In an effort to maintain overnight purses, Kentucky Downs management has decided to drop the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Mile from the stakes program. However, the Yaqthan Stakes, which is also run at one mile for 3-year-olds and up, will receive a purse increase from $40,000 to $50,000.
The Yaqthan is usually run on the first Saturday of the two week season, but will be run the following Saturday, Sept. 24, Kentucky Cup Turf Festival Day.
"Although the Turf Festival is a great day of racing, the strength of our meet is the day-to-day racing," said general manager Ryan Driscoll. "Average field size last year was 10.36 runners, among the highest in the nation. In order to insure large, quality fields, we must sustain the daily purse level. It has been a challenging year for our simulcast business and this is a solution that helps better distribute the accrued purse money."
Kentucky Downs is scheduled to race six days: September 17, 19, 20, 24, 26, and 27. An extra race will be added to the condition book on the first day to fill the spot previously taken by the Yaqthan. As in the past, 44 races will be conducted over the all-turf course.
Also, Kentucky Downs racing secretary Richard Leigh announced the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. III) will be run under allowance conditions this year. The previous seven runnings have been contested as a handicap. 2005 Kentucky Downs Stakes Schedule:
Sept. 17: $40,000 Pleasant Temper Stakes: 3-Year-Olds and Up, Fillies and Mares, One Mile (Turf). Note: The top three finishers receive a fees-paid start in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf.
Sept. 24th: Kentucky Cup Turf Festival.
$50,000 Yaqthan Stakes: 3 Year-Old and Up, One Mile (Turf).
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Dash: 3-Year-Old and Up, 6 Furlongs (Turf).
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf: 3-Year Old Up, Fillies and Mares, One Mile (Turf).
$200,000, Grade III, Kentucky Cup Turf: 3-Year-Old- and Up, (Turf).