The Red Mile expects to offer at least $100,000 in purses when Quarter Horse racing returns to Kentucky for the first time in more than 10 years July 3-4 at the Lexington racetrack.
The Red Mile is a harness track that won approval for Quarter Horse dates. It currently offers Quarter Horse simulcasts.
The last live Quarter Horse program in the state was held in 1992 at Bluegrass Downs, the Paducah track that now offers harness racing. Tracks in neighboring Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio offer limited Quarter Horse racing.
"We have been inundated with phone calls from horsemen from all over the country who want to run with us," said William Coplen, director of Quarter Horse racing and general manager at The Red Mile, said in a release. "It has really been heartening to see the support for the return of Quarter Horse racing to Kentucky. Our purse structure is currently at approximately $100,000 for the two days, but it may very well increase. So many people want to be a part of the first Quarter Horse meet in Lexington that we're still lining up sponsorships."
The condition book has been released. The racing secretary is Jim Noel, who assists with the condition books for two Indiana tracks--Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs--that offer Quarter Horse racing during their Thoroughbred meets.
There will be two stakes: the Fort Harrod Futurity (sponsored by Ford Motor Co.) for 2-year-olds July 3, and the Los Alamitos Handicap (sponsored by Los Alamitos) for 3-year-olds and up July 4.
"We're offering pretty open conditions to attract as broad a range of horses as possible," Noel said. "It's a really good mix of races, and the timing of the race meet works good in this part of the country. It falls between the Indiana Downs and Hoosier meets."
Because of the configuration of the one-mile racing surface--the quarter pole is on the far turn and there is no chute--races will be carded from 250 yards to 330 yards. Post time for racing both days is set for 5 p.m. EDT.