Dundalk Stadium is Ireland’s only all-weather racecourse and lately the team received a timely boost that their venue is set to stage a race as part of a new initiative that guarantees one European horse a place in the world-renowned Kentucky Derby, which is staged in the picturesque Churchill Downs venue on the outskirts of Louisville in the United States. The race is worth a staggering 2million US Dollars to the fortunate connections.
The penultimate race of the ‘European road to the Kentucky Derby’ will be staged at Dundalk stadium on Friday 2nd March, the race is worth 75,000 Euro to the winner and will be named “The Listed Pattan Stakes” to run alongside the stand-alone series of seven one-mile races with other races in the European series to be run at Naas, Chantilly, Doncaster, Kempton and Newcastle.
Only one position in the Kentucky Derby stalls will be awarded to the horse that accumulates the most points in the ‘European Road to the Kentucky Derby’, the points will be awarded in each race respectively to horses finishing first, second, third and fourth, with the winner accepting an invitation to compete in the 144th running of this prestigious race for three-year olds on Saturday 5th May 2018.
Jim Martin Chief executive of Dundalk Stadium has recently spoken to us and expressed his glee at the opportunity to showcase his state of the art venue to a wider audience maintaining, “Our involvement in the race is due in no small measure to the work of our director Ciaran Kennelly who worked closely with Mike Zeigler from Churchill Downs to make this series happen. We plan to make this a great Irish/American evening at the track”.
Since 1967, there have been 36 horses who previously raced outside North America and ran in the Kentucky Derby. Venezuela’s Canonero II won the 1971 Derby, while Bold Arrangement (GB), who was campaigned in Great Britain and France, finished second to Ferdinand in the 1986 renewal but as the saying goes trends and statistics are there to be broken, so let’s hope Dundalk Stadium can play its part in rewriting the history books of the Kentucky Derby and for us local punters Friday 5th March is unquestionably a date to put your diary.