TwinSpires.com, the official online wagering site of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), has been named the presenting sponsor of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” the point-based system that determines individual eligibility for the maximum field of 20 horses that will compete in the 139th running of America’s greatest race on Saturday, May 4.
As presenting sponsor for the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point system, TwinSpires.com will support Churchill Downs Racetrack as a prominent partner in marketing efforts across multiple media platforms during the Kentucky Derby eligibility system’s introductory year.
TwinSpires.com’s work as presenting sponsor during the first year of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” is focused on the two legs of Kentucky Derby Championship Series. The first leg got underway Feb. 23 with the running of the Fountain of Youth (GII) at Gulfstream Park and the Risen Star (GII) at Fair Grounds. Three races remain to be run during that leg, including Saturday’s Rebel Stakes (GII) at Oaklawn Park, and each will offer points to their respective Top 4 finishers on scale of 50 points to the winner, 20 to second, 10 to third and 5 to fourth.
Leg 2 of the Championship Series opens on March 30 and consists of seven races with Top 4 points of 100-40-20-10. Two “Wild Card” races offer 20 first-place points during the two weeks prior to the Kentucky Derby.
Support for the new Kentucky Derby eligibility system by TwinSpires.com is headed by the creation of the “$1,000,000 Road to the Derby Showdown,” a promotion focused on the ongoing Championship Series races. Players in the “Showdown” are competing for a possible top prize of up to $1 million, other cash prizes and tickets to the 2014 Kentucky Derby. Information on the “Road to the Derby Showdown” is available at www.Twinspires.com.
TwinSpires.com also is supporting weekly coverage of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” by media partner USA Today, which provides weekly updates of point standings in its digital and print editions along with thorough coverage of prep races included on its schedule. It also is working with other digital and print media outlets to provide live streaming of races, current point standings and additional coverage of races on the schedule.
“TwinSpires.com has been a passionate supporter of the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ since we introduced the points-based eligibility system, and the wide-ranging support by our official online wagering site will be very important in the weeks leading up to Kentucky Derby 139,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “Our presenting partner also is an important part of Churchill Downs Incorporated, our parent company, and we genuinely appreciate the enthusiasm displayed by the TwinSpires.com team for our ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby” concept. We are confident that the marketing efforts and other support from TwinSpires.com will be valuable both within and well beyond the impressive roster of players who are active members of Churchill Downs’ official online wagering service.”
“The ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ is an exciting concept and TwinSpires.com is eager to work with Churchill Downs as interest in the new point-based Kentucky Derby eligibility system soars in the weeks leading up to Kentucky Derby Day,” said Jeremy Clemons, TwinSpires.com vice president of marketing. “We are clearly a key information and marketing link to our large roster of TwinSpires.com members, but we have strong relationships with media partners and other outlets and we look forward to working with Churchill Downs to maximize the understanding of this important, and possibly dramatic, change in Kentucky Derby tradition.”
The “Road to the Kentucky Derby” point system for the 2013 Kentucky Derby was launched in late September and features 36 stakes races overall, with the most important being the 17 marquee events for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds in the 10 weeks prior to the first Saturday in May known as the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series.” The top 20 point earners will earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate should more than the maximum field of 20 horses enter the race.
A similar system will be used to establish the eligibility of starters in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, May 3. The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks, America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, is limited to 14 starters and the top point-earners will earn spots the starting gate if more than 14 fillies are entered in the race.
If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker to get into the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks will be earnings in non-restricted stakes races, whether they are graded or not.
In the event of a dead-heat in a “Road to the Kentucky Derby’ race, those horses will divide equally the points they would have received jointly had one beaten the other.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2013 and its 2013 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 27-June 30. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.ChurchillDowns.com.