Churchill Downs partners with Royal Ascot, Jockey Club

December 13, 2023
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Two Kentucky Derby Day race winners will earn an entry spot for a Royal Ascot event.

Churchill Downs has teamed up with the British Jack Club and Ascot Racecourse on an initiative that will give competing Kentucky Derby horses the chance to earn an entry-level spot for Epsom Downs races, as well as in the Royal Ascot meeting.

CDI Executive Director of Racing Gary Palmisano Jr. took a moment to express the company’s enthusiasm for the collaboration.

He said, “This is a really special partnership that will give owners and trainers a great opportunity to run in some of our marquee races during Kentucky Derby week and, in exchange, they could receive entries into some of Europe’s most prestigious turf races.”

Palmisano went on to briefly discuss the history of American horseracing and the upcoming anniversary of the Kentucky Derby.

He commented, “The Kentucky Derby was born after Colonel Meriweather Lewis Clark visited Europe for the Epsom Derby in 1872. With this being the 150th Kentucky Derby, it is a great chance to revisit history.

“More recently, we’ve annually seen some of our country’s top turf horses compete on the undercard of the Kentucky Derby and this partnership will give owners and trainers based in Europe a good initiative to bring some of their top horses over to experience Kentucky Derby week.

"Not only is this a great opportunity for connections based in Europe but this will give our owners and trainers here in North America a shot to compete on the international stage.”

Two Kentucky Derby Day races will open spots for winners to receive travel and entry incentives to run at next summer’s Royal Ascot. The horse that grabs the top spot during Old Forester Turf Classic will be eligible to entry either the Prince of Wales’s Stakes or the Queen Anne Stakes.

The Twin Spires Turf Sprint winner will have a chance to enter the King Charles Stakes.

Ascot Racecourse Director of Racing and Public Affairs Nick Smith commented, “We are very excited to be working with Churchill Downs and the UK Jockey Club on this exciting new initiative.

“We were very pleased to play our part hosting the Churchill team at Royal Ascot last year, with the Kentucky Derby trophy on display as they built up to this important 150th running of the world’s greatest dirt race.”

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