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Iroquois Stakes History

The Iroquois Stakes (G3) is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky during its September meet and is the first prep race on the ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby.’ The race awards Derby qualifying points to the top-4 finishers (10-4-2-1). The Iroquois is open to two-year-olds and since 2013 has been contested over 1 116 miles on the dirt and offers a purse of $150,000.  

The Iroquois Stakes was first run in 1982, and earned Grade III status in 1990. The race is named for Iroquois, the first American horse to win the Epsom Derby in England. In 2001 Harlan’s Holiday set the 1-mile Iroquois record in a time of 1:35.01. Churchill Downs added a September meet to its schedule in 2013 and increased the race distance. Since moved to 1 116 miles, Cocked and Loaded (2015) has finished with the fastest time of 1:44.94.

In addition to being a Kentucky Derby prep race, the Iroquois is a stop on the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series where the winner earns a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup is held at Churchill Downs.

 In the 2016 Iroquois, Not This Time finished full of run to win going away by more than 8 lengths over Lookin at Lee, who would go on to finish 2nd in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Not This Time, a son of the great late sire Giant’s Causeway, finished 2nd by a neck to Classic Empire in his next race as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

The last four winners of the Iroquois have all started in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – Lucky Player, Cocked and Loaded, Not This Time and The Tabulator.     

Bill Mott is the trainer with the most wins in the Iroquois (4), and Dale Romans has won two of the last five races since it changed to 1 116 miles.

Other notable winners of the Iroquois include: Ide (1995), Harlan’s Holiday (2001), Champali (2002), The Cliffs’s Edge (2003), Tiz Wonderful (2006), Astrology (2010) and Canadian Horse of the Year Uncaptured (2012).