Keeneland will offer a record $5.4 million in stakes purses – one of the richest stakes programs in North America – for its 2008 fall race meet Oct. 3–25, the Lexington racetrack announced June 3.
Fifteen of the 19 stakes scheduled for the fall are graded, including three whose graded status was recently elevated by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. The $400,000 First Lady for older fillies and mares at one mile on the turf earned grade I status, while the Woodford Reserve Bourbon for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the Bryan Station for 3-year-olds at one mile on the turf were promoted from listed to grade III.
Purse money for the Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Woodford Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up at 5 ½ furlongs on the turf, were each increased by $50,000 to a respective $200,000 and $150,000.
“Keeneland’s fall meet is unlike any other in the world; competitive racing in such a beautiful environment,” said Rogers Beasley, the track’s director of racing. “We are very excited to be able to offer our horsemen and fans so many great racing opportunities.”
Keeneland opens Oct. 3 with its signature FallStars Weekend, three days of racing highlighted by nine stakes worth $3.4 million. This year, five grade I stakes are featured, including the aforementioned First Lady and the $500,000 Darley Alcibiades for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on Friday; Saturday’s $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile for 3-year-olds and up and $500,000 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; and the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster for older fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on Sunday.
Keeneland also will host the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. I), an internationally renowned invitational for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf,on Oct. 11.
Six FallStars stakes comprise part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series, in which winners automatically qualify for the corresponding divisional race in the $25-million Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Those stakes and the qualifying Breeders’ Cup race are: the Darley Alcibiades (Juvenile Fillies), Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (Juvenile), Shadwell Mile (Mile), Juddmonte Spinster (Ladies Classic), JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (Juvenile Fillies Turf), and Woodford Reserve Bourbon (Juvenile Turf).
Keeneland’s 2008 Fall Stakes Schedule
Oct. 3 – Darley Alcibiades (gr. I), $500,000, 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Oct. 3 – First Lady (gr. IT), $400,000, 3-year-olds & up, fillies & mares, one mile (turf)
Oct. 4 – Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT), $600,000, 3-year-olds & up, one mile (turf)
Oct. 4 – Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I), $500,000, 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
Oct. 4 – Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III), $300,000, 3-year-olds & up, fillies & mares, 6 furlongs