Kentucky Derby Charity League 2018: We’re off!

Happy 10th anniversary to the Brooklyn Backstretch Charity League.

It’s taken several forms over the year, inspired by the Saratoga Special Derby fantasy league, run by Brian Nadeau, way back in the days of yore.

Last year we raised just under $1,900 for racing charities across the country, donated by our top three finishers with the money that you donated, resulting in significant donations to Take the Lead, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the New York Racetrack Chaplaincy, Backstretch Employees Service Team, and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Thanks to our winner David John, runner-up Brian Bohl, and third-place finisher Najja Thompson.

Over the eight years we’ve done this, we’ve raised nearly $12,000 for racing charities; past recipients include Grayson-Jockey Club Research FoundationDays’ End Horse RescueOur MimsOld Friends at Cabin Creek, and ReRun.

Back when we started, I pledged $50 to the charity of the winner’s choice. Quickly, pledges and donations from participants, unsolicited, followed, in impressive, generous amounts. As always, a donation is not required to play, but are welcome, in any amount.

Every dollar donated goes straight to the charities, and information on pledging can be found below. This year, I’ll be setting aside 10% of all donations for Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, in honor of their work following the hurricanes in Florida, Texas, and particularly Puerto Rico.

Here’s how it works:

Select a fantasy stable consisting of 12 Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-old horses. Horses earn points with top-4 finishes in official Kentucky Derby qualifying races, racing in the Kentucky Derby, and a top-5 finish in the Kentucky Derby.

Points will be allocated according to the Kentucky Derby points system.  Kentucky Derby starters will earn an additional 30 points each; Kentucky Derby points will be, for finishes in the top 5, 300-120-60-30-15.

Linda Walker has generously donated her time to set up our spreadsheet, building on the work of Mike Dorr, who handled that part of the league for the last few years. We divided the Triple Crown-nominated horses into three groups based on current Derby points standings.

Players will choose for their stable:

  • 3 Group A horses
  • 4 Group B horses
  • 5 Group C horses

The groups are available in this Google doc.  You must select and post your stable by next Saturday, February 17, by 12:00 PM ET.

After the Rebel Stakes on March 17th, the horses will be divided into two groups (D & E, again grouped by performance criteria above) and stables will be able to add:

  • 1 Group D horse
  • 1 Group E horse

Round 2 of the contest will begin with the Louisiana Derby and Sunland Derby on March 24; supplemental horses must be selected by noon ET Saturday, March 24. Points earned by Group D and E horses in Round 1 will not count toward the players’ total.

The contest will conclude with the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5. The winning stable will have the most accumulated points. In the unlikely event of a tie, ties will be broken as follows:

  • Highest # of Derby Starters in your stable
  • Highest # of Points at the end of Round 1

A reminder post will go up the week before Round 2 begins.

If you finish in the top 3, you’ll be able to choose the organization(s) to which your prize money is donated. All recipient organizations must be registered 501(C)3 charities and must support the well-being of the humans and animals in Thoroughbred racing or on the backstretch.

If you want to play, please post the names of the horses for your stable in the comments below (if you are a first-time or infrequent commenter here, your post will be held in moderation until I can approve it, which generally happens relatively quickly.)

If you want to pledge/contribute, please leave the amount in the comments or e-mail me at We’d love to surpass the amount of money that we raised last year.

Questions? E-mail me, leave a question in the comments, find Linda and me on Twitter (@BklynBckstretch, @LindaVA3).

Good luck, have fun, and let’s do some good for the racing community.

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