New Qualifying Race for Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Derby could have a more
international feel next year.
Churchill Downs has partnered with Kempton Park Racecourse in
England to create the $150,000 Kentucky Derby Challenge Stakes, a 1
1/8-mile race over Kempton's synthetic surface that will guarantee
the winner a spot in next year's Derby.
The move is a departure from the usual Triple Crown nominating
process. The entrants to the Derby have traditionally been selected
on graded stakes earnings. The winner of the Kentucky Derby
Challenge will get an automatic spot in the Derby if the owner
agrees to pay the entry fee and shipping costs.
The only foreign-based horse to win the Derby was Canonero II in
1971, and overseas challengers have been few and far between in
recent years.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)