The “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” is a 31-race series that awards points to the Top 4 finishers in each race. The Top 14 point earners nominated to the Longines Kentucky Oaks will earn a spot in the starting gate for the 141st running of the Grade I, $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 1, 2015. The 1 1/8-mile Oaks is the nation’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies.
If two or more horses have the same number of points, the tiebreaker is earnings in non-restricted stakes races. In the case of remaining ties, the additional starter(s) and/or also-eligible horses shall be determined by lot (aka a “shake”).
In the event of a dead-heat (tie) in a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” race, those horses will divide equally the points they would have received jointly had one beaten the other.
If a filly wants to run in the Kentucky Derby she can, but she’ll have to earn her way into the field by accumulating points against open company just like the rest of the colts and geldings. Additionally, any points earned by a filly in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series against open company will be credited to her point total in the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series.
In the event a “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” race is split into divisions and each division awards its originally published purse money, points will be awarded as scheduled for each division. If the originally published purse is halved for each division, points will be halved as well.
Fillies born in 2012 can be made eligible to run in the 2015 Longines Kentucky Oaks with a $200 early payment due by late February (date TBD). A late period for nominations at $1,500 each will close Wednesday, April 8, 2015. A supplemental nomination of $30,000 may be made at the time of entry. In addition to the Oaks nomination fee, owners must pay $5,000 to enter the Oaks by 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, and an additional $5,000 to start.
The Longines Kentucky Oaks post position draw – a traditional “pill pull” in which horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from the starting gate – will be held in The Parlay Media Briefing Room on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, at 11 a.m. ET. Up to 18 horses may enter the race and four horses can be listed as “also eligible” and would be ranked in order accordingly; they could draw into the field should any horse(s) be scratched before scratch time on Friday, May 1, 2015 at 9 a.m. ET.
The Kentucky Oaks winner will receive a silver trophy plus an estimated $564,200 payday. A total of $182,000 will be awarded to the runner-up, $91,000 to third, $45,500 to fourth; $27,300 to fifth; and $10,000 each to sixth through last.
Churchill Downs abandoned the graded stakes earnings criteria for the 2013 Longines Kentucky Oaks (used from 1986-2012) and proactively adopted a tiered point system to determine which horses would have preference for the 1 1/8-mile race. Today, a sliding scale of points is awarded to the Top 4 finishers in select races, and at the series’ end, the Top 14 point earners nominated to the Longines Kentucky Oaks get first crack to start in the Kentucky Derby’s sister race.