Keeneland, in partnership with Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm, announced the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) will carry a $1 million purse for its 29th running Saturday, Oct. 4.
With the increase, the Shadwell Turf Mile becomes Keeneland's first stakes worth $1 million and will rank as one of North America's richest races at a mile on the turf.
Shadwell Farm has sponsored the Turf Mile, for horses aged 3 and older, since 1999. The purse was increased to $750,000 in 2012.
"Shadwell Farm has played a very special role in Keeneland's history for 30 years, actively supporting our racing program as both a sponsor and owner, and as a leading buyer at our sales," said Keeneland president Bill Thomason. "We sincerely thank Sheikh Hamdan and (vice president and general manager) Rick Nichols for their commitment to Thoroughbred racing, to Central Kentucky, and to Keeneland."
The Shadwell Turf Mile, which serves as the cornerstone of Keeneland's signature Fall Stars Weekend, is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, with the winner automatically qualifying for the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT). The Shadwell Turf Mile has been won by such champions as Wise Dan, Gio Ponti (twice), Favorite Trick, Itsallgreektome, and Steinlen and major stakes winners Court Vision , Thorn Song, Perfect Soul , and Landseer. Shadwell Stable won three editions of the race, with Dumaani in 1995 and 1996 and Altibr in 2000.
"Sheikh Hamdan and all of us at Shadwell have enjoyed working with Keeneland to develop the Shadwell Turf Mile," Nichols said. "A special tribute to the late Howard Battle who, as Keeneland's racing secretary, worked very hard in the early days of sponsorship to elevate the Turf Mile from a (grade III to a grade I) event. Sheikh Hamdan has always felt that our best breeding stock comes from horses that compete successfully at a mile. Keeneland has provided the opportunity and the stage for him to develop a world-class race at that distance that will draw and test horses from all over the globe."
In 2012, Shadwell commissioned a sculptor to create a one-of-a kind trophy for the Shadwell Turf Mile featuring a majestic bronze falcon modeled after Sheikh Hamdan's prize falcon, Nayef. Each year, the winning owner receives a replica of this perpetual trophy.