Kicking Off Kentucky Derby Charity League 2019

I can’t really believe that this is the 11th year of the Brooklyn Backstretch Kentucky Derby charity league.

Who would have thought, back in the early days of this blog (when it was still an actual blog), when I piggybacked off the Saratoga Special’s Derby fantasy league, run by Brian Nadeau, that we’d still be going strong over a decade later?

Since 2009, we’ve raised approximately $13,000 for racing charities across the country; last year, our players donated $2,900, divided among the top three finishers:

Winner:            Bryan Langlois, who chose Pennsylvania Racehorse Rehoming, Rehabilitation, and Rescue

Runner-up:      Matt Milligan, Second Stride

Third-place:    Cindy Reid, Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program

In past years, Take the Lead, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, the New York Racetrack ChaplaincyBackstretch Employees Service Team, Grayson-Jockey Club Research FoundationDays’ End Horse RescueOur MimsOld Friends at Cabin Creek, ReRun, and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

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.

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.

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. Click the tabs on the bottom to find the groups of horses, and don’t freak out if you find your own name already posted—we haven’t cleaned out the document from last year. You are NOT automatically signed up if you played last year.

Stables must be posted in the comments by Saturday, February 16, by 12:00 PM ET.

After the Rebel Stakes on March 16th, 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 on March 23; supplemental horses must be selected by noon ET that day. Points earned by Group D and E horses in Round 1 will not count toward the players’ total.

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

The contest will conclude with the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4. 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

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 or 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.

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 several years. Chris Rossi created the document of Triple Crown nominees that made Linda’s life a lot easier. Linda also maintains the spreadsheet and generally keeps track of day-to-day operations; without her, this contest wouldn’t have been possible over the last few years.

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.


100 thoughts on “Kicking Off Kentucky Derby Charity League 2019

  1. I have no idea if this post will go through but let’s try this:
    D. Omaha Beach
    E. Galilean
    I may be back to trade poor Galilean if someone interesting crops up in the late nominations. Thank you!

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