Europe getting chance to have Kentucky Derby entry

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Eager to increase international interest in the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is giving Europe a chance to have a potential entry in America's greatest race next year as well as adding a prep race in the Midwest as part of its points series that decides the 20-horse field.

The track said Thursday it is creating a series of seven races in Europe separate from the 36-race ''Road to the Kentucky Derby'' series in the U.S. One starting spot will be awarded to the European-based horse that accumulates the most points and accepts an invitation to run in the May 5 race. Last year, the track introduced a series of races for a Japan-based horse to gain entry to the Derby.

The seven European races will award a sliding scale of points to the top four finishers.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.