(Edited press release)
Keeneland has scheduled the richest stakes program in its history, featuring five grade I stakes and a record $5.3 million in total stakes purses for its 2007 fall race meeting, held Oct. 5-27.
Keeneland opens with FallStars Weekend Oct. 5-7, expanded this year to include nine stakes worth $3.35 million. Four grade I stakes highlight the three-day event: the Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, carrying an increased purse of $500,000; the $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile for 3-year-olds and up; the $500,000 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; and the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up, at 1 1/8 miles.
Keeneland will conduct the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. I), an invitational for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf Oct. 13.
Five stakes on FallStars Weekend will be part of the new Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series. Winners of Keeneland’s aforementioned Shadwell Turf Mile and Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity, as well as the $400,000 First Lady (gr. IIT) and $250,000 Phoenix (gr. III) Oct. 6, and the Juddmonte Spinster Oct. 7, automatically qualify for the corresponding divisional race in the $20 million Breeders’ Cup World Championships. ESPN and ESPN2 will provide race coverage.
The First Lady and $300,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III) have been moved up one week to Oct. 7. The $150,000 Woodford Reserve Bourbon and $150,000 JPMorgan Chase Jessamine, both for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, have been moved from their traditional spots near the end of the meet to Oct. 7, and Oct. 11, respectively. Both races will serve as preps for the new $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
“Keeneland’s fall racing is traditionally rich in quality,” said Keeneland's director of racing Rogers Beasley. “This year we anticipate a month of blockbuster racing during which fans will get a chance to see many of the superstars being pointed toward the Breeders’ Cup.”
Last fall, the first three finishers in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity--Great Hunter, Circular Quay, and Street Sense--ran 1-2-3, in reverse order, in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I). Miesque’s Approval, fourth in the Shadwell, won the $1 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).
Pin Oak Farm will sponsor the Pin Oak Valley View (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf Oct. 19. The Valley View, JPMorgan Chase Jessamine, and Woodford Reserve Bourbon each will offer increased purse money of $150,000.