Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

Anne M. Eberhardt

Derby, Oaks Top Churchill's Spring Meet

Churchill's 24 stakes in 2013 carry purses of $7.475 million.

The 139th annual runnings of the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), and the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) top an impressive schedule of 24 stakes carrying total purses of $7.475 million that will be featured during the 2013 spring meet that opens Saturday, April 28, and runs through Sunday, June 30, at Churchill Downs.

Other major stakes on the 2013 spring schedule include three additional grade I events: the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up; the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course; and the $300,000-added Humana Distaff, for fillies and mares 4 and up at seven furlongs on Derby Day.

Churchill Downs will continue its emphasis on "big event" days that feature several stakes. Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, May 4, will offer six stakes races and total purses of $3.575 million. Six stakes also are set for Kentucky Oaks Day Friday, May 3. The purse total for the six Oaks Day races is $2.1 million.

Three additional stakes will support the Stephen Foster Handicap on Saturday, June 15, when that multi-race program will be run under the Churchill Downs lights as a "Downs After Dark" night racing spectacular for the second consecutive year. Two stakes events will highlight the final Saturday, June 29, also a "Downs After Dark" night racing celebration, on the eve of the meet's closing day.

The 2013 spring meet stakes are the same as those offered last year, but purses for five races have been adjusted. Those changes include:

• The restoration of $100,000 in purse money to the Stephen Foster Handicap, which has a value of $500,000-added in 2013;
• The purse for the Foster Day Fleur de Lis (gr. II) for fillies and mares ages 3 and up was raised by $25,000 to $175,000-added;
• A $50,000 boost to the purse of the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) raised the value of that one-mile Kentucky Derby Day turf race to $250,000-added;
• The Eight Belles Presented by Xerox (gr. III), a Kentucky Oaks Day event for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, now has a purse of $150,000-added following a purse hike of $50,000;
• The purse for the meet-opening Derby Trial (gr. III), the final event on the new "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points system that will determine eligibility to compete in Kentucky Derby 139, will be $175,000-added, a decrease of $25,000 from 2012. The name of the race has reverted to the traditional Derby Trial following the conclusion of a sponsorship agreement. 
Total purses for the 24 spring stakes, 22 of which are graded, reflect an increase of $200,000 from last year's spring racing session.

2013 Churchill Downs Spring Meet Stakes Schedule
Date Race
Sat. April 27 $175,000 Derby Trial (GIII)
Fri. May 3 $1,000,000 Kentucky Oaks (GI)
Fri. May 3 $300,000 Alysheba (GII)
Fri. May 3 $300,000 La Troienne (GII)
Fri. May 3 $200,000 American Turf (GII)
Fri. May 3 $150,000 Eight Belles (GIII)
Fri. May 3 $150,000 Edgewood
Sat. May 4 $2,000,000 Kentucky Derby (GI)
Sat. May 4 $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI)
Sat. May 4 $400,000 Churchill Downs (GII)
Sat. May 4 $300,000 Humana Distaff (GI)
Sat. May 4 $250,000 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII)
Sat. May 4 $125,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GIII)
Sat. May 25 $100,000 Louisville Handicap (GIII)
Mon. May 27 $100,000 Winning Colors (GIII)
Sat. June 1 $100,000 Aristides (GIII)
Sat. June 8 $100,000 Early Times Mint Julep (GIII)
Sat. June 15 $500,000 Stephen Foster H. (GI)
Sat. June 15 $175,000 Fleur de Lis (GII)
Sat. June 15 $100,000 Matt Winn (GIII)
Sat. June 15 $100,000 Regret (GIII)
Sat. June 22 $100,000 Debutante
Sat. June 29 $150,000 Firecracker H. (GII)
Sat. June 29 $100,000 Bashford Manor (GIII)