spot. The winning horse can take home a prize of $750,000 and should run in a one ⅛ mile dirt track.

Blue Grass Stakes

Highlighting a million-dollar prize at stake, the Blue Grass Stakes gives the same qualifying points to the winning Derby hopeful. This racing competition will take place on April 1, 2021 at Keeneland.

The participating horses should complete the one ⅛ mile dirt track. The winning horse can also get 100-qualifying points earning the best gate position at the Churchill Downs.

Santa Anita Derby

After the Blue Grass Stakes and Wood Memorial Stakes, the Santa Anita is something that Derby hopefuls must also complete. Giving 100 points to the winner, this racing show will occur on April 4, 2020 at the Santa Anita Park.

Aside from getting a sure spot in the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse can take home a prize of $400, 000. The contenders only need to complete a one ⅛ mile dirt track distance.

Arkansas Derby

If a horse needs to hustle and wants to earn a good position in the Kentucky Derby, he must participate in the Arkansas Derby. It is the final and most important trail that a Derby hopeful can participate in as it also provides a whopping 100-qualifying point.

This racing game offers a $1 million pot prize to the winner and has to overcome a 9-furlong running distance.

Takeaway  

As stated, a horse who wants to participate in this year’s Kentucky Derby should earn their spot in the most challenging way. They have to win the prep-races to gain the needed points before they are allowed to compete. With the seven most important Derby-prep races above, you won’t only see the winning horses, but you have the chance to pick them once you bet for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

It’s that time again – Royal Ascot

After the 2020 edition of the Royal meeting (Britain’s most attended and most valuable race meeting) was held behind closed doors as a result of the pandemic, Ascot racecourse has announced that the 2021 edition will be open to the public, albeit in a socially distant format. The event will run from June 15th through 19th with tickets going on sale in due course and the entertainment can be enhanced via https://www.bettingroyalascot.co.uk/ The Ascot meeting prizes will be confirmed in advance of the early closing for races in April.

What to look out for at Royal Ascot 2021?

For the first time in history, the 2020 edition of the race worked with an extended program, to great enthusiasm of visitors and fans. Following this success, Ascot Racecourse has recently announced that HM The Queen has again graciously consented to approve the extension to seven races each day for the 2021 Royal Meeting. This means that the following races will be retained:

The Copper Horse Stakes

The Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes

The Golden Gates Stakes

The Buckingham Palace Stakes (reinstated in 2020 and retained for 2021)

On top of these exciting additions, the naming of the Kenginston Palace Stakes, a new handicap for the Old Mile race for fillies and mares aged 4 and up, has also been met with approval by Her Majesty. Further changes to the Royal Meeting concern the elimination of the Silver versions of the Royal Hunt Cup and the Wokingham Stakes from the program.

Of course, we can’t write about the expected highlights of the Royal Meeting 2021 without mentioning the Gold Cup. Staged over an extremely challenging 2.5 miles, every edition has featured the world’s most elite long-distance horses. Last year, it was won by reigning champion Stradivarius and jockey Lanfranco Dettori for a third consecutive time. Since the Gold Cup was run at Ascot for the first time in 1807, only two other stayers have managed this feat, with one of them (Yeats at 8-years old) even making it four in a row. The now 6-year old Stradivarius will be back this summer to try and equal that record as well.

The Ascot Gold Cup 1834 James Pollard.jpg
The Ascot Gold Cup, 1834. Public Domain, Link

The impact of corona

As mentioned earlier, the Royal Meeting 2021 is set to be open to the public after the 2020 edition took place behind closed doors, but much uncertainty still exists in regard to the exact format. The five days of Royal Ascot in 2019 attracted nearly 300,000 visitors, but those numbers will not be reached this year. It will likely be 2022 before the extended Royal Ascot will be back to its usual attendance figures and the organisation does not expect to find out for some time how many spectators will be allowed this year. There will however be a large number of people following the action and entertainment on TV and online.