HENDERSON, Ky (WFIE) - Exciting news coming out of Louisville Tuesday as Churchill Downs announces an extension to the road to the Kentucky Derby that’s set to start in a few weeks.
Among the announcement, the Ellis Park Derby is now elevated to a prep race for the Derby.
The Ellis Park Derby normally ran as a “listed stakes” race, has seen payouts to its winner of nearly $100,000.
During the 2020 season, the stakes have gotten even higher. That’s because Churchill Downs released a preliminary list of races that could be used in the extension of the road to the Kentucky Derby.
On that list is the Ellis Park Derby. Now instead of just money the jockeys will be competing for, it’s also a top-four finish of a point system that will give 50 to the winner, then 20, 10 and 5 to 2nd place through 4th.
That’s important because the points then go to a leaderboard for the Derby with the Top 20 horses, then being invited to run in the race September 5.
Ellis Park General Manager Jeff Inman says officials at the track are thrilled by the announcement, and that it’s something they were working on internally for a while. They are now ecstatic it has come to fruition.
The park is expected to have more details in the following days.