The 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Jaclyn Harris on Wed, Mar 5, 2014

There are plenty of great things that come from Derby Experiences being Official Partners with Churchill Downs, but one of our favorite things is that we’re able to offer Official Ticket Packages that include tickets to both the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks!

For those who follow thoroughbred racing closely, you probably already know what the Kentucky Oaks is, but for those of you that are recently joining this passionate horse racing community, you might not. Don’t fret! We’re about to help you distinguish the difference and teach you why you want to be at Churchill Downs for both races!

So what’s the difference?

It’s fairly simple actually. In the Kentucky Derby, any type of thoroughbred can race, whether colt, gelding or filly. However, only fillies can race in the Kentucky Oaks.

The field for the Kentucky Derby is primarily comprised of colts and geldings, but a filly can race in the 1 ¼ mile “Run for the Roses” if she qualifies on the point system just as her male counterparts. Just the same, since the Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown, a filly can also be nominated for this honor! Besides qualifying, the only requirement for the Kentucky Derby is that the thoroughbreds are all three-year-olds.

In contrast, the Kentucky Oaks is only for the fillies. Nicknamed “The Race for the Lilies,” the grandstands are filled with spectators covered in pink attire and the winner of the 1 1/8 mile race is presented with a garland of lilies. Like the Kentucky Derby, the fillies must be three-year-olds and must qualify for the Oaks through the points system.

The Oaks is held annually at Churchill Downs on the day preceding the Kentucky Derby, so when you’re heading to Churchill to see the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” it only makes sense to pack your pink and attend the Kentucky Oaks as well!


Take me to the Kentucky Oaks!


Wondering what this points system is for thoroughbreds to qualify for the 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby? Take a look at how the points system works»

As for what’s left on the Road to the Derby and the Road to the Oaks, the Prep Season is gone and we’ve entered the Championship Series! Take a look at the races that are left on the schedule:

Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series

2014 kentucky derby championship series

Road to the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series

2014 kentucky oaks championship series

Take me to Churchill Downs!

Now that you know why these races are so important to horse racing fans, it’s time to plan your trip to Churchill Downs to watch the 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby live! With Official Ticket Packages to attend the Kentucky Oaks only day, or both race days, exclusive in-track hospitality and VIP access and amenities, you can’t match this Kentucky Derby experience anywhere else!

Get more information on how you can a weekend to remember in Louisville for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby this year!


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