Churchill Downs Sept. 5 opens its second annual September meet, which runs 12 days every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Sept. 28.
The September meet was inaugurated by Churchill Downs a year ago to provide Kentucky horsemen with an opportunity to compete for ample prize money and to deliver an entertaining product to racing fans and entertainment-seekers. Horsemen can compete for more than $4 million in prize money in 121 scheduled races for a daily average of $335,800.
The meet's eight-race stakes schedule, cumulatively worth $925,000, kicks off Sept. 6 with a stakes quartet, including two important 1 1/16-mile fixtures for juveniles that could produce starters in next spring's $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (both gr. I).
The $100,000 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) kicks off the 35-race "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, while the $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (gr. II) starts the 31-race "Road to the Kentucky Oaks." Also, both races are Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" Challenge events, which means the winners will receive automatic berths in the starting gate for their respective Breeders' Cup races with pre-entry and entry fees paid plus $10,000 travel stipends (if nominated).
Saturday's stakes foursome is completed by the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) for top milers and the $100,000 Locust Grove at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares. Entries will be taken Sept. 3.
First post on Saturdays and Sundays will be 12:45 p.m. EDT (gates open at 11:30 a.m.) and the first race on Fridays varies. Racing will start at 6 p.m. for "Downs After Dark" events Sept. 5 and Sept. 19 (gates open at 4 p.m.), and 2:45 p.m. Sept. 12 and Sept. 26 (gates open at 1:30 p.m.). Ten races are scheduled each day with a special 11-race program Sept. 19.