With the Kentucky Derby starting in September 2022 and ending in April 2023, there’s only a little time left for the racehorses to prove themselves and qualify for this year’s championship on May 6. Moreover, horses, jockeys, and trainers must play their game to race on the famous Churchill Downs course.

Since only the fastest will make it into the top 20, which of the top horses are you vying for? Which race horses will prove themselves in April’s last stretch of prep races? With this, set your calendar to these prep race dates and prepare to be amazed:

Florida Derby

You should mark your calendar on April 1 since you’ll see the Florida Derby first. This Saturday race is a crucial part of the Kentucky Derby, as it grants horses a high point reward compared to the previous races. Here, the top four finishers of the race are racing for a 100-40-20-10 qualification point system – which is quite the opportunity, especially if horse racers are looking to earn the top spot!

Additionally, the Florida Derby has been held at the Gulfstream track ever since 1952, and the track has consistently been a 1 ⅛ a mile race. Not only this, but the Florida Derby also became home to 24 Kentucky Derby winners, with the most recent one to pull the stunt being Always Dreaming in 2017.

Overall, the Florida Derby is a racecourse crucial to the Kentucky Derby as it’s been part of its prep races since its inception. Moreover, it would help if you were prepared to look out for the best horses that win this stakes race, as you’d get the chance to narrow down your Kentucky Derby picks. With this race, you can pick the best horses for the championship!

Arkansas Derby

Although only three Arkansas-Derby-winning horses won the Kentucky Derby, who knows the possibility of a new horse doing just that this season? If so, the winning horse would stand next to American Pharoah, who claimed the two titles in 2015, Smarty Jones in 2004, and Sunny’s Halo in 1983. 

In addition, the Arkansas Derby has plenty of similarities with the Florida Derby with its point system and schedule. This derby gives out 100 points for the first finisher, 40 for the second finisher, 30 for the third finisher, 20 for the fourth, and ten for the fifth. Likewise, the Arkansas Derby is held on Saturday, April 1, at Oaklawn Park! 

Wood Memorial

You should schedule another race for April 8, 2023, with the Wood Memorial race at Aqueduct. This stakes race has a lot of history since it was first held in 1925 and is still ongoing. Moreover, its name screams prestige as it was named in memory of the first Jamaica Racetrack president, Eugene Wood.

Not only this, as this Grade-Two race stuns with a record of eleven Memorial winners having gone to claim the Kentucky Derby title. Its most recent winner was Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000, who started late at the starting gate during his Wood Memorial race but later reared and threw himself to win. Moreover, this playful Colt could be another inspiration for horses of this season to win the Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby overall.

Blue Grass

Maybe this year will be the year Blue Grass claims another Kentucky Derby winner – as it’s been 1991 since its last one. In the last three decades, no other horse has pulled it off, and it’s caused quite the drought for the Blue Grass stakes. Nevertheless, this racetrack already has six winners of Blue Grass Stakes and Kentucky Derby in its arsenal, which is already quite a feat.

Moreover, you’ll witness whether any horses claim this year’s title on April 8, 2023, at the Keeneland racecourse. This race will also be quite the stunt as it has a point system of 100-40-30-20-10. So, will another Strike the Gold win the Kentucky Derby and the Blue Grass stakes this year?

Santa Anita Derby

Like the Blue Grass Stakes, the Santa Anita Derby will also be held on April 8, 2023, with a point system of 100-40-30-20-10. This Grade-One prep race has made quite the name for itself as it’s home to the late Winning Colors, the third filly (young female horse) to win the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derbies in 1988. Due to her stunning racing record, Winning Colors joins the racing’s Hall of Fame with a career of eight wins in 19 starts.


The last race will be on April 15, 2023, and it will be marked with the Lexington Race at Keeneland, which stands at one and 1/16 miles. This Saturday’s race will have different points compared to the last races, as it has a 20-8-6-4-2 system. Nonetheless, this will be the last chance for horse racers to prove themselves and regain a spot in the Kentucky Derby.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget to place these events in your calendar, as missing out on one will mean missing out on the current point standings. So be sure to keep your schedule updated and your news channel on – since these prep races will significantly help your final pick in the Kentucky Derby 2023.