Keeneland has received Kentucky Racing Commission approval to open a day earlier this fall to accommodate stakes that serve as preps for the Breeders' Cup. The Lexington track will open Friday, Oct. 5, instead of Saturday, Oct. 6.
Jim Williams, Keeneland's director of public relations, said the additional day is "critical" given the fact the Breeders' Cup will be held Oct. 27 -- a week earlier than usual -- at Belmont Park in New York.
"In order to get three weeks between races, we'll have to run most of our major events on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of opening weekend," Williams said. The commission approved the additional racing date Monday afternoon.
Turfway Park will close a day earlier than usual to accommodate Keeneland, a one-third owner of the Northern Kentucky track.
The Friday Keeneland picked up is traditionally Kentucky Futurity Day at The Red Mile, the Lexington harness track that hosts its Grand Circuit meet the two weeks before Keeneland opens. Earlier, The Red Mile announced the Futurity, the third leg of the trotting triple crown, had been moved up a week. Other stakes are scheduled for Oct. 5, but track officials couldn't be reached immediately for comment.
The Keeneland fall meet will now be 17 days. It will conclude on Breeders' Cup Day.