The Derby Trial Stakes is a Gr 3 American horserace run over 1
mile on dirt, which is contested by three-year-old thoroughbreds at
the end of April each year at Churchill Downs racecourse in
Louisville, Kentucky. With a purse of $100,000, it is widely
acknowledged to be an ideal prep race for the Preakness Stakes.
Inaugurated in 1924, this race has been contested every year since
except for 1928. It was a graded event up until 2005 when it had its
grade revoked. However, as of 2009 it has been reassigned a Gr 3
status. Since it has been run, it has seen many of Kentucky's most
talented three-year-olds competing for racing glory.
The Derby Trial Stakes is no longer a good prep race for the
Kentucky Derby because they are too close together. Also, trainers
have started racing their charges less frequently and giving them
more time off before the bigger races. That said, many Derby Trial
Stakes winners have made it to the coveted Preakness Stakes.
These include Key to the Mint in 1972, Houston in 1989, Alydeed in
1992, Cherokee Run in 1993, Numerous in 1994, Patience Game in 1999,
Sir Shackleton in 2004, Flying First Class in 2007 and Macho Again
in 2008. Notably, Alydeed, Cherokee Run and Macho Again chalked up
second place finishes in the race.
In the 2007 and 2008 Derby Trial Stakes, the race distance was 7 1/2
furlongs, not 1 mile. Flying First and Macho Again respectively won
in those years.