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Dundalk Stadium: The road to Kentucky starts in Dundalk

In this week’s Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) column, we’re taking a closer look at Dundalk Stadium as they look forward to their upcoming Patton Stakes European Road to Kentucky Derby taking place on Friday, March 3rd.

Dundalk Stadium, Ireland’s only all-weather racecourse, is excited to host the country’s only Fast Track Qualifier to the world-renowned Kentucky Derby.

The Listed Patton Stakes is one of the premier feature events of the racing season at Dundalk, and an important stakes stepping-stone on the European Road to the 149th Kentucky Derby.

The race was first run in 2013, taking place in April each year over a distance of seven furlongs and this continued until 2017. The following year it was moved to a March date and increased to a distance of a mile to become part of the European Series of the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

This race is the penultimate leg of the ‘European Road to the Kentucky Derby’ a points-based initiative that covers selected races in Ireland, Britain, and France. The series enables a horse to accumulate points for winning or placing and the horse with the greatest number of points at the end of the series will gain entry to the famous Kentucky Derby.

The Grand 1 Kentucky Derby is one of the world’s most iconic races for three-year-olds, and the meeting at which it is held typically draws a crowd of over 150,000 people each year.

There is plenty of excitement and anticipation around it as it is the first leg of American Racing’s Triple Crown.It is known as the Run For The Roses, the winner being crowned in a garland of the flower.


The Kentucky Derby is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and it is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. Often referred to as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports”, the race earned its credit from the approximate length of time it takes the winner to run from the starting gate to the finish line.

This year’s race will run on Saturday, May 6th at Louisville, Kentucky.

Back at Dundalk Stadium, the record books show that multiple Champion Flat Trainer, Aidan O’Brien has won the Patton Stakes 10 times in the last 17 years, while his son Joseph got on the scoreboard as a trainer for the first time in 2020 with subsequent Gr3 winner, Crossfirehurricane and followed up the following year with My Generation. Jockey Shane Crosse was in the saddle on each occasion.

In 2018, Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Mendelssohn won the feature, on his way enjoying success in the UAE Derby. Last year Ger Lyons won the race, with Colin Keane riding the Jiddmonte homebred filly Juncture to score by a hugely impressive six lengths.

Exciting Night

The Dundalk Stadium CEO, Jim Martin and all his team at the Co Louth venue are anticipating another excellent field on March 3rd for the Patton Stakes and another exciting night of sport the border track.

As always greyhound racing follows the horse racing card and a DJ will finish the evening out in style.

Whether you want a warm base for the evening to dine in style at The View Restaurant or enjoy reserved seating and finger food in the bar, there are plenty of options to choose from. For those who prefer to be up close to the action, there are many other options, and you will find full details online at

The Association of Irish Racecourses would like to wish Jim and all his team, the very best of luck!

By Leo Powell

Irish Field

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