Breeders’ Cup on Wednesday announced the launch of “The Road to Churchill: Breeders’ Cup Kentucky Derby Sweepstakes,” which offers up a VIP trip for two to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs on November 2-3.
The sweepstakes is tied to Saturday’s 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, tasking fans to predict the winner of the Run for the Roses for a chance at the VIP trip, which includes roundtrip airfare to Louisville, Kentucky; VIP tickets to the Friday and Saturday races; and three nights of luxurious accommodations.
Entries are now being accepted through May 5 at 6:50 p.m. (ET), immediately ahead of the Kentucky Derby. To enter, fans need to visit breederscup.wishpond.com/derbysweepstakes and select the horse they think will win the Kentucky Derby.
Those who use Twitter, follow the Breeders’ Cup on Instagram and share unique referral links can earn additional entries into the sweepstakes.
The grand prize winner will be randomly chosen from the eligible entries that selected the winning horse and will be notified of their status via e-mail. Both the winner and their guest must be 18 years of age or older.
In other Kentucky Derby news, audio-books producer Audible Inc. is donating $25,000 to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) on Kentucky Derby Day in continuing involvement with the horse Audible, who takes part in the Run for the Roses on Saturday.
The check presentation is scheduled to take place in the winner’s circle Saturday after the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2), which is carded as the 8TH Race with a scheduled post of 2:45 p.m.
Audible Inc. previously made a $15,000 donation to the TAA after Audible’s win in the Florida Derby (G1) on March 31. The company has created a microsite dedicated to their involvement with Audible: https://www.audible.com/lp/go-audible.
Jockey Javier Castellano chose to ride Audible in Kentucky Derby 144 instead of Bolt d’Oro, leaving the way clear for owner/trainer Mick Ruis to tab Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinoza for the mount.
Espinoza was on hand Wednesday to watch his Kentucky Derby mount school in the Churchill Downs starting gate and gallop 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Jose Velazquez.
“I was excited because I think he’s the right horse to be on in the Kentucky Derby,” said Espinoza, who boasts three Derby victories aboard War Emblem (2002), California Chrome (2014) and American Pharoah (2015). “I’ve watched all the races of every contender in the race.
“It is different than normal races because we have one shot. This is it. To win the Kentucky Derby there is one shot, one race,” he continued, speaking of how the Derby differs from other races. “I’m ready for it. I’m always ready and prepared to focus on it. If I make any little mistake the race is over, and I can’t afford that. That’s why I have to be 100 percent focused.
“There’s also the horse. It’s just him and me. We’re a team. We have to get along for about 15 minutes when I’m on his back. After that it’s up to him if he can win this race.”
Espinoza has never ridden Bolt d’Oro in a race but piloted the Medaglia d’Oro colt in two workouts at Santa Anita Park.
“When I worked him, I thought he was the right horse for this race. He has the talent; he has the power, the endurance for the mile and a quarter,” the reinsman said. “Also, he has experience. He’s run in front; he’s run from behind; he’s run in the middle. I like that. He already has that e experience. When it comes to a 20-horse field, it helps a lot.”