Kentucky Derby Preparations Heating Up

The Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby has been unlike any other, but there is still great anticipation for one of the most important events of the year. Preparations for the Kentucky Derby will kick into high gear this weekend as some of the top contenders will make their way back to the race track.

There are still several spots available for the 2020 Kentucky Derby, which will now take place on Sept. 5. With four months still between now and race day, several horses still have a chance to earn their way into the race.

The Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and that is where the real preparations will begin heating up this weekend. The Grade III Matt Winn Stakes is set to take place this Saturday, and some top Derby contenders will be in the field.

Horses must earn points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, also known as the “Run for the Roses.” There are 50 qualifying points up for grabs for the winner of the Matt Winn Stakes taking place this weekend.

The Matt Winn Stakes was added as a Kentucky Derby prep race after the big event was forced to be pushed back by more than four months. The 1-1/16th mile race should give bettors a good idea of what horses might be a contender come September.

There are just 10 horses in the field for the race to be held on Saturday, but several big names are expected to participate. Maxfield is the current betting favorite, and he will be making his 3-year-old race debut at this event.

If the Kentucky Derby was held on its traditional date, there was a good chance that Maxfield would have been unable to participate. After a promising, and dominating start last fall, Maxfield suffered an ankle injury that sidelined the horse for months.

Maxfield won the first two starts that he ever ran in, but his injury forced him to miss out on running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His trainer, Brendan Walsh, believes that it would have been difficult to get the horse prepared for the big race had COVID-19 not occurred and forced the postponement.

Maxfield is currently being listed as the favorite at 5-2, and jockey Jose Ortiz will be riding the horse at the Matt Winn Stakes.

One To Watch

Another horse to keep an eye on this weekend is a horse that is trained by Dale Romans. This will be the second attempt to get a horse into the Kentucky Derby after his first horse failed to deliver on the big stage.

Romans thought he had a contender in a horse by the name of Dennis’ Moment, but those dreams faded fast. Dennis’ Moment burst onto the scene last year as a 2-year-old, but the horse did not have the same success this year.

Dennis’ Moment was entered into the Fountain of Youth Stakes almost three months ago and was listed as the favorite for that event. Unfortunately for Romans, the horse failed to deliver, ending the chances of qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.

Attachment Rate is the new horse that is being offered up by Romans, and this horse appears to be a contender. Attachment Rate has finished in the money in all four races entered this year, and will now have a chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

Major Fed (5-1) and Pneumatic (4-1) are the other top contenders and favorites at the Matt Winn Stakes. Both horses have been successful this season, and are getting a chance to qualify for the Derby because of the postponement.


Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.