In the mainstream sporting world, we’re talking NBA playoffs, NFL playoffs and BCS title game But in the racing world, none of that matters. In the racing world, we’re already talking Kentucky Derby, even though it’s still January and Kentucky Derby is still four months away. We are already preparing for our Kentucky Derby betting this early as well as Kentucky Derby parties which involves a lot of Mint julep. Even though at this point we have absolutely no idea who’s going to run in America’s most famous race, much less who’s going to win it, where still already in the hype and is looking forward to it.
And so, when the calendar reads January 1, it starts. Actually, it usually starts—“it” being Derby fever—in November, right after the Breeders’ Cup, but it really, really starts on January 1, and that’s because all Thoroughbred race horses, no matter on what date they are actually born, officially turn a year older on January 1.
All registered Thoroughbreds born in 2009 celebrated their third birthday a couple of weeks ago, and that means that they’re now eligible for the Kentucky Derby, which, like all Derbies, is restricted to 3-year-old horses.
And literally, on the first day that horses are Derby-eligible, the first Derby is held: this year, the Gulfstream Park Derby at Gulfstream Park, just south of Ft. Lauderdale.
And so, it begins. Derby prep season.
From now until May 5th, racetracks across the country will stage a series of races restricted to 3-year-olds; the races will be a mile or longer, to help horses get ready to run the 1 ¼ miles distance of the Kentucky Derby, a racing distance that they won’t run until that day.
Many of those races will be graded stakes races: they’re how horses make the starting gate.
The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 starters (more than twice the number of horses in most races in this country), and entry is based on graded stakes earnings. In order to qualify for the race, horses have to be in the top 20 of lifetime graded stakes earners; horses that won graded stakes race at 2 have a jump on those that don’t start running in graded races until they’re 3. They don’t have to win those races; most races pay purse money to horses that finish fifth or better, though the better you finish, the more money you earn.
Get your Kentucky Derby betting ready as early as possible because the Greatest two minutes of sports is coming your way!
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