Churchill Downs today announced that Matt Koontz, a 24-year-old horseplayer from Las Vegas, has won the 2008 Kentucky Derby “Road to the Roses” Fantasy Challenge, a free online contest sponsored by Quint Events.  In addition to the grand prize VIP trip for two to the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Koontz also collected a record $16,150.76 by selecting the game’s “Pay to Play” option.

“This is a dream come true for me,” said Koontz.  “I’ve wanted to come to the Kentucky Derby my whole life.  I’m going to bring my dad with me next year when we go.”

        The “Road to the Roses” fantasy challenge is a free online contest that allows racing fans to manage a stable of Kentucky Derby contenders during the three-month buildup to the historic race.  The game is located at

        Lewis Nastasia from Woburn, Mass., finished second and received a $1,000 “win” wager on a horse of his choice in Kentucky Derby 135 on May 2, 2009.  Michael Harvey from Fort Lee, N.Y., finished third and received a $500 “win” wager on Kentucky Derby 135.

The game’s “Pay to Play” option allows participants to pay $10 to make themselves eligible for additional cash prizes.  The top five participating players each received a cash payout from the total pool of entries.

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