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Churchill Downs forges transatlantic racing alliance with Ascot and Epsom Downs

Updated:2024-03-21 13:59    Views:202

Launched ahead of the 150th Kentucky Derby, the initiative offers a program where horses participating during Kentucky Derby week can gain entry and travel incentives for races at Epsom Downs and the Royal Ascot meeting.

Gary Palmisano Jr., Executive Director of Racing for Churchill Downs Incorporated, stated: “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. 

“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.” 

Two key races on Kentucky Derby Day will serve as gateways to the Royal Ascot in mid-June. The Old Forester Turf Classic (GI) winner will earn a spot in either the Queen Anne Stakes (GI) or the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (GI), while the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GII) victor secures entry to the King Charles Stakes (GI).

For three-year-old turf specialists participating in the American Turf (GII) and Edgewood (GII),Table games the rewards extend to races at Epsom Downs. The winners of these races on Kentucky Derby Day and Kentucky Oaks Day, respectively, will earn entry and travel stipends to compete in the Betfred Derby (GI) and Betfred Oaks (GI).

Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse, noted: “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.”

This partnership marks a step towards the globalisation of horseracing and aims to provide a platform for cross-continental competition going forward.

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