The grade II Kentucky Cup Classic, which returns to Turfway Park in September after a one-year hiatus, will have a new distance and new name, track officials said Aug. 18.
The $200,000 race, formerly run at 1 1/8 miles, will switch to 1 1/16 miles, and it will be called the WinStar Kentucky Cup. WinStar Farm earlier announced sponsorship of what is now known as the WinStar Kentucky Cup Day of Champions.
All five Kentucky Cup races will return Sept. 24. Turfway suspended the event last year to provide money for overnight purses; in 2009 only the graded Kentucky Cup stakes were offered.
Turfway has a synthetic Polytrack surface.
“Recently, many in the industry have called for coordination between major race days to produce a prep schedule that makes sense to the wagering and racing public,” Turfway president Bob Elliston said in regard to the distance change. “There already exists an abundance of preps for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). With the change in distance, we believe the WinStar Kentucky Cup adds significantly to trainers’ preparations for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) and Turf Mile (gr. IT) races.”
The Kentucky Cup Classic in 2009 was won by Furthest Land, who on to win the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
The other four stakes on the WinStar Kentucky Cup program are the Sprint (gr. III), Distaff (gr. III), Juvenile, and Juvenile Fillies. They each will go for $100,000.
The new logo for the WinStar Kentucky Cup Day of Champions is still green and gold but adds the WinStar name, the farm’s star, and the head of a racing horse.
First post time Sept. 24 at Turfway will be 1:10 p.m. EDT. On all other Saturdays during the late summer/early fall meet the first race will go at 5:30 p.m.