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Ellis Park Derby

Ellis Park Racing & Gaming of Henderson, Kentucky tells that for the first time in its 98-year history, Ellis Park will now host a Kentucky Derby qualifying race.

Churchill Downs, Inc. has just released a new list of prep races for its “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented By Woodford Reserve” and the Ellis Park Derby was elevated from a listed stakes race to a preparation race.

The Ellis Park Derby (50-20-10-5) will be held on August 8-9 and act as the fourth leg of the Midwest Region’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”

“Ellis Park is extremely grateful for this incredible opportunity,” said the track’s General Manager, Jeff Inman. “The Kentucky Derby is the most prominent racing event in the world. We are honored to be a part of this event and are thrilled to be able to offer this special race to our fans.”

Since 2013, a tiered point system in select horse races around the world is used to help determine which of the nation’s best three-year-old thoroughbreds make it to the Kentucky Derby.

Ellis Park Kentucky Derby

“To host a Derby qualifier is really huge,” commented Jeff Hall, Director of Racing Operations. “These are not only the nation’s, but also some of the world’s best thoroughbred racehorses and they’ll all be running for their golden ticket to the Kentucky Derby on our very own track.”

To make it to the starting gate, Derby hopefuls must travel the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” and race at the designated tracks listed throughout America, Europe, and Japan. The top four finishers in races at each track earn points based on finishing order. Then, at the end of the “Road,” the top twenty horses with the most points get to run in the Kentucky Derby.

Given the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on the racing industry, the Kentucky Derby was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5 and much is still unclear about the Triple Crown, Belmont Stakes, and overall racing schedule for the rest of the year. Ellis Park Racing & Gaming continues to work with the KHRC and Commonwealth of Kentucky to monitor when it is safe to reopen and is preparing for all scenarios regarding guests in the stands.

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For more information on Ellis Park Racing & Gaming, please visit

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