More Stakes, Higher Purses at Kentucky Downs

More Stakes, Higher Purses at Kentucky Downs
Photo: Ron Mitchell
Kentucky Downs

The short all-turf meet at Kentucky Downs this year will be long on cash.

The racetrack, which will offer live racing five days in September, released a condition book that shows more stakes and hefty overnight purses, including $90,000 for 2-year-old maiden special weight events. The minimum purse of $22,000 is for $12,500 claimers that are non-winners of two races lifetime.

There will be eight stakes: the $400,000 Kentucky Turf Cup and seven each worth $150,000.

The grade III Turf Cup, at 1 1/2 miles, will be joined by the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, Kentucky Downs Juvenile, Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, and Franklin-Simpson Mile on the Sept. 14 program. On the previous Saturday, Sept. 7, the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, and Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon will be run.

The purse for maiden special weight races for 3-year-olds and up is $75,000. The entry-level allowance purse will be $94,000.

Kentucky Downs has historical race wagering machines that take in about $18 million to $20 million in wagers per month. Last year the track shared some of the revenue from the machines with other Kentucky tracks, but this year that's not the case.

The condition book reflects the contribution, which goes toward regular purses and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. For a $90,000 maiden race, $45,000 comes from the KTDF; historical racing will provide $76,500 of the total.

Most of the cheaper races are listed as substitutes in the condition book. Kentucky Downs plans to run 10 races a day Sept. 7, 11, 14, 19, and 25.

Churchill Downs is scheduled to run 12 days in September–the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission last year awarded Churchill Turfway Park's traditional dates–with an option to add one day per week. That condition book and stakes schedule hasn't been released.

Ellis Park, which takes in about $2 million a month in historical race wagers, opens July 4 for a 29-day meet. Last year it received some purse money from Kentucky Downs, but this year it won't; a maiden special weight event is listed at $29,500, down slightly from 2012.

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